The Board

Board Members are appointed by the Department for Infrastructure on the basis of open public advertisement. The number of Board members, including the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, may be no less than ten and no more than fifteen and up to four Board Members shall be members of Belfast City Council.

The management of Belfast Harbour is independent of Government and falls to the Board and the management team. The duties of Board Members are akin to those of a company director, in particular to be accountable for the proper exercise of the statutory and administrative requirements placed upon them. In addition Board Members are required to:

  • Ensure high standards of corporate governance.
  • Establish the overall strategic direction of the Port having regard to the best interests of the Port and the local economy following consultation with key stakeholders.
  • Ensure that, in reaching decisions, Government policy and relevant guidance provided by the sponsor Department are taken into account.

Dr David Dobbin CBE


David Dobbin was appointed to the Board in 2012 and took up the position of Chairman in 2015. He is also Chairman of Dairy UK (the national trade association for the dairy sector), a member of the KPMG Northern Ireland advisory board, Chairman of the Ulster Rugby Management Committee and Vice Chairman of the Ireland/Northern Ireland 2023 Rugby World Cup Bid. 

A Fellow of the Institute of Directors and Chartered Mechanical Engineer, David has previously held a number of senior executive roles in Dale Farm, Boxmore PLC,  Dalgety PLC, C&C PLC and Rothmans International.  He has been actively involved in promoting economic development and has extensive board level experience across the private, public and voluntary sectors including as a director of Invest NI, BT Ireland, and Food from Britain and as Chairman of the Northern Ireland Food & Drink Association, the Strategic Investment Board, Inter Trade Ireland, the Prince’s Trust NI, CBI NI and President of the Northern Ireland Grain Trade.

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David Dobbin

Joe O'Neill


Joe joined the organisation in 1997, holding a number of roles within the Port of Belfast including Commercial Manager and Port Manager before being appointed Commercial Director in 2005. Prior to joining the Port, Joe was Trading Manager for Undus Ltd and Quality Manager for Cantrell and Cochrane Ltd.

In 2018, Joe was appointed Chief Executive of Belfast Harbour.

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Joe O'Neill

Kyle Alexander OBE

Board Member

Kyle Alexander OBE has a background in the Public Sector. He is the former Chief Executive of Laganside Corporation and is currently the Chief Executive of the Maze/Long Kesh Development Corporation.

Kyle is also a Strategic Advisor to the Strategic Investment Board, Chair of the Connswater Community Greenway Trust and a Board Member of the International Urban Development Association (INTA).


Diana Fitzsimons

Board Member

Mrs Diana Fitzsimons has a background in Planning, Surveying, Property Law and Economics and is a former Principal Planning Appeals Commissioner. As Planning Director of Turley Associates she was involved in planning projects at Belfast Harbour Lands including City Quays and the Stena Ferry Terminal.

She is a planning consultant currently on contract with the English Planning Inspectorate; Chair of Fold Housing Association; Deputy Chair of the RICS charity Lionheart; Deputy President of the International Federation for Housing and Planning; and a visiting professor at the University of Ulster.

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Deborah Lange

Board Member

Deborah Lange is a Certified Public Accountant and has held a number of senior executive positions within the accounting and high-tech sectors. She was the Senior Vice President of Tax at Oracle Corporation and also chaired the Silicon Valley Tax Directors Group.

Deborah is currently a Board Member of Invest NI (2014 to 2019). Ms Lange is also Chair of the Women’s Inspiration Network (WINET) and is a Governor for Holywood Primary School.

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Jane Chambers

Board Member

Jane Chambers is a Chartered Engineer. She has had a wide career specialising in major infrastructure and property development. She is a Director in J Chambers Consulting Ltd.

During her career she has worked on major projects including the Integrated Wastewater framework for NI Water, the Kilkeel Harbour Sea Defence, Springvale Campus, Belfast and Bangor Olympic Swimming Pool and Leisure Complex.

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Richard Everitt

Board Member

Richard Everitt has a background in both public and private sectors. He is a former Chief Executive of the Port of London Authority and of National Air Traffic Services Limited. He was also a Director of BAA plc. He is currently Chair of AirPartner plc.


Councillor Ciaran Beattie

Board Member

Councillor Ciaran Beattie is a full time member of the council and represents the Black Mountain Electoral Area. He is a member of the People and Communities Committee and the City Growth and Regeneration Committee. He does not hold any other public appointments.

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Councillor Malachai O’Hara

Board Member

Malachai O’Hara is an elected member of Belfast City Council and represents the Castle District Electoral Area. He is a member of the City Growth and Regeneration and Planning Committees. He is a member of the North Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership and does not hold any other public appointments.
Mal’s professional background is in community development. He is a board member of a local suicide prevention charity in North Belfast called Lighthouse and a board member of Aware, a regional charity supporting those with depression and anxiety. He is the former chair of the Equal Marriage Campaign for Northern Ireland and the Deputy Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland.

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Dame Rotha Johnston DBE

Board Member

Rotha Johnston was appointed to the Board in 2012. Rotha is a partner in Johnston Partnership, a property investment business. She is a Pro Chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast, a Director of Northern Ireland Electricity, an independent Board member for the Department of Justice and Chair of NI Screen. 

In the past she has been BBC Trustee for Northern Ireland, Deputy Chairman of Invest NI and a Director of Variety Foods. She was also a Non-Executive Director and member of the Audit Committee at Allied Irish Bank (UK) Ltd. 


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Rotha Johnson