Retirement of Vice-Admiral Peter Wilkinson, Chair of the General Council

July 7, 2020

Seafarers UK is today announcing the retirement of Vice-Admiral Peter Wilkinson CB CVO as Chair of its General Council, after serving 10 years at the helm of the charity’s Board of Trustees.

He will be succeeded in the role by Paul Butterworth, a Seafarers UK board member and Partner and Head of the Maritime & Shipping Practice at global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson. Please read about Paul Butterworth’s appointment here.

Over the last decade, Peter has been at the helm of the charity’s General Council, which provides strategic direction to the Chief Executive Officer and the charity’s management team, ensuring Seafarers UK maintains the highest standards of Governance and management. Under Peter’s Chairmanship, the charity broadened its focus, increasing its support to seafarers in the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets, whilst taking care not to neglect Naval Service beneficiaries.

Recent projects have included working with Mission to Seafarers to deliver a new, online support service to unlock welfare services and a project to help UK fishermen open up direct sales routes to consumers, countering lost trade sales to restaurants and export during COVID-19.

Last month the charity released £2 million of funds to support seafarers through the COVID-19 crisis, which, along with donations from the charity’s Emergency Appeal, will be used to support the many thousands of seafarers affected by the pandemic.

Speaking on behalf of the charity on Peter’s retirement, Seafarers UK Chief Executive Officer Catherine Spencer said: ‘It is testament to Peter’s foresight and leadership over the last decade that we have remained relevant, reactive and robust, despite the many challenges facing the charity sector, and today are able to offer such significant levels of financial support to those facing hardship.

‘Peter has been pivotal in ensuring the charity remains current and responsive to the evolving needs of the maritime sector and I would like to personally thank him for the difference he has made to the charity and our work through his collaborative style of leadership.’

Commenting upon his retirement, Peter said ‘It’s been a huge privilege for me to be Seafarers UK’s Chairman for the last ten years. This is a charity that we can justifiably be very proud of. I would like to thank all the Trustees and Seafarers UK’s staff for all their hard work on behalf of the charity’s beneficiaries, past, present and future. I am delighted to be handing the chairmanship over to Paul Butterworth. There may be some stormy seas on the way, I’m sure, but I’m also certain that Seafarers UK will weather them safely and in considerable style.’

On behalf of all at Seafarers UK, we would like to thank Peter for his contribution to the success of our charity and wish him a very happy retirement.