Globe-trotting ports chief to be the next leader of ABP

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 1 May 2018

Humber ports giant ABP has appointed its new chief executive. 

Henrik Pedersen will head up the company, joining the operator of Grimsby, Immingham, Hull and Goole’s quaysides from APM Terminals, a key business within AP Moller-Maersk, where he has served as chief commercial officer since January 2017. 

Taking over at the helm of an employer of more than 1,000 people in the Humber, Mr Pedersen brings 20 years of experience from a wide range of senior leadership roles across AP Moller-Maersk businesses worldwide.

He will take up the role in August, succeeding James Cooper. 

Mr Pedersen said: “With ABP handling around 25 per cent of the UK’s seaborne trade, making sure the business can continue to develop and grow is vitally important for our customers and the wider UK economy.

“It is an immensely exciting challenge and I look forward to working with everyone at ABP to achieve that goal.”

Mr Cooper announced he was to step down in September last year, having taken the role in April 2013 and served as a non-executive director of ABP for six years prior. 

James Cooper, pictured outside ABP Port Office, Grimsby.

He oversaw significant changes in personnel on the Humber – where more than 50 per cent of the business’s trade is handled, with 17 further ports in the UK handling the balance, describing the area as ‘the beating heart of ABP’. He had joined from an investment house, having worked for Thamesport in the Eighties.  

Mr Cooper took over from Peter Jones in the London-based role, and was actually vice-chairman to a key appointment he made – Humber ports director Simon Bird – on the UK Major Ports Group before he moved up from Bristol three years ago, replacing John Fitzgerald.

ABP chairman Dr Phil Nolan “We are all very much looking forward to welcoming Henrik on board.

“Henrik brings with him a wealth of experience and we are confident that under his leadership ABP will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Paying tribute to Mr Cooper, Dr Nolan said: “We are deeply grateful to James for his outstanding contribution to the business and wish him every success for the future.”

A Dane, Mr Pedersen is the second Scandinavian to lead ABP, with Swede Bo Lerenius having been at the helm when it was taken private in a ferocious bidding war back in 2006.

He completed a finance degree at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, and subsequent management courses from Harvard Business School, IMD and Columbia Business School.

Mr Pedersen first joined Maersk in 1998. He has held various roles across Maersk Line and Damco, prior to joining APM Terminals in 2008 as vice president of business development for South America, based in Panama.

During his four year stay in position he oversaw investment projects in Callao, Peru; Santos, Brazil; Moin, Costa Rica; and Lázaro Cárdenas, Mexico.

In January 2012 he was appointed regional chief executive for APM Terminals Asia Pacific, and was based in Singapore, overseeing APM Terminals’ port facilities and inland services operations in India, Vietnam, Thailand, China and Japan.

From 2015 until his appointment as chief commercial officer, Mr Pedersen served as APM Terminals’ chief financial officer, based at the company’s global headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.

Beating heart: Clockwise from top left, Immingham, Goole, Grimsby and Hull.

He will inherit Immingham as the largest port in the portfolio, the UK's biggest by tonnage of freight handled, as well as Grimsby, a huge car handling terminal and the home of his country's offshore wind energy ambitions with Orsted. 

In Hull, Greenport is leading the renewables charge too, thanks largely to Siemens Gamesa's blade factory, with further land identified for growth, while Goole embraces its inland location and development opportunity.  

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