Board and Leadership team


Head shot of Lucy Armstrong

Lucy Armstrong


Appointed in July 2017, Lucy is Chief Executive of The Alchemists, a North East-based consultancy which helps businesses increase their development and success. Lucy joined The Alchemists in 2003 after an early career in private equity, corporate development and headhunting with 3i plc, Courtaulds Textiles and Tyzack.

Executive Directors

Head shot of Matt Beeton

Matt Beeton

Chief Executive Officer

Having held director positions at Rolls Royce, Bombardier, Serco plc, Northern Rail and National Express Matt has over 20 years experience within the road, rail and aerospace industries. His early career began with a graduate programme at Rolls Royce Aerospace. Matt joined the Port in 2019 with extensive experience in transforming business strategy, driving efficiency through smart technology and inspiring leadership - including increasing customer satisfaction and safety performance.

Head shot of Mark Stoner

Mark Stoner

Chief Financial Officer

Previously Finance Director at Communisis plc, Mark started his career with British Steel, before holding senior positions at Rolls Royce Industrial Power Group, Siemens Microelectronics, KPMG, and Atmel North Tyneside. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants with over 25-years’ practice in corporate finance Mark joined the Port in 2018 with the responsibility for Group financial services, information technology, internal audit and risk management.

Head shot of Ashley Nicholson

Ashley Nicholson

Marine Director

Ashley joined the Port in 2022 following a decade at Forth Ports as Senior Harbour Master. She is in charge of the Port’s marine operations including pilotage and conservancy, and leads on the decarbonisation of the Port’s vessels and responding to global trends as deep-sea shipping switches to sustainable fuels. Ashley is also an industry advocate for encouraging more women into the maritime workforce and was recognised in the Queen’s 2021 New Year’s Honours for this work. She is also the first female president of the UK Harbour Masters’ Association.

Non-Executive Directors

Head shot of Julia Prescot

Julia Prescot

Deputy Chair

Julia has over 30 years of experience in financing global infrastructure investments in the energy and transport sectors. Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Meridiam SAS, she is also a Commissioner at the National Infrastructure Commission. She is a Director of the Fulcrum Infrastructure Group and Chair of Neuconnect Limited, a Non-Executive Director of the International Project Finance Association as well as sitting on the advisory panel of Glennmont Renewable Energy Fund. Julia is an Honorary Professor at the Bartlett School, University College London and Co-founder of the group, Women Leaders in Infrastructure.

Head shot of Mike Comerford

Mike Comerford

Non-Executive Director

With over 30 years of experience in shipping, maritime safety and engineering Mike has held senior roles within the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Lloyd's Register and Bureau Veritas. Currently Mike is non-executive director of David MacBrayne Limited; one of the largest ferry operating groups in Scotland. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Member of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects and an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute.

Head shot of Julia Thomas

Julia Thomas

Non-Executive Director

Julia is a senior transportation professional with over 30 years' experience in the passenger transport and maritime and logistics sectors, and has a strong record as a Board level executive working in the UK and overseas. Her most recent positions have been as President of the Business to Business Division for Transdev North America, part of Transdev Group, a global public transport provider, and as Interim Managing Director for Arriva Rail London. Earlier in her career she worked for P&O Nedlloyd and P&O Containers.

Head shot of Terry Burke

Terry Burke

Non-Executive Director

Terry is currently Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Husqvarna, the world’s leading producer of outdoor products for forest, park and garden care. Terry is a Fellow member of Chartered Certified Accountants and has more than 20 years’ experience in various senior international finance positions, both at Husqvarna Group and Electrolux.

Head shot of Kelly Dent

Kelly Dent

Non-Executive Director

Kelly has 25 years’ experience in the energy sector and has held various senior international positions at Shell, a leading energy company. She has a strong record in delivering new business opportunities, partnerships and M&A deals in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, the US and South America. She has also worked with governments to deliver solutions to meet their energy needs. She has been working closely with Shell’s board to deliver portfolio changes and the strategic agenda. She is currently leading a transformation project across Shell to drive delivery of the company’s decarbonisation targets and Net Zero ambition by 2050. Kelly is part of Shell’s UK Senior Women network where she hosts mentoring circles and supports younger staff across the organisation.

Head shot of Nicola Walker

Nicola Walker

Non-Executive Director

Nicola is Government Affairs Director for Ford of Europe, leading political engagement on trade and investment for Ford’s Commercial Vehicle business across the UK, EU and Turkey. She is an Executive Director on the Ford of Britain Board.
Nicola has over fifteen years’ experience in public affairs, policy development, corporate strategy and communications. Prior to Ford, she was a Policy Director at the Confederation of British Industry. A member of the CBI’s Management Board, she developed and delivered the trade body’s strategies on devolution, infrastructure, climate change, housing and construction.

Leadership Team

Head shot of Jo North

Jo North

Technology and Transformation Director

Dr Jo North is Associate Lecturer for business creativity and Innovation at the University of York and joined the Port as Technology and Transformation Director & 2050 Innovation Hub lead in 2019. Jo has leading-edge expertise in working with companies to optimise the creative potential of their people, products, services and brands and build an innovative, entrepreneurial capability into organisational culture. She brings a truly unique perspective to teams and innovation as she combines her academic excellence, research and facilitation skills with real world, commercial business experience in the transport sector and beyond.

Head shot of Graeme Hardie

Graeme Hardie

Operations Director

As Operations Director at the Port, Graeme is responsible for all operations, cruise and ferry, and engineering activities. His career initially started in the Armed Forces before he moved to the transport industry. From there he developed his career through the Port in various management roles from Operations Manager, to Head of Operations and most recently being appointed as Operations Director.

Head shot of Kate Maslak

Kate Maslak

Chief Commercial Officer


Kate leads the team responsible for our growing presence in offshore and renewables sectors, alongside core maritime sectors. Her expertise lies in helping renewables clients alleviate supply chain risks, uncovering hidden value through leveraging experience across diverse industries from Aviation and Satellite Infrastructure development to Financial Services backgrounds.

In selecting its non-executive Board members, the Port looks for the very best available relevant industry/sector experience in order to help it to make the right strategic decisions. The Board has in place appropriate procedures to ensure that any potential conflict of interest a Board member may have is properly managed and that confidential information belonging to the Port and/or its customers is properly protected against use for any purpose other than that for which it was created/received