The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) has appointed Helle Gleie as its first director and head of the organisation.

Helle, who has 35 years’ experience in the shipping industry, leads the SSI from September 2013. The SSI is a global coalition of companies and NGOs (non-government organizations) aiming to make shipping economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable by 2040. It now comprises 21 member organisations from across the maritime and associated sectors, including Maersk Line, Rio Tinto, Unilever and WWF.

The SSI was started by Forum for the Future and has been led by the NGO’s staff since its inception in 2010. In September the SSI becomes an independent organisation, with Helle at the helm to drive the members in their joined mission to achieve a shipping industry which is both sustainable and profitable.

Danish-born Helle, 55, has a diverse background in maritime, commercial and operational areas. She is CEO of her own company, Denmark-based ITOLEAD Consulting Group, and has recently worked as head of crew operation globally at Maersk Supply Service. Helle has worked for the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), an NGO whose members in 120 countries control 65 per cent of the world’s tonnage, for several years.

Helle is a member of WISTA (Women in Shipping and Trading Association), the Danish charterers club and the CMI (Comité Maritime International).

Helle’s directorship, based in London, will focus on co-ordination of the Initiative’s forward-looking plans and key areas for action building on the impressive co-operation between the members.

The SSI describes itself as a coalition of shipping leaders from around the world, which is taking practical steps to tackle some of the sector’s greatest opportunities and challenges. The group is working to achieve a vision of an industry in which sustainability equals success.