Ashtead CEO Set To Step Down Next Year

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This morning, the shares of Ashtead, an industrial equipment rental company, were up by 5.7 percent as it announced that Geoff Drabble, its chief executive, is to step down in May after almost 12 years of being in charge of the firm.

Brendan Horgan, its chief operating officer will succeed Drabble on the 1st of May. Horgan is also the chief executive of Sunbelt Rentals, the North American business of the group.

Horgan oversaw the accounting of Sunbelt Rentals for 87 percent of the revenue of the group in the last financial year and said that he was honoured to take the lead.

Drabble was described by Paul Walker, the group chair, as “an inspirational leader.” Ashtead said that he will remain at the firm until his retirement at the end of November next year to supervise a smooth transition.

Walker said that Drabble had “transformed Ashtead into one of the biggest and most successful rental companies in the world and importantly has delivered significant returns for our shareholders.”

He added that successor Horgan had played a significant role in delivering “many years of exceptional results” in North America. He continued: “I look forward to continuing to work with him on successfully delivering the group’s strategy.”

Commenting on the departure of Drabble, alongside that of Mark Wilson at Aviva and Paul Polman at Unilever, Russ Mould, an investment director at AJ Bell, said that one could argue that an elite group was “getting out at the top, just as large parts of the global economy are starting to look fragile.”

Drabble stated: “It has been a privilege to work with the many talented people that make up the Ashtead team. I am grateful to have enjoyed their support in building a world-class rental business that has enormous potential to prosper further.”

He added: “I look forward to continuing to work closely with Brendan over the coming months to ensure a smooth handover and I am confident that he will lead the Group to even greater success in the future.”