New Sage boss shakes up management

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The Independent Online

The new chief executive of the blue-chip IT group Sage has made his mark on the company with a top-level shake-up just two months into the job.

Guy Berruyer, who was promoted at the start of October, said yesterday that the head of the North American business was leaving as he unveiled his new-look management line-up. He said: "Sage has management strength in depth and I am delighted not only to leverage the experience of our current executives but also to bring through a new generation of leaders." This came as the group reported a 20 per cent rise in profits for the year.

Sue Swenson, the president and chief executive of Sage North America since 2008, will retire next year and will be replaced by Pascal Houillon, who is head its France division. Roger Phillips, an analyst at Evolution, said the move was "positive" because the US "continues to underperform and the City was never impressed".

George O'Connor, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, was less effusive, saying of Mr Houillon's appointment: "Goodness only knows what the Americans will make of that."

Among other changes, Paul Stobart, the head of Sage UK and Ireland, who had been expected to leave after Mr Berruyer beat him to the chief executive's job, will take on the wider responsibility for northern Europe. "My new team better reflects the international and entrepreneurial nature of the business," Mr Berruyer added.

Sage said its annual pre-tax profits had risen by 20 per cent to £320m, despite revenues staying flat at £1.4bn. and small businesses were buying more software. Mr Berruyer said that while Sage had been hit by the recession later than larger companies, "we are seeing signs of more optimism".