Sage CEO steps down amid cloud problems

Sage CEO steps down amid cloud problems

Accounting software firm Sage has parted company with its chief executive following problems encountered in the migration of its service to the cloud

The company's board said that Stephen Kelly had agreed to step down after four years in charge of what is the UK's largest listed technology company.

While Kelly will remain with the company until May 31, 2019, the company has begun the process of seeking a replacement. In the interim, finance chief Steve Hare will be promoted to chief operating officer with "full executive authority to run the business" pending the appointment of a new chief executive.

It is the first time that Sage has dismissed its chief executive and its share price dropped by 6.6% following the announcement. 

Kelly was hired in 2014 with the mandate of overhauling the software company. And while the company's share price exceeded 800p in 2017 following the acquisition of US company Intacct, its performance has slumped in 2018 due to the struggle in migrating its customers and services from a standard licence model to its Sage Business Could platform. 

The company revised its sales forecast in April following a sluggish beginning to the year. Sage then fired 30 senior executives in May in order to "simplify" the organisation. 

Sage chairman Donald Brydon nonetheless praised the efforts of Kelly in the "heavy lifting" and his efforts to transform the group.

“He energised the group, drove change with relentless focus on customers, and, under his leadership, the strategy to become a leading SaaS business has been defined,” said Brydon.

It is not the first time that Sage has encountered problems when looking to amend its business model in line with new technology trends. 

The Financial Times cites the failed launch of a range of online products a decade ago that gave rival startups such as Xero a foothold in the accounting and payment software markets. 


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