BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins has had his contract terminated, effective immediately, as the company tries to rebound from staffing shortages and service interruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move was announced Friday by recently appointed BC Ferry Service Board chair Joy MacPhail.
Collins will be replaced by an interim CEO, Jill Sharland, while the company launched a “robust and professional search” to find a permanent CEO, MacPhail said.
“We thank Mr. Collins for his hard work and dedication to BC Ferries. We wish him well in all future endeavours,” she said.
Collins joined BC Ferries in 2004 and moved into the role of CEO in 2017.
While the company says Collins oversaw investments in terminal upgrades, fare flexibility and fleet renewal, there are a number of challenges still facing BC Ferries and the time was right for a change in leadership.
“Like many organizations, BC Ferries has faced recent staffing shortages, service interruptions and COVID-related challenges. There are no quick fixes to these systemic challenges but as a board, we believe it is time for renewal, fresh ideas and a renewed commitment to the highest standards of customer service, safety and affordability,” said MacPhail.
Recent months have seen many service cancellations primarily driven by employees out sick due to COVID-19, BC Ferries has said. Last week, passengers were even stranded on Salt Spring Island after a handful of cancellations to and from the island.
With the board deciding to end Collins’ contract, he will be entitled to severance “in accordance with the terms of his contract,” though the amount has not yet been finalized, said BC Ferries.
Sharland, a senior finance and operations executive who is currently chief financial officer for BC Ferries, will serve in both roles until a permanent CEO is found.
Sharland has previously served as CFO for LifeLabs, and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority before that.