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The UK Hydrographic Office appoints Vanessa Blake as interim Chief Executive

The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has announced the appointment of Vanessa Blake to the position of interim Chief Executive and Accounting Officer.

Vanessa is the current Chief Customer Officer at the UKHO and will take up the role of Chief Executive on an interim basis, while a permanent replacement is sought. She will succeed Peter Sparkes, who leaves in May 2024, to become the Chief Executive of the RNLI, after nearly four years in the role.

Vanessa joined the UKHO in July 2023 as Chief Customer Officer, during which time she developed and implemented the customer strategy that sits at the heart of the UKHO’s new corporate plan.

Speaking on her appointment, Vanessa said: “I am delighted to be taking on the role as Interim Chief Executive at such an important time in the history of the UK Hydrographic Office. My focus will be on putting the needs of our customers first in everything we do, from the navigation solutions that help keep them safe at sea, to the data and expertise that support their decision-making.

“Significant progress has been made at the UKHO in our digital transformation and adapting to the evolving needs of our customers, while upholding our vital mission of serving defence and supporting safety of life at sea. I look forward to building on these achievements and working with our talented and dedicated people, as well as our distributors and partners around the globe.”

Vanessa Blake, interim Chief Executive, UK Hydrographic Office

Nina Cope, Chief Operating Officer at the Ministry of Defence, UKHO’s sponsor, said: “I am pleased to announce that Vanessa Blake has been appointed as our new Interim Chief Executive. Vanessa joined UKHO in July as our Chief Customer Officer, and she has successfully implemented a new Customer Strategy that has formed an integral part of our new Corporate Plan 2024-29. She has a wealth of experience in senior customer service director roles, holding positions as a Managing Director and Vice President in global businesses and PLCs, working at Board level since 2005.”

Marion Leslie, Chair of the UKHO Board, said: “I am delighted about Vanessa’s appointment and the Board offer her our full support in this important and challenging period for UKHO.”

Vanessa specialises in growth strategy, change management and digital transformation, with a focus on end-to-end customer journey transformations. She brings a proven track record in leveraging cutting-edge technology and innovation to drive sustainable growth, and expertise in guiding organisations through periods of strategic change.

A recruitment process for a permanent chief executive will follow in due course.
Source: UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO)

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