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Next A-Plant CEO named

7. July 2017 | Comments (0)

A-Plant chief executive Sat Dhaiwal will retire from the company next July, he will be succeeded by Richard Thomas.

Dhaiwal joined A-Plant as a depot manager in 1993, two years later he was promoted to operations director, looking after 29 branches in the south east and then in 1998 became managing director North West, with responsibility for 60 locations. He moved into his current role in 2002 following the retirement of Ted Forshaw, he was just 34.

Sat Dhaiwal
Sat Dhaiwal

Thomas joined A-Plant as finance director in November 2011 from maintenance and infrastructure services company Enterprise – now part of Amey – where he was finance director.

He began his career with a three year stint at accounting firms Aurthur Andersen and Deloitte where he was an assistant manager carrying out audits. He joined Enterprise in 2003 as assistant group accountant and moved up through the ranks, including spells with companies that the company acquired. In 2008 he joined MHS – Modern Housing Solutions a Carillion joint venture, returning to Enterprise after three and half years. 10 months later he moved to Ashtead.

Richad Thomas
Richard Thomas

Ashtead group chief executive Geoff Drabble said: “This has been well planned for some time. By stepping down next year, there is a 12 month handover period until Richard Thomas takes over. Although it isn’t the time to say goodbye yet, myself and the board would like to thank Sat for the tremendous job he has done as CEO of A-Plant and for his contribution to the growth of the company.”

Vertikal Comment

Sat Dhaiwal is not yet 50, so his retirement might come as something of a surprise to those outside the company. However 15 years as chief executive of a large business that is also part of a major public company, is probably long enough and he is almost certainly looking for a change of pace and scenery.

He has worked full time without break since he was 16 and only known two companies - Unipart where he began with a Saturday job, cleaning trucks and equipment and generally helping out at the Coventry depot. At 16 he was offered a full time role as trainee mechanic, and was promoted to depot manager when just 19. A couple of years later he was promoted to area manager – making the move to A-Plant three years later.

A-Plant has changed dramatically in recent years flourishing and growing at a time when other general rental companies in the UK – such as HSS and Speedy - have struggled. It has also began keeping up with its high flying US sister company Sunbelt Rentals, helping restore a little ‘trans Atlantic balance’ to the group – no easy feat. It will be interesting to see what he does next, in senior management terms he is still a youngster.

It is also good to see a company in our sector properly planning the senior management succession. Richard Thomas appears to be very well qualified for the job, with his accounting, audit and operational experience as well as first hand acquisition and integration knowledge – both at A-Plant and with prior companies. Not yet 40 he is young, and having studied in the US as well as the UK he could well be a future candidate for group chief executive?
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