Winston steps down to find final challenge
A SENIOR figure at Grimsby's only listed company, Cosalt Plc, has left the business after 22 years.
Winston Phillips, who headed up the marine arm of the cash-crippled firm, and most recently the new wind energy division, has resigned from his role, stating he is looking for a final challenge.
He has also stepped down from the chairmanship of sector support organisation Grimsby Renewables Partnership (GRP), a group he played a key role in raising the profile of, and vacates his seat on the board of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
It comes as the business continues to seek long-term funding securities, with chairman and majority shareholder David Ross currently bankrolling operations with a run of short-term loans.
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Mr Phillips said: "Although it is sad to leave Cosalt after 22 years, I feel now is a good time for me to consider a change in my career before I finally hang up my boots in six or seven years time. I am looking at several options, from starting my own business through to looking at another corporate appointment, or undertaking consultancy work.
"Due to the fact that I no longer have a direct involvement in the offshore wind energy market I felt the right thing to do was to resign from the chairmanship of Grimsby Renewables Partnership (GRP), and my position on the board of Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
"GRP, in my opinion, is a key vehicle for the development of this fledgling industry in North East Lincolnshire. It is in transition, from a small informal organisation to a more formal, inclusive, organisation, that will attract a solid and professional membership."
A proud Welshman with a background in fishing, Mr Phillips joined Cosalt in 1991 as business development manager for the marine division in the south west, and shortly afterwards was promoted to south west area manager.
The company was still heavily involved in fishing gear supply at the time and, despite a background in that area, he began to withdraw the business from it as the industry declined, developing new business in defence and fibre rope.
In 1999, having vastly increased the geographic spread of responsibility, he moved to Grimsby, taking on the role of managing director of the marine safety division in 2001.
He put in place a strategy to grow the marine safety and offshore business, supplying life jackets and other products to cruise liners.
With a mandate to grow the geographical reach, a total of eight business acquisitions followed, with Myhre Maritime in Norway, others in mainland Europe, Aberdeen and the rest of the UK, forming a business with a turnover of £120 million and employing 800 people. During this time he moved up to north east Scotland, returning in 2010 to start Cosalt Wind Energy. Last year the marine division was sold to Belfast-based Survitec for £30 million.
Rod Buchan, who heads up the offshore business in Aberdeen, will now oversee renewables, with administration and operations remaining in Grimsby.
Trevor Sands, chief executive of Cosalt Plc, said: "It is with some sadness that I must announce that Winston Phillips has decided to leave the Cosalt Group to follow other pursuits. He will be leaving after an incredible 22 years of working for the Cosalt Group in a variety of roles. The board would like to thank him for his dedication and hard work over so many years."
Cosalt Plc's annual meeting takes place on Thursday in London.