THE SEAFARERS’ Charity has announced the appointment of Deborah Layde as its new chief executive officer as current CEO Catherine Spencer steps down.

Ms Layde has worked at The Seafarers’ Charity for close to 10 years and is currently the organisation’s director of impact.

Since Deborah joined The Seafarers’ Charity in a grant making role, she has reported overseen the investment of almost £30 million of funding into the maritime welfare sector.

According to the charity, Ms Layde’s recent work has included leading a grants program to support seafarers and their dependants facing severe deprivation amid the war in Ukraine.

Paul Butterworth, Chair of The Seafarers’ Charity, said the organisation was unanimous in its decision to support Ms Layde.

“She has a strong track record of delivering for seafarers and is well positioned to lead The Seafarers’ Charity as we continue to deliver on our ‘Thrive’ strategy.

“You can expect to see even more innovative work as we keep doing more for seafarers.”

Prior to joining the The Seafarers’ Charity, Ms Layde was employed in the wider charitable sector, transferring from fundraising to grant making.


“I am proud that trustees have entrusted me to deliver on our ‘Thrive’ strategy, which aims to tackle the unique disadvantages of a seafaring life,” Ms Layde said.

“Our strategy to work proactively … has already seen benefits from increased awareness of suicides at sea and our Fishing First Safety Management pilot project to working through issues impacting crew working conditions in the UK fishing industry.

“My ambition is to ensure that our charity always acts as a champion for everyone who works at sea.”

Outgoing CEO Catherine Spencer said she was pleased that Ms Layde’s talent, expertise and capability had been recognised.

“There is no way we could have achieved what we have over the last three years without her experience and drive,” Ms Spencer said.

“I am delighted to be handing over to someone with a track record of making lives better for seafarers.”

Ms Layde will assume the position as CEO early next month.