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Wed March 03 2021

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Generational shift at demolition contractor

5 Feb 18 The retirement of Coleman Group chairman David Coleman brings his son Mark to the top and the promotion of James Howard to group managing director.

David Coleman retires after 55 years in demolition
David Coleman retires after 55 years in demolition

Coleman Group, a family-owned demolition specialist, will now be headed by Mark Coleman, who steps up from managing director to take the role of chief executive.

Mark Coleman will focus on strategic leadership and innovation, taking over the reins from his father. James Howard will run day-to-day operations as managing director.

David Coleman’s retirement comes after 55 years with the company he joined straight from school in 1962. He took over from his parents John and Nora, becoming managing director in 1984 and chairman in 2010. 

David Coleman said: “I know the Coleman Group goes forward in the best possible hands. Mark and James have worked extremely well together over the last 12 years and they are surrounded by an excellent team.” 

The company also issued a statement on the continuing investigation into the uncontrolled collapse at Didcot Power Station in February 2016, which killed four of its employees. It is clear the company now knows what happened and is frustrated at being unable to share the lessons learned.

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In response to a statement from Thames Valley Police that corporate manslaughter charges remained a possibility, it said: “Our investigation team and legal advisors share a view that the disclosure provided by the police so far gives no grounds to suggest that we or any of our employees have acted in a way which would associate us with a manslaughter investigation. 

“What is more, it is clear that Thames Valley Police and the HSE have not yet crystalized a view on the cause of the collapse. Given the size, complexity and nature of the investigation this is, perhaps, understandable but we share in the frustration and disappointment that this has created, and continues to create, for all those affected.  

“At the time of the accident we pledged to share the learning from this tragedy as soon as possible, in the interests of both the families and the wider demolition community. With that in mind, we commissioned our own investigations which, in our view, clearly show why and how units 1 and 2 of the boiler house collapsed.  We believe the findings highlight industry-wide practices that need to be challenged and reviewed. 

“We now consider it essential to share this learning as a matter of urgency, so that immediate steps can be taken within the industry to prevent future loss of life and so that the families can begin to understand what caused this dreadful accident.  We will therefore shortly be writing to the [Thames Valley Police] and HSE investigation team, together with the Oxfordshire Senior Coroner, setting out our position and providing access to the preliminary findings from our investigations. Thereafter, we are keen to engage with the families and the wider demolition industry at the earliest possible opportunity.”

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