Condor Ferries’ chief executive James Fulford has stepped down after just 18 months in charge.

The company, which serves ports in the UK, France and the Channel Islands, would not comment on his resignation, saying only that he was moving to “new challenges,” the BBC reported.

Non-executive chairman Russell Kew has stepped in to lead the business.

Fulford joined Condor Ferries in January 2013 from Red Funnel which runs ferries between Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

He has dealt with a strike over pay and conditions for ferry staff and delays and cancellations caused by damage to the Commodore Clipper ferry.

The Clipper, which was damaged when it hit the seabed in July, returned to service at the end last month.

Condor has acquired a £50 million high speed ferry which is due to enter service next spring operating between Poole and the Channel Islands.