Misys hands reins to ex-Siebel chief Lawrie

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The Independent Online

The US technology veteran Mike Lawrie has taken the helm at Misys and will be tasked with steadying the ship following the departure of Kevin Lomax after his aborted management buyout attempt.

Mr Lawrie, who takes up the chief executive role on 1 November, said: "My task will be to leverage these assets and provide strategic direction."

He will be under pressure to detail a cogent strategy for the company as many investors would prefer Misys was broken up and sold off. The company has operations in the banking, US healthcare and financial services software markets.

Mr Lawrie, who was previously the head of the US software developer Siebel, will be eligible for a bonus of £1.1m to supplement his £550,000 a year salary if Misys achieves certain profit targets. He will also be eligible to receive up to £4m in stock if the shares reach 400p under his tenure and will sink £500,000 of his own money into Misys shares. The shares added 4.1 per cent to 197.25p on the back of his appointment.

Earlier this month, Misys called time on talks to take the company private. Mr Lomax immediately left the company he founded as a result of his involvement in the management buyout process. Misys also admitted that its software is not at the leading edge.

Mr Lawrie left Siebel Systems in controversial circumstancesin 2005 after spending less than a year in the chief executive role. The former IBM executive had taken over the troubled software developer with long-term plans to turn the business around. However, a continued poor revenue performance cost him his job. Siebel was soon sold to rival Oracle in a $5.8bn (£3.1bn) deal and there is some suggestion that Mr Lawrie agreed to leave the company as he opposed the sale.

Most recently Mr Lawrie was a partner at US private equity company ValueAct Capital and also sits on the board of Symbol Technology and Good Technology. He spent 27 years at IBM and, between 1998 and 2001, was head of the company's European operations.

Misys is likely to release a trading statement in mid-December, giving Mr Lawrie about six weeks to detail a strategic plan to turn the company's fortunes around.

Misys noted that San Francisco-based ValueAct Capital could take a stake in the British software developer.

Mr Lawrie will receive relocation benefits, although he will likely spend a great deal of time in the US as Misys derives about 60 per cent of its revenue from its healthcare and financial software in the region.