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Sage's 63-year-old CEO says au revoir: 'Life's all about choices'

Guy Berruyer set to scram once newbie found

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Seventeen-year company veteran and CEO Guy Berruyer has signalled his intent to hang up his boots from the end of March next year or sooner if a replacement in found beforehand.

The man went public on his exit plan at the half-way point of the accountancy software developer's fiscal '14 numbers, that showed a near five per cent year-on-year rise in organic sales to £657m.

A hike in software subscriptions to £201m was the "main driver" behind organic growth of seven per cent in recurring revenues to £472m. There are more than 400,000 subscription contracts across the group.

The cloudy small biz product Sage One trebled the number of paying punters in the UK and Ireland to 33k and grabbed an extra 60,000 users across Germany, France and South Africa, pushing numbers up 160 per cent in 12 months.

The ERP X3 product grew at seven per cent, which according to Sage's half-yearly investors' report was "below our expectations for double digit" sales gains with the sluggish tech market in France fingered as the culprit.

Version 7 is due next week, and has been "redesigned" with mobility and web access in mind, the firm said.

Software and related services came in flat at £185m as a contraction in Europe offset gains in North America and Africa, Australia, the Middle East and Asia (AAMEA).

Turnover in Europe was up three per cent to £382m, the Americas climbed six per cent to £206m and AAMEA was up 12 per cent to £69m.

Operating profit came in at £174m, versus a £1m loss a year ago when it incurred £180m of charges relating to the disposal of non-core European products.

So not a bad set of numbers that has been shaped during outgoing CEO Berruyer's three-year stint at the top. The man plans to retire when he exits, at the latest next spring.

"Life is about choices, and at 63 years old I still have many things I want to achieve besides my executive career," he said. "I have decided that the time is right to begin to hand over the reins".

Berryuer is a non-exec director at global engineering group Meggitt Plc. ®

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