Fergal Leamy to step down as Chief Executive of Coillte
Tuesday 29 January, 2019: The Board of Coillte today announced that Fergal Leamy has informed them of his decision to step down from the role of Chief Executive and Director later this year, after more than 4 years in the role. Mr. Leamy will take on a new position in the private sector in June 2019.
The company will commence a process to find a new Chief Executive in the coming weeks. Gerry Britchfield, who is currently Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer, will assume the role of acting Chief Executive in April 2019. Mr. Leamy will remain in Coillte until June 2019 to ensure a smooth transition.
Commenting on the announcement the acting Chairperson of Coillte, Roisin Brennan, said : “Fergal has done an outstanding job over the past 4 years as Coillte has been transformed both operationally and financially under his leadership. The business is now generating significant and sustainable operating cash flows, is more customer focussed and is increasing its return to the State as shareholder. On behalf of the Board and everyone at Coillte I want to thank Fergal for his exceptional leadership and for the positive impact he has had on the Group. I wish him continued success in the future. Gerry Britchfield has deep and relevant experience of the business and has played a central role in the transformation agenda, Gerry is ideally placed to take on the acting Chief Executive role.”
Fergal Leamy commented as follows : “I am very proud of what we as a team have achieved over the last few years and will leave secure in the knowledge that we are in a stronger position than ever to capitalise on the opportunities in the timber and renewable energy sectors. I want to thank the Board for the support, insight and challenge which they have provided to me and the management team over the past 4 years. The transformation and growth of Coillte has been driven by the motivation, commitment and dedication of our people and I want to thank the team for their hard work and support. We have just completed another very successful year in 2018 which has seen a step change in earnings (EBITDA) from €85m to €115m, the result of our intense organisational restructuring and investment. We also achieved a successful sale of our wind assets for €136 million which represented a five times return on our investment. Coillte has now achieved its strategic objective of achieving a 5% cash yield on its €1.4 billion asset base. The company is in a strong position and has an excellent team in place to lead it into the future.”
Coillte, Ireland’s largest commercial forestry company, manages approximately 7% of the country’s land. Coillte operate three strong businesses from this land - its core forestry business, a wood panels manufacturing business MEDITE SMARTPLY and a land solutions business. Coillte export to over 30 countries worldwide and in the financial year 31 December 2017 generated EBITDA of €85.2 million from its €1.5 billion asset. Coillte’s vision is to be the best forestry and land solutions company in Europe.
The Irish forestry sector supports 12,000 rural based jobs in Ireland, contributes approximately €2.3 billion to the economy every year and has the potential to double in size over the next ten years. Visit www.coillte.ie to learn more!