Change at the helm in 2019

February 1, 2019

After 17 successful years leading the charity, Commodore Barry Bryant CVO RN is stepping down as Director General and the charity is now starting the process to look for a new Chief Executive to lead the organisation through the next stage of its journey.

Having retired from a highly successful career in the Royal Navy that had seen him serve in the South Atlantic during the Falklands War and then again as Commanding Officer of HMS Endurance, the Navy’s ice patrol ship, Commodore Barry Bryant took over as Director General of the King George’s Fund for Sailors in 2002.  He is leaving for a well-earned retirement this year having transformed the organisation during his tenure.

Commodore Barry Bryant said:

I have always intended to step down during 2019, and indeed there is even some logic in that decision!  I was determined to see through the Centenary celebrations in 2017, the concurrent Strategic Review which reported in early 2018, and the downstream actions arising from that process. Thus the last couple of years have been ones of considerable activity and change, with the latter months of 2018 seeing the consolidation of that process. With our current Chairman completing his ten-year tenure in 2020, I felt that the present year was a sensible time to move on – not least as I approach a significant birthday of my own, although working in a vibrant charity does help to keep you young!’

‘The recruitment process has commenced this month with a view to holding final selection interviews in early April. The exact time of handover will then be determined by the successful applicant’s circumstances. Hopefully we will be able to announce the outcome and intended timescale by mid-April. From a personal point of view, I would like to thank everyone for their willingness, cheerfulness and unstinting support over the past 17 years.  It may be the end of an era for me personally, albeit one that I have much enjoyed, but a brief timespan in the ongoing life and work of Seafarers UK!’

Seafarers UK Chairman, Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson CB CVO BA, said:

Barry leaves Seafarers UK in good shape to face the challenges of its next 100 years.  His achievements are too numerous to list in total but include amongst many others: amending and updating the Royal Charter; raising the profile of seafarers in the UK and the Commonwealth through successful campaigns such as ‘Seafarers Awareness Week’ and ‘Fly the Red Ensign’; recognition of the need to rationalise and update the charity’s regional committee structure; re-branding the organisation as ‘Seafarers UK’; driving through the largest grant ever given (over £1m) to help fund the new Seafarers UK Centenary wing at Mariners Park, Wallasey; leading the celebrations of the Charity’s Centenary in 2017, and chairing a number of key committees in the wider UK maritime environment.’

‘Barry can reflect proudly on his contribution to an organisation that is able to make grants of over £2m every year to seafarers, their families and dependants across the whole spectrum of maritime activity. Being made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in 2010 was public recognition of his valuable work on behalf of all seafarers in need and we wish him a long and happy retirement.’