Frank Coles, formerly the head of navigation equipment specialist Transas, has been selected to take over from Simon Doughty as CEO at Hong Kong-based Wallem Group, a move signalling the shipmanagement firm’s firm bid to give it a digital edge over its rivals.
Splash reported earlier this month on how Coles had quit Transas less than six months after Finnish technology company Wartsila had bought it.
Coles replaces Doughty in the top job at one of Hong Kong’s largest maritime conglomerates. 115-year-old Wallem, owned by UK national Nigel Hill, is best known for its shipmanagement arm, but is also involved in a host of other services including agency work. Doughty decided this May to return to the UK to be nearer to his family having worked at Wallem for 13 years including seven years as CEO where he succeeded Rob Grool in 2011.
Coles is no stranger to Hong Kong. Having started out with UK law firm Richards Butler he moved to Hong Kong in 1995 where he worked for Pacific Basin through to 1998.
Coles’s extensive career has also seen him head up comms firms Globe Wireless and Inmarsat Maritime. He is one of the best known names in shipping when it comes to digitalisation and marks a very significant departure from all major shipmanagement appointments in recent years.
In a release issued today after Splash had exclusively broken the news of Coles’ appointment, the former Transas executive commented, “The opportunity to lead and help grow a prestigious and diversified company like Wallem was something I could not pass up. With the increased industry focus on efficiency, safety and the environment, providing quality shipping services, crews and technical support is going to be critical. Wallem understands the needs and expectations of owners and clients and is well placed to be a leader in the future of maritime operations support.”