Mark Richardson is to retire and will step down as chairman of shipbroking giant Simpson Spence Young (SSY) at the end of this year.

A successor has not yet been named for Richardson, who has been in the role since 2016 and will leave at the end of December.

Richardson said he is leaving on a high note.

“I’ve had the great privilege to serve in the role of chairman of Simpson Spence Young and I’ve seen the company go from strength to strength,” he said.

“However, as the saying goes ‘all good things must come to an end’, and after 20 years at SSY and having completed two terms as chairman, I have decided that I will be retiring at the end of this year.”

SSY’s 22 partners will vote to elect Richardson’s successor, who will take up the role from January 2023.

The company said it expects to announce the new chair in the coming months.

TradeWinds understands SSY’s staff were informed of Richardson’s departure on 5 May.

Richardson spent much of his career as a derivatives broker and has worked for SSY since 2003. He rose to become head of SSY Futures .

He owes his big break in shipping to Baltic Exchange chief executive Mark Jackson, who employed Richardson at what was then Mercury Shipbrokers.

Richardson started off doing Russian barter deals with Mercury’s parent company, selling garments into the Soviet Union and receiving cheap ships in return.

Speaking to TW+ in 2017, Richardson recalled travelling to Soviet-era Moscow and working with unusual products such as fishmeal from Peru.

He later took a job as a panamax broker with what was then Clarksons’ Victoria Shipbrokers in Hong Kong after perestroika caused upheaval in Russia.

“I don’t think anybody knew me as the guy that was fixing Russian tweendeckers out of Peru, or even a panamax broker in the early days of Noble and trading out of Hong Kong,” he told TW+, reflecting on his renown as a derivatives broker.

Richardson studied economics and sociology before starting his working life but said it was the “relationship aspect” and doing deals that drew him into shipping.

SSY employs just under 400 staff worldwide. Richardson told TradeWinds last year that he would like to grow the headcount to 500 or 600 people.