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Serving Commissioners for Cowes Harbour Commission

Serving Commissioners

All our serving Commissioners have a standing interest in the Cowes community.

Captain Stuart McIntosh
Harbour Master / Chief Executive

Stuart commenced his Merchant Navy career in 1975 serving on a wide variety of vessels from oil tankers to ferries before diversifying into the world of superyachts. Joined Cowes Harbour Commission in 1997 and was appointed to Harbour Master/Chief Executive in 1999.

David Riley
Chairman, 2nd term 2019-2022
Appointed 2009, 3rd term 2015-2018

David Riley is a partner in a firm of chartered accountants and a former Director of an international association of professional firms. A keen racing sailor, David grew up on the East Coast and having kept a boat here for 30 years has been a Cowes resident since 2003.

Andrew Cooper 
Deputy Chairman
Strategy & Performance / Deputy Safety & Security
Appointed 2014, 2nd term 2017-2020

Following 35 years of public service in the Royal Navy and Foreign Office, with the last six years in the private sector at an aerospace and defence company, Andrew brings considerable experience in maritime safety to his new role. He resides in Cowes and has enjoyed a close association with the harbour as a yachtsman and power boater for over 40 years.

Jonathan Gillespie
Safety & Security
Appointed 2015, 2nd term 2018-2021

Jo has a long history with Cowes Harbour having grown up by the River Medina. He spent over 30 years as a pilot in military and commercial aviation. In 2005 he returned to the Island and now lives in Cowes from where he dry sails a sports boat. Jo has extensive experience in aviation safety and risk management and provides worldwide consultancy and training in this field through his own company and as Director and Senior Safety Consultant for a City of London based aviation services business.

Nick Elderfield Commissioner
Nick Elderfield
Conservation & Environment / Port Development / Personnel Management
Appointed 2017

Nick is the Managing Director of a coastal and maritime consultancy firm based in Southampton. As a Chartered Engineer with over 15 years’ experience in the UK, Middle East and Australia, his oceanography background provides a detailed understanding of the key drivers in the marine environment. In his present role, he is often involved in developing outcome-focused projects, through effective communication with key parties from technical specialists to wider stakeholder groups. As an Islander who moved off and has returned, he cherishes the unique opportunities living on and working off the Island provides.

Christopher Preston 
Stakeholder Relations
Appointed 2015, 2nd term 2018-2021

Chris has visited Cowes regularly since 1969, competed at many Cowes Weeks and other regattas, and has now made Cowes his home. He has 30 years of international experience as a banker and 25 years as a non-executive director in different organisations. Chris also brings considerable experience in the marine industry, in organising yachting projects, and business strategy. In 2018, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) appointed him the new Chair of its Board.

Ra Hennessy Commissioner
Ra Hennessy
Communications & Marketing
Appointed 2017

With over 20 years’ experience in marketing and new product development gained in companies and organisations including Guinness (Diageo), BNP Paribas, the RAC and McCormick. Ra is currently in charge of marketing for the independent day and boarding school on the Island. Ra started to visit the Island and commenced sailing in Cowes in 2011, finally moving to the Island permanently in 2014. Ra and her family continue to be part of the sailing community in Cowes and she brings marketing experience from many diverse industries.

James Evans
James Evans
Governance & Regulatory
Appointed 2018

James has practised as a barrister specialising in commercial law since 1993 and has been based in Buckler’s Hard for over 30 years. He has been a regular visitor to Cowes for many years as a keen sailor and has family connections to Bembridge. He is enthusiastic and proud to contribute to the maintenance and development of the harbour for all stakeholders, and during a period of several major projects.

Commissioner Steve Sheridan
Steve Sheridan
Financial Management
Appointed 2019

Steve has had a career working in banking and finance and has experience developing new businesses in the private sector. He has a keen interest in sailing having spent over 30 years sailing keelboats and dinghies in the Solent. Living in Ryde, Steve enjoys exploring the Solent in his cruising boat, which is moored in the Medina and is currently serving as Commodore of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Fishbourne.

Commissioner Vanessa Clifford
Vanessa Clifford
Marine Services, Marketing & Business Development
Appointed 2019

Vanessa is a former chief executive of the industry body for the UK’s national news brands. She brings skills in business strategy, marketing and commercial operations following over 25 years’ in the media and advertising industry working in companies including Publicis Media, British Rail and GroupM/WPP. Vanessa grew up on the south coast of Devon and has been a Cowes resident since 2007.


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