Monday 18 December 2017

Chadwick family scion steps back from Grafton

GGRAFTON GROUP PLC 2006 RESULTS 1-3-07 michael chadwick
GGRAFTON GROUP PLC 2006 RESULTS 1-3-07 michael chadwick
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Grafton Group won't have a member of its founding family at the helm for the first time in more than a century when chairman Michael Chadwick steps down from the board at the end of this year.

He'll be replaced as chairman by Michael Roney, currently chief executive of UK outsourcing and distribution giant Bunzl, the company said in a statement announcing the retirement plans yesterday.

Mr Roney will be the second Bunzl director on the Grafton board, when he's appointed as a non executive in May.

Frank van Zanten, who joined the Grafton board in 2013, heads up Bunzl's Continental Europe business.

Michael Chadwick (64) has presided over more than 30-fold sales growth since he took over the then Concrete Products of Ireland (CPI) group as the third generation of his family to run the business.

His grandfather, William Chadwick, established a builders' merchants firm in Dublin 1909 under his own name.

Michael's father, Fintan, and uncle Terence (Mack) were both active in building up the business, including buying CPI, a manufacturing business, in the 1930s, transforming the business.

UK-based Marley group came in as an investor in the 1940s, first as a minority, and then as 51pc shareholder in CPI, which floated in Dublin in the mid-1960s.

Michael Chadwick, inset, joined the firm in 1975, a tough time in the sector, as recession battered its builder clients.

He was appointed to the board in 1979 and became executive chairman six years later.

In 1987 he led what was in effect a management buyout of Marley Group's majority stake, backed by institutional investors.

A year later the renamed Grafton Group was effectively relaunched as an independent company, and quickly expanded into the British market.

Low key to the point of enigmatic, Chadwick who is married with an adult son, has always steered clear of the media spotlight but he has driven a sustained expansion of the family business during three decades at the helm.

The prolific deal maker signed dozens of takeovers, ranging from small bolt-ons to the merger with listed rival Heiton Buckley.

In his time in charge Chadwick presided over more than 30-fold sales growth; helped by the decision to diversified the business - especially into Britain, but also across builders merchants, DIY, manufacturing and plumbing supply arms.

Grafton's listing was moved to London in 2013, giving the Ftse 250 business access to a broader and more liquid investor base. Its difficult to think of another Irish business linked to construction that could have made the same move at that time.

The Chadwick's remain substantial shareholders in Grafton, with an 8.2pc stake.

Irish Independent

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