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New GM brings defence experience to Austal’s Australian operations

'Austal marine support base in Henderson'    Austal Ships ©    Click Here to view large photo

Austal has appointed Graham Backhouse to the position of General Manager of its Henderson Shipyard Operations (HSO) in Australia.

Austal’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Bellamy, said Mr Backhouse would bring considerable value to the operation, which is now focussed on the design and manufacture of naval and paramilitary vessels for the Australian and international markets.

'We are fortunate to have someone of Graham’s calibre and experience join us to lead the Henderson Shipyard Operations. He brings a strong background in defence contracting and will be a pivotal member of the executive leadership team,' he said.

Mr Backhouse’s career includes 24 years in the defence field, working with industry and governments throughout the world including in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Canada and Australia.

His most recent position in defence was as General Manager for the ANZAC Ship Alliance. This industry-government partnership provided operational support services to the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of eight ANZAC class frigates. This included design, configuration management, system integration, in service engineering, upgrade, repair and operational maintenance.

'Austal is an exciting company with a strong track record of delivering innovative, client and capability focused solutions to the global market,' Mr Backhouse said.

Port Side View with Anti Foul -  Austal Ships ©   Click Here to view large photo

'The capabilities of Austal and its products are amply demonstrated by the Littoral Combat Ship and Joint High Speed Vessel programs for the US Navy, and numerous successes in the patrol boat market. I look forward to contributing to the company’s continued emergence as a world leader in naval shipbuilding and support,' he added.

Austal, as prime contractor, is contracted to build eight Cape Class patrol boats for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service at its HSO, south of Fremantle, Western Australia. The first of these 58.1 metre aluminium monohulls will be launched early next year. Austal is also contracted to provide in-service support to the fleet until at least 2019.

In the US, Austal USA is pleased to announce the promotion of Craig Perciavalle to President, Austal USA.

'I am pleased to see Craig Perciavalle take the helm,' said Austal USA Chairman Rear Admiral Dugan Shipway. 'He is a true American shipbuilder who will deliver on our existing naval contracts.'

Mr. Perciavalle is currently serving as Senior Vice President of Operations. He joined Austal USA in 2007, serving in a number of senior management positions while overseeing Austal’s transition from a small, conventional commercial shipyard to an efficient, modular manufacturer of the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship and Joint High Speed Vessel.

'Craig helped design, build and staff Austal’s American facilities' said Andrew Bellamy, Austal’s Chief Executive Officer. 'He is uniquely prepared to transition this shipyard into serial production and manufacture ships at a pace unmatched in the United States today.'

Austal USA Interim President and Chief Financial Officer, Brian Leathers, was promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Mr. Perciavalle has 20 years of experience in the shipbuilding and repair industry and has worked at several Gulf Coast shipyards, including: Bender Shipbuilding & Repair in Mobile, Alabama; Atlantic Marine in both Mobile, Alabama and Jacksonville, Florida; and Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, Louisiana. Mr. Perciavalle has held various senior management positions successfully overseeing commercial and government new construction and repair programs of diverse vessel types; most recently the Joint High-Speed Vessel (JHSV) and Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), both high-speed aluminum vessels presently being built by Austal for the US Navy.

Currently, Mr. Perciavalle serves as an Executive Control Board Member of the National Shipbuilding and Research Program (NSRP) focusing on reducing the cost of acquiring, operating and maintaining Navy ships.

Mr. Perciavalle is a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y., with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Engineering Systems. He served as a commissioned officer in the US Navy Reserve.

Mr. Perciavalle lives in Baldwin County, Alabama, with his wife and two children.

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