Liberty Maritime has announced the appointment of Josh Shapiro as the company’s new President and Chief Executive Officer and Brooke Shapiro as its Executive Vice President and General Counsel. Philip Shapiro, Liberty’s founder and its former President and CEO, will now transition to Chairman of the Board of the company.

A U.S.-flag shipping and international industry veteran, Philip established Liberty Maritime Corporation in 1988 and has served as the company’s President and CEO for the last 35 years. From building an internationally recognized commercial shipping company to the creation of a multi-modal international supply chain business, Liberty Global Logistics, Philip’s illustrative career has been filled with numerous successful ventures and partnerships, sustained growth, and unparalleled accomplishments in the U.S.-flag segment.

Over the course of his career, Philip has been an outspoken and eloquent advocate for the U.S.-flag shipping industry and many of the programs that support it. He has dedicated a lot of time and energy to maintaining and expanding U.S. cargo preference programs to ensure the continued existence of an internationally trading U.S.-flag merchant marine fleet. He has played a key role in many of the industry’s administrative challenges and legislative victories and has frequently been a subject matter expert and industry spokesperson before various congressional committees.

(L to R) Philip Shapiro, Brooke Shapiro, Josh Shapiro

Philip was deeply involved in the 1986 cargo preference compromise which united the maritime and agricultural industries legislatively. In 1994, he was one of three industry executives selected to serve on then U.S. Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena’s Working Group on Maritime Reform where the framework was drafted for what later became known as the Maritime Security Program, the nation’s most successful public-private partnership for seaborne defense transportation, which was enacted into law in 1996. After one of Liberty’s bulk carriers was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia in 2007, he became one of the industry leaders spearheading the effort to permit U.S. flag vessels to have armed guards onboard, a security mechanism which was previously prohibited by statute.

Philip has been recognized and honored by various groups for his many contributions to the U.S. flag merchant marine, international shipping and the welfare of seafarers. He is currently a trustee of both the Coast Guard Foundation and Webb Institute, an engineering and marine architecture college in Glen Cove, New York and will remain an active director on the board of the American Bureau of Shipping and the North-Standard Limited (P&I Club) Members’ Board. Philip also currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the American Maritime Congress, headquartered in Washington, D.C.

While Philip has transitioned the top leadership roles to his children, they are not strangers to the shipping industry. Josh Shapiro has been with Liberty since 2009 and has served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer since 2016. He has helped lead the transformation and growth of Liberty into an agile, forward-thinking organization, incorporating new risk management practices and a commitment to environmental stewardship. In addition, he has developed and integrated new technologies that ensure Liberty Maritime will continue its role as a leader in the industry. Prior to joining Liberty, Josh obtained a Master’s Degree in shipping, trade and finance from the Costas Grammenos program at the City University of London after having previously worked as a Legislative Assistant to a senior Congressman which familiarized him with the policy and legislative world of the U.S. Congress.

Brooke Shapiro joined Liberty in 2019 as its Vice President and General Counsel. With over 13 years of maritime law experience, she has a strong background in maritime and corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, litigation, regulatory compliance, and government relations. Prior to joining Liberty, she spent the majority of her legal career at Winston & Strawn LLP in their Washington, DC and New York offices. The two make a unique pair and have already concluded various transactions over the past few years to grow the Liberty group of companies.

When asked about the succession plan, Philip said, “It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to introduce my children to the maritime business, to bring them both into the company, and now to watch them work together to build out the company’s next chapters. When I established Liberty in 1988, I never dreamed that I’d be this fortunate to have both children want to be in the business. And after years of working alongside them, I am extremely confident this is the perfect time in my life and their careers to initiate this transition. As for the future, I look forward to spending even more time with my wife enjoying our grandchildren while their parents focus on Liberty’s growth and future.”