Port board restructure to bolster growth plans


AV Dawson, owner and operator of Port of Middlesbrough has undertaken a major restructure of its board of directors. The changes will allow for further sustained business growth and long-term succession within a new group structure.

Gary Dawson, former managing director, has assumed the position of chairman of the AV Dawson Group of companies. John Young, the former financial director will now deputise and take on the position of deputy chairman.

Photo Caption (L-R): Chairman, Gary Dawson; Operations Director, Andy Watkins; Managing Director Designate, Charlie Nettle; People and Culture Director, Louise Croce; Financial Director, Craig Lloyd; Deputy Chairman, John Young.

The chairman and deputy chairman roles will concentrate on the overall direction of the wider business, giving guidance to directors and senior leaders and supporting a number of strategic projects including the group’s environment and energy strategy. 

These changes will also see Charlie Nettle, former commercial and marketing director, promoted to managing director designate. In his new role, he will be responsible for the management of the group subsidiary businesses including AVD Industrial & Port Services Limited, Cockfield Knight & Co Limited, AV Dawson Transport Limited and the final subsidiary of the group restructure - Port of Middlesbrough Limited - which is due to start trading as a business from October this year.  

The port operator will also welcome two long-standing senior managers to the board. The former head of HR and training, Louise Croce, has been promoted to people and culture director and Craig Lloyd, will take over from John Young as group financial director, following his previous role as head of finance. Andrew Watkins will continue in his role as operations director.

Gary Dawson said: “As Chairman, I am following in the footsteps of my late father, Maurice Dawson. As was the case for Maurice, I will still be actively involved in the business, but this change will enable other colleagues to develop and take more responsibility for running the business, while giving me more opportunity to support them. 

“It is important to me to give our leaders the autonomy to make decisions going forward to secure our future succession. As well as continuing to promote our core values, I am keen to ensure we honour and protect the business’ past, but also inspire the team to create a strong, sustainable future.”

Charlie Nettle, managing director designate said: “I joined AV Dawson in 2015 and at the time I could see there was something very different, very special and very exciting about the business.

Working with Gary over this time, I began to appreciate the responsibility on his shoulders, to build on a legacy of over 80 years and the work of the previous two generations of his family. I therefore recognise the trust that Gary is putting in me to ensure AV Dawson continues to be the unique business it is, as we take the group forward.  

There are some incredible people here, a real sense of team and a fantastic culture. Personally, I feel it is a huge honour to be appointed in this role.

“Over recent years we have undertaken some major strategic projects to position us well for the future, including establishing and embedding our company values, rebranding our Middlesbrough site as Port of Middlesbrough and introducing a group structure.

“One of the main focuses in my new role will be to ensure each of our new subsidiary companies develops into a strong, sustainable business in its own right, to build AV Dawson as a whole. It will be really rewarding to work with and support our managers and teams to achieve this.” 

This major restructure comes off the back of a series of announcements from AV Dawson over the last 12 months, including the construction and opening of its new, state-of-the-art head office, acquisition of an 8-acre rail terminal and the launch of its new subsidiary business, AV Dawson Transport Limited.

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