Wife of MD sacked for his banter says 'it was just a bit of fun'

EXCLUSIVE: It was just a bit of fun! Wife of managing director who was sacked for his ‘mum-friendly’ Whatsapp banter insists ‘it’s been blown out of proportion’ (but she still won’t reveal what he said)

  • Sally Dawe defended her husband claiming banter was ‘blown out of proportion’ 
  • Dave Dawe said he had a 35-year ‘blemish-free record’ at company Spadeoak
  • He was kicked out over ‘mum-friendly’ content in a WhatsApp group, he claims
  • The firm’s parent company welcomed the new MD, Victoria Smith, on LinkedIn
  • Mr Dawe wished her luck – and bemoaned how he was ‘sent packing’ by ‘cowardly’ colleagues, labelling some staff ‘experienced burger flippers’ 

The wife of an ex-managing director has slammed his sacking over ‘offensive’ WhatsApp banter fuming that ‘it was just a bit of fun’ that has been ‘blown out of proportion.’

Sally Dawe, whose husband Dave Dawe got the boot over content that he says, ‘most mums would laugh at,’ told MailOnline: ‘I’m not very happy with the company or the fact that it’s all over the media.’

Ms Dawe refused to be drawn into the details of the WhatsApp messages but said: ‘It was just a bit of fun, that’s all. The whole thing has been blown out of proportion. I don’t want to talk about it because there has been a complete over-reaction.’

The Dawes live in a £1 million, five-bedroom home located on an exclusive gated estate in Egham, Surrey.

Ex-managing director Dave hijacked his female replacement’s public welcome on her first day with a rant about his ‘back stabbing’ former colleagues after he was sacked over ‘offensive’ WhatsApp banter.

Dave Dawe, from London, claims he had a 35-year ‘blemish-free record’ at asphalt surfacing specialists Spadeoak before getting the boot over content that he says ‘most mums would laugh at’, posted in a work group chat.

Sally Dawe (pictured), whose husband Dave Dawe was fired over content that he says, ‘most mums would laugh at, defended him, saying the situation has been ‘blown out of proportion’

Pictured: Former Spadeoak managing director Dave Dawe, who claims he had a 35-year ‘blemish-free record’ at the asphalt surfacing specialists before getting the boot over ‘mum-friendly’ content posted in a work WhatsApp group

When the firm, based in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire welcomed his replacement MD Victoria Smith in a LinkedIn post, Mr Dawe wished her luck – and bemoaned how he was ‘sent packing’ by ‘cowardly’ colleagues.

He labelled some staff ‘experienced burger flippers’ and ‘jealous pen pushers’ who ‘crawled out of the sewer’, and said he was ‘looking forward to [his] tribunal’.

Mr Dawe became the managing director of Spadeoak, a former family business which is now owned by conglomorate Aggregate Industries, in September 2009 after 25 years of working for the company, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He started as Operations and Commercial Director in October 1985, before moving on to the Deputy Managing Director position in September 2004.

In his explosive social media post, Mr Dawe wrote: ‘All the best and good luck, Victoria.

‘Just look forward to the integrity, support… massive annual pay rises of anything up to one per cent, bonuses diminished by whatever excuses can be dreamt up, and most importantly the back-stabbing, cowardly* sneaky… devious methods that, in my opinion, they will use to try and get rid of you on the cheap when your face no longer fits. 

In the back-handed welcome he wishes his replacement Victoria Smith luck by telling her to look forward to the ‘integrity’ of the firm who he says ‘try to get rid of you when your face no longer fits’

Pictured: Aggregate Industries welcoming Spadeoak’s new managing director Victoria Smith

‘Have happy times at Spadeoak. I certainly did with a great team, whilst multiplying the bottom line by a factor of six over ten years.

‘Until jealous pen pushers and experienced burger flipper managers and similarly qualified staff… crawled out of their sewers to spread their deadly seed.

‘They […] chose to get all goody goody regarding a work person WhatsApp group in which the guys were having vanilla fun in lockdown.

DAVE DAWE’S RANT  

‘All the best and good luck, Victoria.

‘Just look forward to the integrity, support… massive annual pay rises of anything up to one per cent, bonuses diminished by whatever excuses can be dreamt up, and most importantly the back-stabbing, cowardly* sneaky… devious methods that, in my opinion, they will use to try and get rid of you on the cheap when your face no longer fits.

‘Have happy times at Spadeoak. I certainly did with a great team, whilst multiplying the bottom line by a factor of six over ten years.

‘Until jealous pen pushers and experienced burger flipper managers and similarly qualified staff… crawled out of their sewers to spread their deadly seed.

‘They […] chose to get all goody goody regarding a work person WhatsApp group in which the guys were having vanilla fun in lockdown.

‘Content that consisted of what most mums would laugh at, was deemed so shocking and potentially offensive that after 35 years and a blemish-free record, I was sent packing.

‘I look forward to my tribunal. Enjoy!’

‘Content that consisted of what most mums would laugh at, was deemed so shocking and potentially offensive that after 35 years and a blemish-free record, I was sent packing.

‘I look forward to my tribunal. Enjoy!’

His rant was shared on Twitter where it went quickly viral as hundreds of social media users debated whether Dave was just ‘bitter’ or right to air his grievances so publicly.

Aggregate Industries quickly disabled comments on the post after spotting Mr Dawe’s rant – and the whole welcome has since been deleted.

Some took pity on Spadeoak and said they could ‘see why they got rid of Dave now’ – while other users proclaimed the former MD was their ‘hero’ for getting it off his chest.

Spadeoak claim to be one of the UK’s leading names in asphalt surfacing, whose projects include sports stadiums, retail parks and even the Royal Household.

SpadeOak was established in 1976 by the Wellington family and is now owned by manufacturer and construction materials supplier Aggregate Industries. The company has worked with notable British sports venues including the Olympic Park, Emirates Stadium and Battersea Park.

Victoria Smith, has worked with Aggregate Industries for more than 15 years, and took up her new position on November 2, also joining the senior leadership team of Aggregate Industries’ Contracting Division. 

Mr Dawe told reporters he has chosen to ‘zip [it] for now’ ahead of his tribunal and Aggregate Industries have since claimed they ‘take ethics and integrity very seriously’.  

The welcome message for Ms Smith had said: ‘We are pleased to announce the appointment of Victoria Smith as the new managing director for Spadeoak, our specialist contracting business.’

Mr Dawe’s disgruntled post had already been shared on Twitter, where it has since gained more than 2,000 likes and comments.

David Pierrie commented: ‘Is this one of those posts you’re supposed to write but then delete – not send??? #SchoolBoyError.

Pictured: Social media reaction to Dave Dawe’s post about ‘backstabbing’ colleagues

Another user called Taxman1964 joked: ‘Is it a public tribunal? I’d love to attend and see Dave Dawe in action.’

Wayne Caffrey joked: ‘Dave, may all your rants be of a similar vein.’

Timothy P added: ‘Oh, to know what was in that WhatsApp chat.’

Michael Quinn wrote: ‘Magnificent drop the mic from Dave.’

User Paul said: ‘I like Dave. Dave’s sarcastic and angry. Although he lost me at vanilla fun. That either sounds sinister or like a Wall’s ice cream swingers club?’

Farra521 said: ‘At least Dave’s now got it off his chest.’

Dan Jones added: ‘Go on Dave boy. Don’t hold back.’

A Spadeoak representative said: ‘Our company takes ethics and integrity very seriously and we pride ourselves in our approach to health and safety and mental health.

‘Due to the nature of the issue we cannot further comment on the case.’

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