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Dignity warns of branch closures as boss steps down

By James Pugh | Business | Published:

The boss of funeral provider Dignity has stepped down with immediate effect and the company may have to close some branches and furlough workers, even as deaths are set to soar from the coronavirus outbreak.

Emstrey Crematorium, Shrewsbury

Mike McCollum agreed with the board on Friday that it is "an appropriate time for him to hand over as chief executive officer as the business approaches a strategic crossroads", Dignity said.

It added that mourners may be prohibited from holding services in church, as the coronavirus pandemic continues. It also means that many may choose to buy stripped-down funerals, hitting Dignity's income per funeral and cremation.

The Sutton Coldfield-based group operates crematoria at Shrewsbury, Telford, Birmingham and in the Wyre Forest.

Chairman Clive Whiley, who will become executive chairman until a new chief executive can be found, said: "I would like to thank Mike for his extensive efforts over many years, in particular in leading the group as chief executive officer for the last 11.

"He has been a notable force throughout a period of significant growth, across all divisions."

He added: "Whilst we are indeed operating in extraordinary circumstances, the acceleration of the root and branch strategic review of the business initiated upon my appointment, which is due to be completed in June 2020, was designed to strategically position the business for all eventualities."

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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