Dong Energy chairman Brent Cheshire to retire
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 6 Apr 2017
DONG Energy’s chairman in the UK, Brent Cheshire, is to retire in June after 13 years with the company.
The amiable northerner was Dong Energy’s first UK employee when he was appointed in 2004, and he has overseen rapid expansion. A total of 850 people are now employed in Great Britain, with £6 billion invested under his watch.
He has also forged strong links in North East Lincolnshire, where the Danish giant has made Grimsby its East Coast hub to serve a strong pipeline of offshore wind farms, creating hundreds of jobs.
Under his tenure Dong has become the UK market leader in offshore wind.
SETTING OUT PLANS: Brent Cheshire is interviewed at the Westermost Rough facility in Grimsby.
Matthew Wright, who comes from a position as chief executive of Southern Water, has been appointed to succeed him, and will become the new managing director of Dong Energy UK. He brings 20 years of experience from the energy business.
Mr Cheshire said: “It’s been a great honour and privilege to lead Dong Energy’s UK business for 13 amazing years. Having started up the UK operation back in 2004, I’ve seen incredible growth and change, and I’m immensely proud of where the business is standing today.
“My career started in oil and gas, so to end up retiring from the UK’s leading offshore wind business has been quite a transformation for me personally. Dong Energy has invested billions into the UK already, and the business is in great shape to continue leading the energy transformation for many years to come.
“I wish everyone at Dong Energy the very best for what I’m sure will be a hugely exciting future ahead.”
WRITING ON THE WALL: Brent Cheshire talks through plans for Grimsby, with council leader Ray Oxby and Grimsby MP Melanie Onn listening intently.
Mr Cheshire personally delivered the news of a huge boost to Grimsby's economy when he announced at the inauguration of Westermost Rough offshore wind farm - Dong's first from the Humber - that Race Bank would immediately follow. Hornsea is now gearing up too. It will see more than 500 people directly employed in Grimsby in the next few years, building on around 150 currently in the town, split across two bases, as well as encouraging the development of a strong supply chain.
Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Cllr Ray Oxby, said: “I’ve come to know Brent well as Dong Energy’s presence in Grimsby has grown over the past few years.
“Brent's been a tremendous ambassador for the town, the borough and the Humber and I wish him well in his retirement.
“He has become a good friend and I am confident his passion, commitment and influence for our great place will continue for many years to come.”
On his last visit to Grimsby, he launched a new education scheme with national charity TeachFirst at Ormiston South Parade Academy.
EDUCATIONAL FOCUS: Grimsby, Hull and Merseyside will benefit from a partnership to attract the best teachers into vacancies. Celebrating the news are pupils with Grimsby MP Melanie Onn, rear left, Ormiston South Parade Academy principal Jane Nolan, Dong Energy UK chairman Brent Cheshire, front right, and chair of trustees at Teach First Paul Drechsler.
Henrik Poulsen, chief executive of Dong Energy, said: “Brent Cheshire has played an absolutely fundamental role in the significant growth and success of our UK business and I’m enormously grateful for his leadership, passion and dedication over the past 13 years. Brent has left the UK business in a fantastic position and I thank him for everything he’s done for Dong Energy.
“This is an exciting time for our UK operation with four new offshore wind farms under construction and our first-ever REnescience bioenergy plant set to open later this year as well. I’m delighted that Matthew Wright will be joining us to continue building on this success.”
Prior to joining Dong Energy Mr Cheshire worked for Amerada Hess Corporation filling a number of senior positions, latterly as senior vice president for E&P Worldwide Technology. He previously spent 14 years with Shell International Petroleum.
GUEST OF HONOUR: Brent Cheshire at the Northern Lincolnshire Business Awards in Grimsby last year, with then Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce president Owen Finn, leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Ray Oxby, Chamber vice president Phil Ascough (now president), and Chamber chief executive Dr Ian Kelly.
Mr Wright, who has been with Southern Water for the past six years, will work with his predecessor from May 1 to ensure a smooth leadership transition. He will take over the role on June 1.
He previously worked for Scottish Power in the UK and US and United Utilities.
He does have a link to the Humber, having completed an MBA through University of Hull.
At Southern Mr Wright headed up a business supplying 2.4 million customers across Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, employing more than 2,000 staff.