News from the Society of Maritime Industries

04 May 2020

SMI announces name of Chief Executive designate!

SMI’s Business Development Director, Tom Chant, has been appointed to replace John Murray, SMI Chief Executive, when he retires later this year.

Mr Russell Gould, Chairman of the Society of Maritime Industries (SMI) led the interview panel on behalf of the Board of Directors.

In making the announcement he commented:

Tom Chant“After a rigorous selection process from a strong field of candidates, I am delighted to confirm Tom Chant as Chief Executive Designate.  During the interview process Tom impressed the panel that he had the vision and drive to take up the leadership of SMI from John Murray”.

Mr Gould added:

“It was an indication of the status of SMI within the maritime and trade association sectors that we had received so many credible applications for the position and the fact that Tom so ably demonstrated his capability for the role provides our members with the assurance that we have a strong team at SMI managing our association”.

In acknowledging his appointment Tom Chant said:

“I feel privileged to have been appointed the next Chief Executive and to lead SMI in its role of representing one of the UK’s largest industrial sectors.  The role enables me to work at the highest level for companies as we seek to develop opportunities and push for a better business environment for them.  I have been selected at an interesting time, but look forward to working with member companies in seeking new business and representing their interests.”



  1. The Society of Maritime Industries (SMI) is the voice of the UK’s maritime engineering and business sector promoting and supporting companies which design, build, refit and modernise ships, and supply equipment and services for all types of commercial and naval ships, ports and terminals infrastructure, digital technology, maritime defence and security, marine science and technology, maritime autonomous systems and marine renewable energy. 
  2. Earlier this year John Murray announced his retirement after more than 19 years as Chief Executive.  John initially led SMI’s predecessor organisation the British Marine Equipment Council and was given three months to launch the Society of Maritime Industries, which he did in July 2001.  The organisation has grown to be the leading trade association for the maritime engineering sector.
  3. Tom Chant was appointed SMI’s Business Development Director in 2017 and since then has been the lead for the UK pavilions at the world’s major maritime exhibitions and created multiple missions and seminars to benefit member companies.  To focus SMI on one of the largest emerging trends he created the Digital Technology Group.  Tom has a long association with the marine industry having been an active sailor and student of boatbuilding in Southampton.  His career has encompassed a wide range of market sectors and he has gathered experience of business development, marketing and distribution in an international business environment.  A nine year period at the trade body for the leisure, superyacht and workboat sector was committed to developing the members’ export business.



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