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New senior financial appointment to drive continued expansion at North Star

Posted on 02 May 2023

New senior financial appointment to drive continued expansion at North Star

North Star, the UK’s leading offshore infrastructure support vessel operator, has appointed experienced financier, Lesley Dunn, to the newly created role of head of financial planning and analysis to lead the drive for continued growth.

Lesley, a chartered accountant, brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise including more than 25 years’ working in the corporate finance sector. Having established her career with Simmons & Company, now Piper Sandler, an investment bank and advisers to the energy industry, Lesley has participated in over 20 transactions with a combined value in excess of (US) $2bn.

She joins North Star after running her own financial consultancy business for seven years, and most recently acting as a senior specialist for engineering and consultancy business Vysus Group.  

In her new role as head of financial planning and analysis, Lesley will be based in the group’s head office in Aberdeen and will work closely with the company’s chief financial officer and chief strategy officer. She will be charged with the management of lender and shareholder information requirements, including detailed financial modelling, currency and interest rate hedging and cash management, in addition to supporting long term business planning for newbuild capex approvals and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Lesley said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at North Star at a time when it is experiencing considerable growth across the renewable energy sector and looking to expand its hybrid-electric offshore wind vessel fleet and services across Europe.

“Following a £140million worth of investment last year, including £50million from Scottish National Investment Bank, North Star is in a financially robust position to further progress its new build programme and seize new market opportunities.  

“North Star is a company with a rich legacy and a well-respected reputation across UK waters, operating from bases in Aberdeen, Lowestoft and Newcastle. It has been built on a solid foundation of safety, service and quality, delivering exceptional levels of support to its clients in one of the world’s most challenging and demanding industries.

“I’m looking forward to supporting the group as it continues to grow, expanding its reach across the sector, and helping North Star bring its first-class capabilities and innovative solutions to new and returning customers, backed by strong commercial acumen.”  

Since securing four long-term charters for its new hybrid propulsion service operations vessel (SOV) design, the company’s prominence has rippled across the offshore wind market, opening up multiple new opportunities for the business and its next fleet. 

This news follows the recent appointment of James Bradford as chief technology officer. Both roles have been created as the firm progresses towards its fleet decarbonisation target of 2040.

Fraser Dobbie, chief strategy officer of North Star, welcomed Lesley to the team.  

“As we look to the future and begin to plan and invest in new fleet constructions, Lesley brings with her an exceptional track record for delivering results during critical growth periods including expansion, acquisition, investment and internationalisation.

“Lesley’s key skills in creating financial models to support decision making will be invaluable to the team as we plan our future in the energy industry.”