The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) Chairman Santiago Garcia-Milà informed members this morning that ESPO Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven has decided to leave the organisation.
Mr Verhoeven has been recruited by the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) to succeed Alfons Guinier as Secretary General. Mr Guinier will be retiring next year and Mr Verhoeven’s appointment was approved by the ECSA General Assembly last Thursday.
“It is with much regret that I have to announce this news”, said Mr Garcia-Milà. “Patrick will however not be leaving us immediately. It has been agreed with ECSA that he will not formally take up his new position before the summer, which gives us time to find a successor and prepare the transition. It also allows us to say farewell and thank Patrick for what will be almost thirteen years of service during the General Assembly and ESPO Conference in Varna, at the end of May.”
“Leaving ESPO was not an easy decision as I am leaving behind a wonderful organisation with close friends, both in the membership and the secretariat”, said Mr Verhoeven, “But at the same time, the opportunity to serve the ship owner community provides the right kind of challenge at this stage of my career. The change comes after working nearly twenty years for the European ports business, both at ESPO and at FEPORT before. Succeeding a man of experience and skill like Alfons Guinier will be a tough job, but I look very much forward to it, with both enthusiasm and modesty.”
Both ECSA and ESPO underline that the decision in no way hampers the excellent relation between both organisations.