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Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners CEO announces retirement

Whitehaven harbour

Celia MacKenzie, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners, has announced her intention to retire at the end of March next year after more than 25 years working to develop and promote Whitehaven Harbour.

Celia began as an accounts executive with the Whitehaven Development Company in 1994 and was finance director from 2000, and later in 2005 became CEO.

The successful merger of Whitehaven Development Company with Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners in 2007 required the passage of a Parliamentary Bill, necessitating Celia’s appearance in front of the House of Commons and House of Lords Bills Committees.

The Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners have a statutory duty to conserve the Harbour of Whitehaven. This is done by preserving and promoting the Harbour, enabling diversity of economic activity and ensuring the protection of the town from the effects of the environment. This purpose is effected by generating revenue via car parking and property, collaborating with partners with similar aims and values and seeking grant funding to further enhance its assets for the use of the town.

The Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners have, individually, a broad range of skills and experience ranging from and including property and project management, legal, regulatory and financial skills as well as grant funding management and social entrepreneurial skills. All of the Commissioners, who work on a voluntary basis, recognise the fundamental premise that the Harbour is a key community asset for the benefit of the people of Whitehaven and its visitors.

Reflecting on her time with the Commissioners, Celia said: “I have been very fortunate to have joined the Whitehaven Development Company at the very beginning of the regeneration of our stunning Georgian harbour, starting with the installation of the sea-lock which not only brought a new marina to the West Coast of England, initially with 100 berths and now nearly 400, but is also so successful in preventing flooding of the town.

“Over the years with the Development Company, and then continued by the Commissioners, I have been involved with the refurbishment of the historic quays which has made the Harbour more available for the public to explore.

“I have particularly enjoyed helping, seeing improvement and investment for existing industries, such as the construction of the Fish Hall, (including ice making system and commercial fridges) for commercial fishing and also see new business’s starting up such as the marina operating company and those in the Boat Repair facility.

“I am delighted to be leaving with the newest WHC led investment for the local community and visitors, The Edge, a coastal activity centre for not just Whitehaven but for Cumbria and its future visitors – its new slipway has just been completed and the main building construction will begin in January.

“The work for the Commissioners will never cease, the maintenance and up-keep of the Harbour will always be challenging but being CEO of such an ever-changing business has been genuinely exciting and never dull.

“I have met with such interesting people from such diverse backgrounds and worked with wonderful colleagues and professionals with so many different skills who have been so dedicated in their support of Whitehaven and what the Commissioners do, which has made my working life a real pleasure. I am looking forward to retirement giving me more time to spend on fewer select projects/hobbies, and even learn some new skills – the garden could do with some time spent on it!”

Thanking Celia for her many years of dedicated service, the Chair of Commissioners, Madonna Adams commented that the recruitment process for a replacement had already begun with the aim of having a new CEO in post by the end of the year.

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