UK shipowner Bibby Line Group is hunting for a new CEO after Sir Michael Bibby said he would step down by the end of this year.
The 54-year-old has been with his family company for 26 years, including 18 as the boss.
He will stay on as a non-executive director.
Bibby Line Group, said: “Stepping back from this role has been part of Sir Michael’s long-term plans since he evolved the group’s structure in 2012.
"With the group on sound strategic footing and moving into a new phase of growth and investment, it is the ideal time to appoint a new CEO to lead the business forward.
“Sir Michael will continue in his post until the new CEO has been selected, a process which we expect to be completed by the end of 2018. The group will continue to benefit from his wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience in the longer term, alongside our other non-executive directors.”
The billion-dollar group has a fleet of bulkers, survey ships and other offshore support vessels, but bondholders took over Bibby Offshore in January, following the long depression in the oil and gas sector.
It also has interests in financial services and supermarkets.
The Liverpool-based group was founded in 1807 by John Bibby.
Sir Michael qualified as a chartered accountant before starting work at Unilever.
He joined the family firm in 1992 as finance director of Bibby Line.