ABP appoints new Capital Projects Director to drive infrastructure project delivery

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Image Caption: Francis Paonessa, ABP’s first Capital Projects Director

Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK’s leading port operator, has announced the creation of a new role of Capital Projects Director to strengthen focus on growth and delivery of its ambitious pipeline of strategic developments.

With exciting and highly complex major projects already announced and with ambitious plans to grow further ABP has appointed Francis Paonessa as its first Capital Projects Director. 

Reflecting the importance of the new role it will be part of the senior Executive Team and report directly to the Henrik L. Pedersen, ABP’s CEO. The role will also assume responsibility for the corporate Engineering function, allowing the Capital Projects Director to have an end-to-end focus on engineering strategy and assurance.

Francis will join ABP in April from Thames Water where he has led a portfolio of projects with an annual investment of up to £1bn per year. Prior to that Francis was Managing Director of Infrastructure Projects at Network Rail where he headed up the UK’s largest portfolio of capital projects.

ABP’s CEO Henrik L. Pedersen, said “ABP has an exciting pipeline of transformative and complex major projects to substantially expand both our trade handling and green energy enabling activities. The time is right to create a new role at the Executive Team level of the company, bringing focus and experience to what will be key growth engines for ABP. I’m delighted that Francis Paonessa has decided to join us on our growth journey. Francis brings deep expertise in strategic project delivery across a number of highly relevant infrastructure sectors.”

Francis Paonessa said “I’m excited to be joining ABP and working with the team to make a whole portfolio of significant projects a reality. I’ve been really impressed by the vision and ambition ABP has to grow, not only in their core role of providing the UK’s main gateways for trade, but also through their rapidly expanding role as providers and enablers of infrastructure for the UK’s energy transition. It’s a great time to involved and I can’t wait to get started.”

ABP is a significant and consistent investor in its ports and associated assets. This investment – around £750 million in the last 5 years – has been maintained despite challenges such as the Pandemic and global supply chain disruption. The company’s very significant and highly ambitious pipeline of announced major projects and development opportunities includes:

  • A multi gigawatt scale Floating Offshore Wind and green industries hub at Port Talbot;
  • The Immingham Green Energy Terminal for the handling of green hydrogen, ammonia and sequestrated carbon;
  • Infrastructure to support offshore wind development in Scottish waters on the Cromarty Firth
  • The Immingham Eastern RoRo Terminal to significantly expand UK-EU freight ferry capacity
  • The major upgrading and expansion of the Solent Gateway port of Marchwood.