Board of Directors

The WOC Board of Directors comprises senior business leaders from around the world and across the sectors who work together to provide leadership, guidance and support to the Secretariat in developing and delivering on the WOC Mission.

Philipp Hermes (Chair), Partner, BHM Penlaw

Philipp Hermes is a lawyer qualified in German law in 2008. He was working with a leading boutique law firm specialised in ship finance and was advising banks, shipowners and shipyards. In 2013 he joined as General Counsel and member to the board a family-owned shipping company. In November that year, Mr. Hermes set up Bureau Hermes Maritime (BHM) which became the international law firm BHM Penlaw in April 2014. Mr. Hermes is advising the public and private sector in the maritime domain with an emphasis on international law enforcement and maritime security matters. Philipp Hermes contributes to the EU – Central Asia Rule of Law Platform, serves as commander (jun) with the German navy and acts as legal advisor with NATO Centre of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters in Kiel.


Jacques Demers (Treasurer), Chairman & Managing Partner, AGAWA Partners

Jacques Demers is Chairman & Managing Partner of AGAWA Partners Inc. and its asset management subsidiary, AGAWA Fund Management Inc. Jacques co-founded AGAWA in 2015, bringing over forty years of experience in investment, law and pensions, both in Canada and globally. AGAWA is derived from the Ojibwe word meaning “sheltered place”.


Simon Bennett (Secretary), General Manager, Sustainable Development, China Navigation Company, Swire Pacific Offshore

Simon Bennett is the General Manager for Sustainable Development for both of the Swire group shipping companies: The China Navigation Company, whose brand Swire Shipping provides high frequency liner shipping services in the Asia Pacific market, and Swire Bulk, the dry bulk trading division operating a fleet size of over 150 Handysize and Supra/Ultramax/Panamax vessels, and concurrently for Swire Pacific Offshore which owns and operates a diverse fleet of more than 70 Offshore Support vessels.


Lori Kennedy, Co-owner, LouisbourgSeafoods

Lori Kennedy has been the co-owner of Louisbourg Seafoods since the company was founded in 1984. She is a former fisheries plant worker with a deep appreciation for the industry and a skillset derived from working in all facets of business operations. Mrs. Kennedy believes the knowledge and experience passed down from her ancestors, who have lived for hundreds of years in Newfoundland and St. Pierre & Miquelon, France, have informed her success. Valuing and respecting the ocean is an important lesson she has learned from them – a lesson all seafood companies should incorporate into their mission.


Donna Lanzetta, CEO, Manna Fish Farms, Inc.

Donna Lanzetta is an attorney and entrepreneur with a passion for sustainable seafood production. Motivated by a concern for our world’s growing population, our fixed/declining wild fish stocks, and the urgent need to feed our burgeoning numbers, Manna Fish Farms is awaiting permits to operate two of the first U.S. open ocean fish farms, in U.S. Federal waters, ten miles off the coast of  Eastern Long Island, and 23 miles off the coast of Pensacola Beach, Florida.


Colleen Martin – Lead for Environment in UK/Europe, BMT Ltd.

Colleen Martin is Lead for Environment in UK/Europe at BMT Ltd. She is an experienced professional in community regeneration and sustainability, developing her skills and expertise through previous experience with […]


Henk van Muijen, Managing Director, IHC Mining

Henk van Muijen is the managing director at MTI Holland (The Knowledge Centre of IHC Merwede). He started his career at MTI Holland in 1984 as junior project manager and joined IHC's mining department as product manager in 1986. He worked as the manager of the technical department of IHC Mining from 1990 to 1993, at which point he was promoted to senior project manager at MTI Holland. His work involved an array of dredging and mineral processing projects including conducting environmental impact assessments and cleanups, selecting proper dredging and mining equipment, controlling dredging related to constituent processing steps and business development of mineral processing projects.


Kevin Banister, Chief Development Officer, Simply Blue Group

Kevin Banister is Chief Development Officer for the Simply Blue Group, a leading early-stage developer of sustainable and transformative marine projects focused on floating offshore wind, sustainable aquaculture and wave energy.  Prior to joining Simply Blue, Kevin was Head of Development for Principle Power, Inc., the California based owner/designer of the proprietary WindFloat technology, a floating foundation for offshore wind turbines. Based in Portland, Oregon, USA, Mr. Banister is a long-time renewable energy professional and oceans advocate with experience in energy policy, energy project development and partnerships.  He has been a Government appointee for the establishment of renewable energy policy in the US, was a founder of Offshore Wind California and is today the Board Chair for the Pacific Ocean Energy Trust (POET). 


Paul Holthus – Founding President & CEO

Paul is founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the World Ocean Council. He works with the private sector and market forces to develop practical solutions for achieving sustainable development and addressing environmental concerns, especially for marine areas and resources.

His experience ranges from working with the global industry associations or directors of UN agencies to working with fishers in small island villages. He has been involved in coastal and marine resource sustainable development and conservation work in over 30 countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, Central...