He will succeed outgoing CEO Simon Doughty, who announced his decision to step down earlier this year. The handover will take place at the end of October.
Appreciation for Doughty's 'excellent leadership'
Wallem chairman Nigel Hill expressed the board's gratitude to Doughty for his 'years of service to Wallem and for his excellent leadership of the group over the past seven years. He leaves with our very best wishes for the future.'
Hill also welcomed Coles. 'The shipping services sector is grappling with a wide range of challenges and opportunities at present. We are confident that we have found the right person to ensure that Wallem stays in the forefront of delivering first class maritime solutions to its customers, as it has done throughout its long history,' he said.
For his part, Doughty said: 'Wallem has a strong management team and outstanding employees who are committed to providing the best possible customer experience. I am pleased that Frank has agreed to lead the company going forward. His vast experience will complement and strengthen that of the existing Wallem team and enable them to meet the future needs of the maritime services business.'
Doughty also thanked 'the valued clients and colleagues, who have made my 14 years with Wallem an exciting and unforgettable journey.'
Increased focus on efficiency, safety, environment
'The opportunity to lead and help grow a prestigious and diversified company like Wallem was something I could not pass up,' Coles commented. 'With the increased industry focus on efficiency, safety and the environment, providing quality shipping services, crews and technical support is going to be critical. Wallem understands the needs and expectations of owners and clients and is well placed to be a leader in the future of maritime operations support.'
Coles most recently served as president of Transas Group after Transas was acquired by Wärtsilä. He had joined Transas as CEO and board member in 2015. Before that, he was president of the newly formed Inmarsat maritime business unit.
Earlier roles in maritime communications were with Sperry Marine, Globe Wireless and Rydex. Before that Coles was operations director for Pacific Basin, a dry bulk shipper, responsible for 50 vessels.
He began his career at sea, working up the ranks from deck officer to master mariner, and then studied law at Cardiff University and went on to specialize in maritime law at Richards Butler in London before moving to Hong Kong to work for Stephen Harwood & Lo.