Constitution & Board


The Port of Blyth is the port operating division of Blyth Harbour Commission, an independent statutory trust established in 1882 and operated for the benefit of stakeholders. Such stakeholders include all port users, employees, the local community and wider sub-region.

All surpluses are re-invested into improving the facilities and services offered by the Port and maximising benefits to stakeholders as a whole.

A board of seven Commissioners oversees the strategy of the Port and it’s subsidiaries meeting with the executive management on at least a bi-monthly basis. Other regular meetings are held with stakeholder groups including port users and the wider community.

Geoff Hodgson

Geoff Hodgson


Geoff Hodgson spent his early career in sales and marketing roles for multi-national companies including Proctor and Gamble, Diageo and Coca Cola. He returned to the North East in 1994 to work for Newcastle Breweries, ultimately becoming Chief Executive of the Federation Brewery.

He is currently working as an investor, advisor and mentor with a variety of local companies and has held a number of non-executive Board positions including One North East, 2012 Olympic Nations and Regions, North East Tourism, Universal and Newcastle Building Societies and BENE. Geoff is currently involved with NEA2F, The Inn Collection Group and BEG, amongst other interests.

Geoff was appointed a Commissioner in 2012, became Deputy Chair in 2014 and Chairman in 2016.

Stephen Mills

Stephen Mills

Deputy Chair

Stephen Mills has been a shipping lawyer for 36 years, and until recently was part of the Senior Management Team of North of England P&I Association with offices in Newcastle, Athens, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Singapore. He is now acts as a Consultant for the company.

He was a founder partner of law firm Rayfield Mills, the Maritime Solicitors Mediation Service and most recently SeaMediation, his current mediation practice. He is the author of two loss prevention guides; on Bills of Lading (now in its third edition) and Letters of Indemnity. Stephen is now a full-time mediator of shipping and marine disputes.

Stephen was appointed a Commissioner in 2013 and Deputy Chair in 2016. He is also Chairman of the Trustees of the Port’s Pension Scheme.

Martin Lawlor

Martin Lawlor

Chief Executive

Martin Lawlor was appointed Chief Executive of Blyth Harbour Commission in 2006 having previously held the roles of Deputy Chief Executive and Commercial & Operations Director.

In overseeing the Group, Martin also acts as Chairman of BHC’s subsidiary company, Transped.

Prior to joining the Commission in 1994, he held various commercial management roles at the ports of Tees & Hartlepool (now PD Ports).

Martin is Deputy Chairman of the British Ports Association, former Deputy Chairman of the Northeast Chamber of Commerce (Northumberland Committee) and has held positions on a number of regional economic and strategic boards.

Andrew Cunningham

Andrew Cunningham


Andrew Cunningham trained as a chartered accountant in London and then worked in Nairobi and Bristol before being made a partner in the Newcastle office of a predecessor firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 1996 he was made finance director of Grainger PLC which became the UK’s largest listed residential investor, and then CEO in 2009 before retiring in 2015. Andrew now acts as non-executive director or adviser to a number of North East businesses.

Andrew is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Andrew was appointed a Commissioner in 2016.

Gillian Hall

Gillian Hall


Gillian is a highly respected contributor to private and public sector organisations in the region through various non-executive roles, her corporate finance consultancy business and mentoring for growth.

Gillian was the first female Senior Partner at Watson Burton LLP, a national law firm with offices in Newcastle, Leeds and London, and before that, led the firm’s corporate team for many years.

Her current roles include sitting as a board member of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, where she is joint lead on innovation and a member of the North East Investment Fund board.

Gillian was appointed a Commissioner in 2014 and is also a Trustee on the Port’s Pension Scheme.

Alan Lowdon


Alan Lowdon has over 30 years’ experience of the international energy and utilities sectors, focussed on technology, innovation, commercialisation and new venture creation in particular. This has included working for organisations such as NEI, British Gas, Shell, ITI Energy, Narec, Mott MacDonald and SKM. He is an advisor to UK, US and EU governments on offshore renewable energy.

Alan is a chartered mechanical engineer, also holding BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in engineering mathematics as well as an MBA from the University of Durham Business School. In addition, Alan also holds visiting appointments at both Durham and Northumbria Universities, is a non-executive director of two cleantech businesses, a board member of NOF Energy, and in 2016 was appointed to the Chair of the NELEP Innovation Board.

Alan was appointed a Commissioner in 2013 and is also a Trustee on the Port’s Pension Scheme.

Catherine Young


Catherine Young qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG before going on to spend time both in practice and industry, including with PwC and Reg Vardy PLC. Catherine has also held several advisory and non-executive roles including as Chair of audit committee at national charity Breast Cancer Care and as a Governor at the University of Sunderland. Catherine has been a Non-Executive Director at the North East Ambulance Service since early 2015 where she is currently Vice Chair and also Chair of Finance Committee.

Catherine sits on the Northern Regional Strategy Board for the Institute of Chartered Accountants and delivers further finance and accountancy related appointments via accountancy business Wetton Young Limited. Catherine brings her experience in governance, board reporting and accountancy to her role as Commissioner.

Catherine was appointed a Commissioner in 2015 and is also Chair of the Audit Committee and a Trustee of the Port’s Pension Scheme.