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CEO of Woodie’s owner Grafton Group to step down

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Grafton CEO Gavin Slark

Grafton CEO Gavin Slark

Grafton CEO Gavin Slark

Chief executive officer of building materials distributor Grafton Group will step down later this year.

Gavin Slark, who has held the role for 11 years, will leave the company at the end of the year. He will also depart from his role with the board director on 31 December.

Grafton Group, who owns the Woodie’s and Chadwicks chains in Ireland, said that a process to appoint a successor will commence shortly in line with the support of an executive search firm.

“I have made the decision to leave with a heavy heart but am confident that this is the right time for a new CEO to lead the business as Grafton embarks on its next phase of growth and development,” said Mr Slark.

Chair of the group Michael Roney said that Mr Slark had made an “outstanding contribution” to the company over his leadership.

“Under his stewardship the Group has further extended its geographic footprint and has been transformed into a portfolio of higher quality and higher returning businesses with excellent market positions and strong growth prospects,” he said.

Mr Slark has overseen the development of the group’s Dutch business, as well as the company’s entry into the Nordic region with the acquisition of a new platform in Finland.

“He also progressed initiatives to grow the market positions of our established businesses in the UK and Ireland both organically and by acquisition, in what is now a more digitally enabled environment with an increased focus on sustainability opportunities,” Mr Roney added.

Goodbody analyst David O’Brien said that Grafton had delivered “impressive organic growth, improved margin/ROCE (return on capital employed) and strong cash generation” throughout Slark’s leadership.

“While Gavin has played a significant role in the reshaping of Grafton, there remains a strong senior management team across the business led by the highly experienced CFO David Arnold,” he said.

Grafton Group will publish its trading update for the first half of the year on 12 July.

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