Mr Shirling-Rooke, who joined Mersey Maritime as Commercial Director in 2013, took on the role of Acting CEO 12 months ago and, during that time, has been instrumental in forming strategic partnerships with key Mersey Maritime members including Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), Dong Energy, the Peel Group and Seatruck to forge closer links with the education sector and maritime businesses in the Liverpool City Region.
The success of these ventures has culminated in a recent major announcement that the disused Grade II-listed Hydraulic Tower in Wirral’s docklands is to be transformed into a £30m ‘Maritime Knowledge Hub’, for advanced manufacturing and engineering skills, and business support.
The centre will provide the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to support the Northern Powerhouse agenda as well as new and niche activities that can bring together business and academia to bridge that gap, providing local firms and wider industry with the skilled staff they need to grow and compete.
“Jim was an inspirational leader for Mersey Maritime and I will continue the good work that he started,” said Mr Shirling-Rooke.
“It is certainly an exciting time to be taking over as Chief Executive at Mersey Maritime, and I would like to thank the Board for putting its trust in me. Mersey Maritime is the most successful cluster organisation of its kind in the UK, representing 1,700 maritime businesses and 200 paid up members, a number that is growing all the time.
Mr Shirling-Rooke continued: “The Liverpool City Region is once again firmly at the centre of the UK’s maritime industry. With Liverpool2, the new deep water container terminal at the Port of Liverpool, also due to come on stream in the next few months and the announcement by the Government this week of a £200m shipbuilding contract due to be placed with Cammell Laird, our region will be the most cost effective gateway to the heart of the UK; so there’s never been a better time to be part of this growing maritime cluster.”
Chairman of Mersey Maritime, John Hulmes, added: “The directors are delighted that Chris has accepted the position as Chief Executive of Mersey Maritime. Mersey Maritime is going through an exciting period of change to which Chris is already bringing tremendous energy and vision. I am looking forward to continuing to work closely with Chris in driving Mersey Maritime forward.”