Spirent shares on rise as boss paid $1.5m leaves

Spirent Communications's chief executive Bill Burns had a bad day yesterday: he lost his job at the helm of the testing company and saw its shares rise 5 per cent.

The technology company, which tests 3G and 4G networks plus companies' software, gave no reason for Mr Burns' departure, which comes after five years in the job.

Spirent reported a 72 per cent fall in first-half profit last month, due to lower orders and a weak performance at its network and applications unit.

Spirent said Mr Burns "will step down from the board and leave the company with immediate effect," adding that he will "receive payment in accordance with his contractual arrangements". Spirent's annual report suggests Mr Burns is entitled to a year's salary, or $720,000 (£464,000) plus health insurance benefits for 12 months.

Last year, Mr Burns took home a pay package worth $1.5m. Spirent said finance director Eric Hutchinson will become interim boss. "The board, with a view to the long term, will in due course retain consultants to undertake an extensive search for a new chief executive officer," Spirent added.

George O'Connor, at Panmure Gordon said: "Some will see the news as a portent of a poor order build for the third quarter; however, in our view it is more likely a degree of frustration at the pace of change, and possibly failure to use the balance sheet more aggressively to hold the share price."

He pointed out that comments from the FTSE 250 company's rivals, namely Ixia and Anite, suggest that Spirent's operational weakness is primarily market driven rather than a specific fault with the business.

Mr O'Connor suggested Sue Swenson, currently a non-executive board member at Spirent, could be the next chief executive. "Sue is best known for 'fixing' Sage US, and has a very strong telecoms pedigree – she can either pick the candidate or, even better, do the job herself – Go Sue!" the analyst said, adding that in the meantime "Mr Hutchinson, appointed January 2000, is a very safe pair of hands, who knows the company inside and outside and should do a good job." Spirent's shares rose 6p to 134.6p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific