Following a distinguished career with Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC) spanning more than 28 years, harbour master and chief executive, Mark Sansom, will be retiring at the end of the year.

Sansom joined FHC as deputy harbour master in 1992 and was appointed harbour master and chief executive eight years later.

Under his extensive tenure, Falmouth Harbour has significantly developed its facilities and hosted major events including three tall ships races.

Explaining his decision to step down, he said: “I am hugely privileged to have been employed in this role for such a long time. During my 28 years with FHC I have been fortunate enough to be involved in many exciting projects and have worked with many incredible people.

“I feel the time is right though for me to make a change and adjust my work life balance. I look forward to making myself useful in other ways in the future and will leave knowing that the organisation is in good shape and well placed to exploit upcoming opportunities.”

As a result of Sampson’s impending departure, the FHC board has decided to review its leadership structure with the current combined role of chief executive and harbour master being reassigned into two new roles.

Current deputy harbour master Duncan Paul will become harbour master while recruitment for a new chief executive will begin shortly.

“FHC has evolved significantly over the last 20 years,” explained FHC chair, Carrie Gilmore. “It is now more common in medium sized ports, such as FHC, for the business management responsibilities to be separate from marine safety responsibilities.

“Moving forward we believe it is important that the harbour master is able to focus on marine safety, and that the overall leadership and management of our diverse and growing business is in the hands of a dedicated chief executive.”