P&O Ferries CEO Steps Down

By: Steven Tarbox
Last updated:
An artist impression of one of P&O Ferries new-build double-ended ferries in operation. P&O Ferries.
An artist impression of one of P&O Ferries new-build double-ended ferries in operation. P&O Ferries.

Temporary replacement appointed while company searches for new head

The Chief Executive Officer of P&O Ferries, Janette Bell, has decided to step down from her role it emerged yesterday. Ms Bell, who joined P&O Ferries in 2012 as Commercial Director, had been in the role since January 2018. She replaced Helen Deeble CBE as the head of the Dover-based ferry firm after she stepped down after almost 12 years in the role. David Stretch, Managing Director of Short Routes, will step in as temporary CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement. An internal email was sent to P&O Ferries staff on Monday informing them of the change.

In the email, Ms Bell told staff that

“It has been a privilege and a great challenge to lead this remarkable company for three years and I feel that now is the right time to hand over the reins to a new chief executive who can work with you to write the next chapter in our story.”

Janette Bell.  P&O Ferries.
Janette Bell. P&O Ferries.

Prior to joining P&O Ferries, Ms Bell held positions at Hammerson, Centrica / British Gas, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Tesco. Under her leadership the company placed its first order for new ferries in over a decade last year. Ms Bell also steered P&O Ferries through its preparations for the UK leaving the EU and the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis. The latter resulted in severe financial difficulties and restructuring at the company. As part of this restructuring around 1,100 employees have left P&O Ferries through both voluntary and compulsory redundancies.

Hull – Zeebrugge restarts passenger operations

The announcement of the change of CEO comes as the company restarts its Hull – Zeebrugge route for passengers and cars. The route, which is being served by PRIDE OF BRUGES, was suspended for all non-freight traffic due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. PRIDE OF YORK, which previously sailed opposite ‘Bruges’ remains laid up, as do the Dover – Calais vessels PRIDE OF CANTERBURY, PRIDE OF BURGUNDY, and EUROPEAN SEAWAY.

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