Ralf Nagel, the head of the German shipowners’ association, is stepping down after 12 years at the helm.

The former Senator, 63, will be replaced as chief executive of the Verband Deutscher Reeder (VDR) by 47-year old Martin Kroger.

The move follows hot on the heels of the appointment of a new presidential board headed by Gaby Bornheim.

Kroger is a shipping association expert with a track record at European and international levels.

Bornheim said Kroger’s appointment is part of a “generational change” within the association.

Times of crisis

Nagel, who took on the role of VDR chief executive in 2010, will step down on 30 April. But he will continue in an advisory capacity until the end of the year.

“The past decade was marked by a severe shipping crisis immediately followed by a global pandemic that has also had a major impact on shipping,” Bornheim said.

“Ralf Nagel has continuously steered the association safely through these times of crisis and has been an excellent representative of the association’s interests both nationally and internationally.”

Nagel is credited with expanding the VDR’s work in Brussels and at the International Maritime Organization in London.

His term in office also saw the establishment of the Stiftung Schifffahrtsstandort Deutschland, a Hamburg-based non-profit foundation that promotes the training and employment of seafarers.

Nagel is stepping down just months after Bornheim took over as president from 74-year-old Alfred Hartmann, who has held the position since the beginning of 2015.

She is the first woman to head the VDR in its 114-year history.