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Hatton quits FSL Trust in latest boardroom spat

Chief executive officer Alan Hatton is the latest in a string of high profile departures from Singapore shipping trust First Ship Lease Trust.

FSL Trust said that Hatton had been issued two show cause notices by the company regarding alleged potential misconduct and breach of duties. The company listed a series of allegations against Hutton, including his setting up and involvement in another company, disclosure of confidential information to third parties and failing to provide correct information to the board. It said that Hatton had “increasingly displayed antagonistic behaviour towards board members who he considered were not aligned to him” and resisted the appointment of a chief financial officer and deputy CEO.

Having answered the first show cause notice, in response to the second show cause notice Hatton submitted his resignation on February 2 the company said.

Hatton said he was unable to comment on today’s news when contacted by Splash.

FSL Trust claims that documents subsequently discovered from Hatton’s company-owned computer show he had been “acting in furtherance of his own agenda, and in disregard of the board’s views and his obligations to the unit holders.”

Hatton was appointed CEO of FSL Trust in August 2013, turning the fortunes of the company around after it found itself struggling with loan covenants and a series of personnel changes following the exit of Philip Clausius, the previous CEO.

Hatton is the third executive to resign from the FSL Trust board in the last six months, all of which are linked to the appointment of Alan Mitchell to the role of CFO.

Esben Poulsson, who is chairman of International Chamber of Shipping and president of the Singapore Shipping Association, resigned in September 2016 because of several disagreements with chairman Tim Reid and certain independent directors over the “process in HR matters.”

In November 2016, lawyer Simon Davidson was the next to quit, directly blaming the “haste” of the CFO appointment for his departure.

Roger Woods, the Deputy CEO, has been promoted to acting chief executive officer.

FSL also issued a release announcing that it expects to report a significant net loss for 2016, mainly attributable to impairment provisions on vessels and a loss on the disposal of two vessels.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.
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