New MD for Calmac

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Clyde and Hebridean ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has appointed a new managing director who will take over next month.

Martin Dorchester, who was chosen from a strong field of candidates after a rigorous selection process, joins the company on April 30 before replacing interim managing director Gary Robertson on May 11.

Mr Dorchester brings significant senior management experience from previous roles with Dixon’s Store Group, Argos PLC, the London Borough of Hackney, Maersk/Norfolkline, B&Q and J Sainsbury.

He was until recently chief operating officer with Spicerhaart Group, the UK’s largest independent property services company.

David MacBrayne Chief Executive Archie Robertson said: “We’re delighted to have secured the services of a senior manager with a proven track record in a number of sectors relevant in a ferry transport and logistics business such as ours. We were looking for an individual with a proven track record in delivering sustainable growth through commercial and market development strategies and in Martin we have found that individual.

“CalMac operates 29 vessels on 25 routes and each year we carry more than 4.5 million passengers, over 1 million cars and around 100,000 commercial vehicles and coaches. It is a complex business in which customer focus and operational excellence are key.

“We can trace our roots back to 1851 but, with the lifeline services we currently provide due to be retendered by the Scottish Government in 2013, the next 12 months will be some of the most important in our history.

“We’re very happy to have secured the services of a manager of Martin’s calibre at such a crucial time in the company’s development. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Gary Robertson who has acted as interim managing director on a short-term contract for the past six months,” he said.

Mr Dorchester, a married man with two grown-up children and a daughter at secondary school, lives in Alyth, Perthshire.

He said: “CalMac is an iconic brand with a long and proud history. I’m hugely looking forward to leading the business at such an important time in its development. Much has been achieved in the past 150-plus years and I want to ensure that we continue to build on that. The focus will be on the continuing development of superb levels of customer satisfaction and operational delivery and to fine-tuning the process of making the company ready for the contract re-tender initiative next year.”