The U.K. Hydrographic Office (UKHO) announced the appointment of Rear Admiral Peter Sparkes as the new chief executive and accounting officer. Sparkes will be leaving the Royal Navy to take up the role.
As chief executive, Sparkes will continue to lead the organization’s important work in supporting safe, secure and thriving oceans. This includes the UKHO’s work in support of Defense and merchant shipping. Working in close collaboration with national and international partners, the organization will also continue to develop ADMIRALTY Maritime Data Solutions to support the responsible and sustainable use of our marine environment.
Commenting on his appointment, Sparkes said, "It is an enormous privilege to have been selected to be the U.K. Hydrographic Office’s permanent chief executive. I am delighted to be able to continue working with the UKHO’s fantastic team, Defense and our allies, and our marine partners to help safeguard our sea lanes and those operating in the maritime sector.
"Going forward, UKHO will continue to meet the evolving needs of mariners around the world, contributing fully to the development of the IHO’s second generation of electronic charting and digital services, the S-100 data standard. As part of the Ministry of Defense, UKHO plays a key role in supporting the U.K.’s national security. Our teams will continue to provide defense partners with the decision support, data and expertise they need to conduct military operations.
"We also join the international community in recognizing that many of our vital marine environments are under threat from overexploitation and the damaging effects of climate change. With this, we will continue work with governments, NGOs and commercial partners to support the protection and sustainable use of our oceans."
Sparkes joined the UKHO as National Hydrographer in 2019 and was subsequently appointed as acting chief executive in July 2020. Following his appointment as CEO, Rear Admiral Rhett Hatcher will assume the role of national hydrographer. In this role, Hatcher will work to improve the collection, standardization and sharing of marine geospatial data through international collaboration.
Sparkes served in a wide variety of appointments in the Royal Navy, both at sea on operations and ashore. Notably, he commanded the frigate HMS Cumberland on counterpiracy patrol off Somalia and the U.K.’s Ice Patrol Ship, HMS Protector, in Antarctica. In addition to this, he commanded the 46 units (aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, mine-hunters, patrol vessels, and the maritime explosive ordinance disposal teams) of the Portsmouth Flotilla.
Ashore, Sparkes has served in Ministry of Defense acquisition appointments and was responsible for the development and introduction into RN service of the Warship Electronic Charting Display Information System.