Sage appoints Guy Berruyer chief executive

Guy Berruyer
Image caption Guy Berruyer was one of several internal candidates vying for the top job

Sage, one of the UK's largest software businesses, has appointed Guy Berruyer to succeed long-time chief executive Paul Walker.

Mr Berruyer, 59, currently in charge of Sage's operations in mainland Europe and Asia, will take over on 1 October.

Sage specialises in accountancy software, and the FTSE 100 company has a reputation as one of the technology sector's best performers.

Mr Walker, chief executive since 1994, is due to leave Sage on 1 December.

"Guy has led the successful growth of our business in Europe and, more recently, in Asia," Sage's chairman Anthony Hobson said.

"He has a strong track record of profit growth, both organically and through the successful acquisition and integration of companies."

There were several other internal candidates to replace Mr Walker, and investors will be concerned that Sage could now see departures.

But Panmure Gordon analyst George O'Connor said that Mr Berruyer is "steeped in Sage" and was always in "pole position".

'Disruptive transition'

Sage reported a 4% fall in 2009 revenues and a 6% decline in operating profit, leading some analysts to feel that an outsider was needed to inject fresh life into the business dominated for years by Mr Walker.

"Nice, smooth transition. But is this what Sage really needs?" wrote Anthony Miller of technology research firm TechMarketView. "Surely what Sage needs now is a highly disruptive transition!"

Mr Berruyer, a French national, trained as an engineer and joined Sage in 1997. He was appointed to the board in January 2000.

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