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
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn