Appointment of Chief Executive Officer

Dignity plc, the UK's only listed provider of funeral and end of life services, is pleased to announce the appointment of Kate Davidson as Chief Executive Officer, effective from 10th June 2022. The Company also confirms that Gary Channon’s final day as CEO will be 9th June, when he will also step down from the Board following the Group’s Annual General Meeting.

After a number of years with the business in her early career, Kate re-joined Dignity in June 2021 as Chief Operating Officer, and was appointed to the Board in January 2022. She is part of the Company’s Executive Committee, and has primarily been focused on organisational change, regulation, operational efficiencies, and delivery of Dignity’s future development projects.

With over 15 years’ experience in the funeral and crematoria industry, Kate began her career in the crematoria sector within Local Government, later joining Dignity in management and strategic roles spanning eight years. In 2019, Kate joined crematoria and cemetery operator Westerleigh Group as Commercial and Operations Director, but her passion for Dignity and its people drew her back to the business last year.

Kate holds an Executive MBA from Warwick Business School, and is on the Board for the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities.

John Castagno, Chairman, commented:

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Kate Davidson as Dignity’s new CEO. Kate is highly respected in the sector, and is committed to raising standards of quality, care and client service across the profession. Kate has been instrumental in delivering a number of high priority strategic and commercial programmes over the past 12 months. Her integrity, candour and willingness to challenge has been vital in delivering Dignity’s strategy whilst her leadership style has been central to changing the organisation’s culture. In addition, Kate’s first hand funeral and crematoria operational experience offers an authentic and credible approach to leading what is a complex, caring and emotive business.

I would like to thank Gary Channon for his tenure as CEO. Since joining the business myself in July 2021, I have witnessed Gary’s long-term strategic vision for Dignity begin to come to life. It is clear he has made a positive impact on both colleagues and our commercial ambitions, and we welcome his continued support.

The Board and I look forward to working with Kate and the wider Executive team to ensure Dignity progresses towards its vision to be a market leading provider of end-of-life services and a rewarding employer to those that work here.”

Kate Davidson, CEO Designate, said:

“It is my honour and privilege to have been appointed by the Board to lead Dignity at such a critical time in its history. I am excited to bring a fresh perspective as we continue to deliver our new strategy during a period of structural, regulatory and societal change. Whilst my long-term aim is to build a strong and enduring business that delivers a high quality service, I am passionate about shaping a new organisational culture within what is a fairly traditional industry. After all, it is our people that make us great. By creating an environment where our colleagues can grow, are supported to be their best and to learn from each other, Dignity will be well placed to fulfil its potential to be a unique and leading provider of end-of-life services. We are in a strong position to deliver positive outcomes for all stakeholders – our customers, our employees, and our investors.”

Gary Channon added:

“Over the past 12 months we have completely changed the strategy and begun to change the culture, the organisational structure and the way in which the Company works. There isn’t an area of the business that hasn’t been changed in some way. Few organisations go through such enormous upheaval, especially whilst coping with a pandemic, and this couldn’t have happened without extraordinary efforts by many of our colleagues to whom I am extremely grateful. We have changed the leadership and, in the words of Jim Collins, we have got the right people on the bus.

I have been working with Kate since she re-joined Dignity, she is an impressively effective executive who I believe will make an exceptional CEO. She also lives and breathes the principles and values of this new Dignity. We have been working interchangeably for some time and so the handover will be seamless. There remains a lot to do and I intend to continue assisting Kate and her team in any way in which I can be useful. It has been a great honour to lead Dignity over the past year and I am confident that I leave it with a brighter future and better led than when I took over.”

In light of this announcement, Gary Channon will stand down as a director following the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 9th June 2022. Gary will continue to support the Board as an advisor on strategic matters such as the Group’s capital structure.

As a result, AGM resolution 4 (To re-elect Gary Channon as a Director of the Company) is now withdrawn. The withdrawal of Resolution 4 does not affect the validity of the Notice of AGM, the proxy form or any proxy votes already submitted in respect of the remaining resolutions to be proposed at the AGM. The numbering of all other proposed resolutions at the AGM will remain unchanged.

This announcement is made pursuant to Listing Rule 9.6.11R. There are no other details required to be disclosed under Listing Rule 9.6.13R.

For more information  
John Castagno, Chairman  
Tim George, Company Secretary  
Dignity plc +44 (0)20 7466 5000
Chris Lane  
Tilly Abraham  
Buchanan +44 (0)20 7466 5000
www.buchanan.uk.com dignity@buchanan.uk.com

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