Brian Johnson: Retirement is right for next chapter

Published: 22/04/2022

I have decided to step down as Chief Executive in October 2022.

I’ve loved all things maritime for many years – since I was a boy, in fact. Becoming the Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency was an absolute dream come true. Being able to work to make a difference in the world of maritime safety, leading a group of people whose work continues to lead the way in protecting seafarers, saving lives at sea and finding alternatives to help in the battle against climate change, has been an absolute privilege.

It’s been a whirlwind four years for me. Four years where we’ve seen a real sense of change in both the way the Agency works but also in the way we’ve taken our place in the wider maritime agenda. I’ve been proud to lead the MCA as it seeks to drive forward even better ways to deal with the challenges of maritime safety – from the technology that helps us to respond even quicker to those in distress, to the innovation that will see cleaner ships traversing our seas.

I’ve been proud to serve at a time when the spotlight has been on the MCA in such a huge way. From the celebrations for 200 years of Her Majesty’s Coastguard to the work on the safety of ships through survey and inspection; from the huge successes highlighted by the recent audit of the UK Maritime Administration carried out by the International Maritime Organization to the ongoing fight to take up the rights of seafarers, there is much to celebrate and show the wider world how much what we do really matters.

But now is the time for me to take a step back, to let a highly capable Executive Team take up the reins of the work and continue to do the amazing things that even now, make me feel sad to be saying goodbye. I’ve loved it and relished the challenge which is why the decision to leave this role has been such a tough one.

My family has always supported me in everything I’ve done and it feels right now, to take on a new chapter. Officially it’s called retirement, but really it’s a relaunch, an opportunity to do more closer to home with those who I love.

In the meantime, I will work just as tirelessly to support and lead this incredible organisation and do all I can to ensure a smooth transition as I prepare to leave in October of this year, four years after I started at the MCA. The MCA is an amazing organisation which does extraordinary things and employs some of the most talented and capable leaders that I have worked with in my career. I hope that I leave behind a very different Agency from the one that I joined in 2018 and I am confident that we have a team which can take it from strength to strength in the future.

Brian Johnson, Chief Executive at MCA