Gresham names Sepkes executive chairman; posts widening losses

Gresham names Sepkes executive chairman; posts widening losses

UK financial software house Gresham Computing has recruited industry expert Eric Sepkes as executive chairman as it looks to boost its business and reverse a slide in revenue and profits.

Sepkes is a well known industry figure after completing 38 years with Citigroup where he held various management positions, including operations and treasury and cash management. His most recent position at the bank was a senior strategic role in global transaction services.

Sepkes was responsible for managing Citibank's entry into Chaps where he was director for 12 years and chairman for three years. He was chairman and deputy chairman of the Euro Banking Association between 1994 and 2005.

He was also the founder and coordinator of the European Payments Group (formerly Heathrow Group) and a member of Apacs and the European Council. Latterly he was a member of the Apacs senior sponsors committee for faster payments in the UK.

Gresham is the developer of a real-time payments nostro reconciliations data system for the correspondent banking sector. When the service was originally launched the primary targets were the banks as the end users of the data. But with sales slack, the vendor says it has now switched its focus to meet demand for intra-day/real-time cash management information from the banks' corporate customers. Gresham is also looking for a pick-up in demand for its Optus Early Pay supply chain financing system, which went live in Australia in mid-2007.

News of the Sepkes appointment comes as Gresham reports pre-tax losses of £2.9 million for the year ending December 31 2007, compared to a loss of £414,000 in 2006. Group revenue fell to £13.4 million in the year, from £14.5 million in 2006.

Gresham says revenues were impacted by the weak US dollar and the deferral of a "significant" treasury management contract from 2007 to Q1 2008.

The vendor says it also recorded "lower revenues in non core areas" and it will look to dispose of non-core businesses as the opportunity arises.

However Gresham chairman Alan Howarth says the company started the first quarter of 2008 with "a very substantial level of contracted revenues" and "a strong pipeline of new or incremental revenue in each of our core areas of business".

"Our trading performance in Q1 2008 was significantly ahead of that seen in the comparative period," he says. "We are working towards improving these results further during 2008 and beyond."

Gresham says it will also look to identify potential acquisitions to accelerate growth in the real-time financial data market.

The vendor also confirmed that Howarth steps down from the board today.
View Gresham market data here

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