Retiring Steamship Company Chief Describes His Passion For The Islands

jeff marston retirement

Jeff Marston (left) with Steamship Company Chairman Andrew May

Steamship company staff and directors joined with community and business leaders to mark the retirement of former Chief Executive Jeff Marston yesterday.

Chairman Andrew May paid tribute to Jeff’s 13 years of leadership. He told the party in the Scillonian Club that “the stars aligned” when Jeff met with directors, before taking up the position in 2001.

Andrew credited Jeff with turning around the company’s finances and putting the operation on a steady footing. And he listed the company’s achievements under Jeff’s leadership, including the Land’s End terminal improvements and the sourcing of new aircraft.

New CEO Rob Goldsmith told the guests that Jeff was an inspiration.

Jeff says he will continue to care passionately about the islands. Outside his company role, he oversaw the setup of the Local Action Group. He says he was disappointed that the planned abattoir wasn’t built, as he feels it would have benefitted locals, even though the loss of animal carriage trade would reduce income to the company.

Jeff says the CEO role has presented some unique challenges, having to balance community interests with the need to generate cash to invest in the service.

jeff marston retirement cakeHe said when he started, the company had to be improved and the challenges continued when the competing helicopter service ended in 2012.

It’s important to the community that the Steamship Company is successful and sustainable, he says.

The welfare of his staff and the community’s needs have always been in his thoughts, and Jeff says he’d often ring the Master of the Gry if the weather was bad, to make sure it had got in safely.

He admits the company will always attract comment and opinion, but he said occasionally receiving praise for a job done well made all the difference.

Jeff says above all, his 13 years in the role as CEO have been great fun, adding that not many people get the opportunity to manage a fleet of ships and aircraft. “That’s a pretty unique job,” he says.

Jeff was presented with a cake in the shape of a Twin Otter, and a painting of the Scillonian III by island artist Imogen Bone. Jeff said it would take “pride of place” in his home.