Hong Kong’s Wallem Group has found a new managing director of ship management from within its own ranks.

The company has appointed technical chief Ioannis Stefanou to the role at Wallem Ship Management, replacing John-Kaare Aune, who became permanent group chief executive in October after nearly nine months in an interim position.

Stefanou will oversee strategic planning for the global management operations.

He joined Wallem Ship Management in April 2014 to lead its technical management department, focusing on delivering safe, reliable and cost-effective vessel operations and technical services.

The executive has also been integral to the development and execution of corporate strategy, with a particular focus on new product lines and the adoption of emerging technologies to benefit fleet efficiency and client services, Wallem said.

Aune said he was delighted by the move.

“He has earned the respect of the maritime industry and will bring a wide range of technical, operational and commercial experience and knowledge to the role,” Aune said.

Stefanou himself said the role is a huge honour.

“Wallem is rightly proud of its heritage as the world’s first third-party ship-management company,” he said. “My focus will be to sustain our client-centric model by ensuring that we continue to deliver high-quality service to our wide range of customers and equip the business to manage the ships of the future.”

The new managing director has worked for both ship managers and private vessel operators over his career.

Aune became interim chief executive after Frank Coles resigned in January 2021.

He joined Wallem in 2019 as its ship-management boss.

The group was established in 1903 and has a shore-based team of 700 people, plus 7,000 seafarers.