Mulford quits as Datrontech CEO to start ASP

Big write-offs=big losses

Mark Mulford has quit as CEO of UK distributor Datrontech to launch an Application Service Provider (ASP). The departure was announced as the company recorded pre-tax losses of £8.2 million for its year ended January 2 2000. This compared to profits of around £2 million the previous year. Sales were down 10 per cent or to £200.7 million from £223.3 million. Industry newcomer Ray Peck replaces Mulford. Datrontech said it was unable to say at present which company Peck was joining from "for commercial reasons", but that he had a distribution background linked to IT. Meanwhile, Mulford's three years leading the Basingstoke distributor are over and he is working on a freshly formed Datrontech subsidiary called Portableplace.com. He will be CEO of the ASP, but will not be a board member of Datrontech. The venture, expected to be launched this summer, will be aimed at business to business applications in mobile computing and remote access. Datrontech has a majority holding in Portableplace.com, while Mulford and partner John Tonnison also have a stake in the company. The company's disappointing results were due to the shedding of loss-making companies in Eastern Europe and the sale of PC recycling business RD Trading, Allan Mack, Datrontech COO, said today. Exceptional costs of £7.9 million included a £3.6 million goodwill write-off for the disposal of RDT, plus a tangible loss of £2.7 million on the shutting of subsidiaries in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The relocation of storage business Summit to Colchester also cost the group £1.7 million. Mack told journalists that the selling-off of the company's non-core business was "now virtually complete" and that there would be "no more surprises" for this financial year. Regarding profit, Mack said he would be "happy if we could maintain the current run-rate", while he expected sales to grow. Mack rubbished rumours that he was leaving his position at Datrontech, even though he had curiously run out of business cards at today's event. Last year Datrontech issued profit warnings in June and March, as well as the previous August. The board aims to get Datrontech's share price to £1 over the next two years, and to £2 within three years. Today Datrontech's shares were unchanged at 20 pence. ® Related stories Datrontech issues profit warning as share price falls Polish shortfall may take shine out to Datrontech results Computacenter snaps up RD Trading

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