Hong Kong-based maritime tech company Wallem Group has announced the resignation of Chief Executive Frank Coles so he can focus his efforts on seafarers’ rights and welfare amid the ongoing crew change crisis.
“As many will be aware Frank has been very active in highlighting the plight of seafarers during the Covid-19 pandemic and now wishes to become more involved in promoting their welfare, as well as pursuing other opportunities,” Wallem Group said in a statement.
Coles joined Wallem Group as its CEO in October 2018 after a career in maritime law, shipping services and maritime communications. He notably served as President of Inmarsat Maritime from early 2012 before splitting with the company in 2014 just as it started launching its next-generation GX satellites.
Over the last year, Coles has been an outspoken proponent of raising awareness related to the crew change crisis, telling Bloomberg in July that governments and ports were ignoring the problem and should grant seafarers with special key worker status to expedite crew changes.
“I am proud of the changes I have brought to Wallem and for the advances we have made. After all these years in the maritime industry I would now like to focus on putting something back and on the welfare and rights of seafarers,” said Coles.
In a Group statement, the company recognized Coles for his role in initiating changes related to customer service, operational efficiencies, and improving safety. “We wish Frank success for the future,” the statement said.
John Kaare Aune, Managing Director of Wallem Shipmangement Limited, will take over as interim CEO of Wallem Group Limited until further notice.
“We would like to thank Frank for his drive and commitment over the past two and a half years,” said Wallem Chairman Nigel Hill. “The events of the past twelve months have brought the daily lives and work of seafarers into sharp focus and we wish him well in his new endeavors on their behalf. The Wallem team will continue the focus on enhancing our products by the use of technology and providing our partners and clients first class service.”
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