Red Funnel has announced that Kevin George, the current chief executive, is to be appointed as chairman of the group.
The announcement follows the restructuring of the board following the acquisition of the group by a consortium of UK and Canadian pension funds in July last year and the recent appointment of a number of non-executive directors.
The appointment takes immediate effect with George fulfilling both roles until a new chief executive is appointed later in the year.
George commented: “I am delighted and honoured to be asked by our new shareholders to become the chairman of the Red Funnel Group.
“I have been chief executive of Red Funnel for four years now, during which time we have achieved a huge amount, not least the securing of new long-term investors, new Red Jets built on the Isle of Wight, the refurbishment of the vehicle ferries, enhanced customer service and cleared the way for the urgently needed larger terminal in East Cowes.
“However, the time is right for me to now assume a more strategic role in helping guide not only the growth of Red Funnel but to also help promote the economic growth of the island.
“As a director of both the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce, the change of role in Red Funnel will allow me to devote more time to the economic challenges of the Island upon which the growth of Red Funnel is so dependent.”
Red Funnel is the original Isle of Wight ferry company with roots tracing back to 1820.
Based in the UK port of Southampton, Red Funnel carries 2.3 million passengers and over 800,000 vehicles on its ferry route between the UK port of Southampton and East Cowes and 1.1 million passengers between Southampton and West Cowes on its Red Jet Hi-Speed service.
Ed Wilson, chief investment officer, Pensions Infrastructure Platform, on behalf of the Red Funnel shareholder consortium, said: “Since acquiring the Red Funnel business in July last year we have been impressed by the strength of the Red Funnel management team and the clarity of their medium-term business plan.
“As part of our long-term vision for the business, the way the Isle of Wight economy develops is critical to the strategic direction of the business.
“In his time as chief executive, Kevin has not only developed the business, but also his understanding of the island and the issues it faces.
“Appointing Kevin as our chairman will enable him to focus on these matters as well as overseeing the performance of the Red Funnel business.”