Fri | Sep 18, 2020

Kingston Wharves announces leadership change

Published:Tuesday | December 10, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Deputy Chairman-designate of Kingston Wharves Limited Grantley Stephenson (centre) with newly appointed CEO Mark Williams and Chief Financial Officer Clover Moodie at the 2019 Kingston Wharves Limited annual general meeting, held in June.
Newly appointed CEO Mark Williams.

Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL) has announced Grantley Stephenson as deputy chairman of the company, as he retires from duties as chief executive officer (CEO). Incumbent Chief Operating Officer Mark Williams has been appointed to the role of CEO; both appointments take effect on January 6, 2020.

In making the announcement, Chairman Jeffrey Hall hailed Stephenson for his contribution to the growth of the company and for his decision to continue in this new capacity. He stated, “We are extremely appreciative of his decision to serve the company in this important capacity. I very much look forward to working closely with Stephenson to continue strengthening the governance of the company and to position us to take on major new growth and investment opportunities.”

In welcoming Williams to the post of CEO, the chairman said, “The board and I are absolutely confident that Mark brings the right mix of leadership, vision, expertise, accountability and teamwork to the role of CEO, and we expect the company to do very well under his direct executive leadership.”

KWL will in 2020 celebrate its 75th anniversary. As stated in the 2019 annual report, “the company plans to stay the course of prudent financial management and the bold strategies that have propelled us to success, while proactively envisioning new and innovative measures to anticipate and meet the demands of the local and global economy”.

CEO-designate Mark Williams expressed gratitude to the board on his appointment. “I am humbled by the vote of confidence and affirm my commitment to working with the board, management team and staff in realising the full potential of the Kingston Wharves Group. As KWL sets sail for another 75 years, I look forward to playing my role in the continued success of the group with the full support and guidance of my team.”

In the meantime, Stephenson noted that he was looking forward to continuing his contribution to the organisation in his new capacity. “I am fully committed to supporting the board, Williams and the KWL team from my new position. KWL is poised to achieve more great things in the coming years and I am pleased to continue being a part of the remarkable KWL journey.”

Grantley Stephenson’s biography

Grantley Stephenson has held the post of CEO for 16 years, having come to the position with more than 30 years in shipping and logistics. Under his leadership, KWL has been transformed to the leading multipurpose, multi-user port terminal in the region, expanding the scope of operations while growing shareholder value.

Among his key achievements were the development of Kingston as an international automotive trans-shipment hub, the establishment of modern, state-of-the-art logistics facilities for Kingston; major redevelopment of berths eight and nine; commissioning of the largest mobile harbour cranes in the Caribbean to support vertically integrated stevedoring services; and significant growth in assets, profits and share value.

Grantley is a director of Jamaica Producers Group Limited, Security Administrators Limited, Harbour Cold Stores Limited, SAJE Property Services Limited, ADVANTUM, Ports Management and Security Limited, and Assessment Recoveries Limited. He has served as president of the Shipping Association of Jamaica and the Caribbean Shipping Association.

He holds undergraduate qualifications in engineering from the College of Arts, Science and Technology (now the University of Technology) and in shipping management from the University of Plymouth, England. He holds a master of business administration from The University of the West Indies. Stephenson is the recipient of the JIM 2015 Manager of the Year Award and has been a distinguished fellow of that institution since November 2006. He is also a recipient of the honorary doctor of science in port management from the Caribbean Maritime University.

Stephenson has served as honorary consul general to the Kingdom of Norway since 1998 and is a past dean of the consular corps of Jamaica. He was conferred with the Order of Distinction, Commander Class, in 2007 and is the recipient of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, the highest non-national award. Stephenson is a justice of the peace.

Mark Williams’ biography

Mark Williams joined KWL in October 2011 as the chief marketing and planning officer and later appointed chief operating officer with responsibility for the development and execution of corporate strategy for the KWL Group. In addition to managing the KWL Group’s strategic planning process, he also had responsibility for domestic and international business development, marketing, customer service, terminal operations, safety and security, as well as human resources.

With the development of a robust strategic plan, Williams has implemented a series of transformative structural adjustments in KWL and headed commercial negotiations for the company’s fast-growing logistics division. These have resulted in significant cost containment while improving revenues.

Williams has 20 years’ experience in commercial and strategic planning. Before joining KWL, Williams was vice-president – commercial development, marketing and planning at the Airports Authority of Jamaica. He held senior executive positions at The Shell Company (WI) Limited and Shell Antilles and Guianas Limited with responsibility for 10 countries throughout the Caribbean.

Williams holds a MBA degree from University of Surrey, United Kingdom, a master of philosophy and bachelor of science degree from The University of the West Indies, and bachelor of law degree from the University of London. He is a certified port executive and has completed executive and leadership development programmes from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and Columbia University. Williams is a justice of the peace for Kingston and serves as director of Security Administrators Limited and the Shipping Association of Jamaica.

Williams is married to Michelle and they have two adult daughters.


KWL is the Caribbean’s leading multipurpose, multi-user port terminal operator, providing the region’s importers and exporters with a broad range of cargo-handling and logistics services and connections to more than 30 international ports in the Caribbean, Latin and North America.