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Plumbase chief executive retires

The chief executive of Plumbase is retiring after nearly half a century in the merchanting industry.

Gerald Thrower is well known throughout the industry after a carerr spanning 48 years – 40 at managing director level.

He began his career in a junior role in a family business and has worked in every area of a trading business environment.

He has been chief executive of Plumbase since its inception in 1994, when he joined Grafton Group and has been the principal driving force behind the substantial growth of Plumbase, from six branches in South London to 190 branches throughout the UK.

Mr Thrower said: “For me the last 14 years, as part of Grafton, have been the most exciting and enjoyable period of my long career. It has given me immense pride and satisfaction to head up
Plumbase and to work with so many fine people.

“While the industry itself is currently going through a challenging period there remain many opportunities where we can continue to grow and develop business in the future.

“As part of Grafton’s further development plans, Tom McElkerney will, upon my retirement, become brand managing director of Plumbase within Grafton GB Merchanting Ltd.

“I’ll be very pleased to work with Tom to ensure a smooth transition. I have every confidence that Tom and the rest of the Plumbase board will continue to steer Plumbase towards its next exciting phase of development.”

Mr Thrower’s retirement comes as parent company Grafton undertakes a reorganisation of its merchanting businesses.

In January 2009 Plumbase joins Grafton Merchanting GB, the umbrella organisation that brings together all Grafton Group’s merchanting businesses in the UK to achieve greater synergies and efficiency for these subsidiaries.

Mr McElkerney assumed his new role of Plumbase brand managing director on 1 October. He joined Plumbase in January 2007 as executive regional director responsible for the central and northern part of England as well as Scotland. 

He has served on the Board of Plumbase since January 2008. Tom will be reporting directly to Kevin Middleton, managing director of Grafton GB Merchanting.