New CEO for funeral provider after year of ‘enormous upheaval’

Kate Davidson

Funeral provider Dignity has a new chief executive after what it is calling a period of “enormous upheaval”.

Kate Davidson will take over the top job, with curreny incumbent Gary Channon stepping down on June 9. Channor will also step down from the firm’s board.

Davidson rejoined Dignity in June 2021 as chief operating officer and was appointed to the board in January. She has primarily been focused on organisational change, regulation, operational efficiencies and delivery of Dignity’s future development projects.

She began her career in the crematoria sector within local government, later joining Dignity in management and strategic roles spanning eight years. In 2019, Davidson joined crematoria and cemetery operator Westerleigh Group as commercial and operations director, but rejoined Dignity last year.

She 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.

“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.”

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.”