I cannot share with you the short word I uttered when we heard that Ian McAulay had left Viridor.
My reaction was entirely selfish: only days before the latest issue of MRW had ’hit the streets’ and, with great timing, one of the main ingredients was a Big Interview with the (now ex-) chief executive of Viridor.
The good news is that my interview with him was not splashed over the cover. The bad news is that thousands of visitors to RWM this month will pick up a copy to find pages 16-18 singularly out of date. The danger of a printed publication.
McAulay’s departure has been met with genuine surprise from people I’ve spoken to. I have no inside knowledge to share (honest!) and the formal announcement from Viridor shed no insight on the move, although it has been known that some rationalisation of departments and roles across the parent Pennon Group – and therefore Viridor – was on the cards. Twitter reaction has been almost non-existent, which is curious.
He was also pencilled in to be the next chairman of the ESA - but he’s left in time for a replacement to be found.
I believe some elements of my conversation with McAulay remain worthy of a read – for example, the direction of the company in recent years, its commitment to training and re-thinking how local authority services are delivered.
McAulay is replaced by Phil Piddington, previously Viridor’s chief operating officer, although this new boss is a managing director rather than a chief executive. I hope this does not mean a reduction in the company’s profile, particularly the thought leadership drive, and that we will still see interesting reports such as the one on ‘aggregated services’ earlier in the year.
2016 has been a year of change at the top in the industry with senior people leaving CIWM, the Confederation of Paper Industries and the British Metals Recycling Association, to name only three. We have now learned that Jane Bickerstaffe will be retiring from packaging body INCPEN by the end of the year.
She has been a passionate advocate of the benefits of smart packaging and I for one have learned a lot from conversations with her. She has also appeared to great effect on radio and TV and will be a difficult act to follow. We wish her well.