Wallem Replaces Veteran Grool

Hong Kong-based shipmanagement and maritime services company Wallem Group has replaced long-serving managing director Rob Grool with Simon Doughty .

No reason was given for the sudden change of leadership, but Wallem’s statement said that the company needed “to grab the opportunities offered by outsourcing”, suggesting that the change at the top is linked to a switch in strategy.

Wallem said that outsourcing is a must in current shipping markets “to take advantage of economies of scale, add a wide range of personnel expertise and to maintain compliance with the increasing scope of international regulations”.

Mr Doughty was managing director of Wallem Shipagencies since 2005, and before that held a similar position at rival Inchcape Shipping Services .

He said: “Wallem has a huge opportunity to provide wider services to existing and potential customers who today need to outsource in order to survive. The opportunities are broad and changing and Wallem has the expertise to provide solutions to the challenges facing our customers.”

Mr Grool was managing director for nine years.

A spokeswoman for Wallem told Lloyd’s List: “He tendered his resignation. We haven’t heard where he is going yet.”

Mr Grool declined to comment when reached by Lloyd’s List, saying all would be revealed “in due course”. However, shipmanagement circles were rife with speculation.

A prominent shipmanager told Lloyd’s List: “Rob is well known as a forceful and highly opinionated character. We are intrigued to know what is going on at Wallem behind the scenes.”

A Singapore-based shipmanager said he was “surprised” by the announcement but did not know the reason for Mr Grool’s departure. He suggested the “spin” surrounding his departure seemed aimed at detracting attention.

A Hong Kong shipowner said that Mr Grool was “well respected” and that he had just decided to go his separate way.

Wallem paid tribute to Mr Grool’s role in steering the group through the economic crisis and in particular, the sale of the group in 2006. It also pointed to the creation of six joint-venture companies that contributed to the more than doubling of its managed fleet to over 350 ships.

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