January 17, 2011 5:33 pm

SDL chief to step aside in reshuffle

SDL, the Berkshire-based translation software group, said it expected to exceed forecasts for the year as it unveiled a management reshuffle that will see founder Mark Lancaster relinquish his role as chief executive.

Mr Lancaster, who will continue as executive chairman, will be replaced by John Hunter, finance director.

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Matthew Knight, currently chief financial officer for northern and central Europe at Logica, the IT services group, will take over Mr Hunter’s role in April.

Mr Lancaster, who founded SDL in 1992, said handing over the daily management of the company to Mr Hunter was the logical next step and would allow him to focus on strategy and acquisitions.

“The fact is I don’t have the bandwidth to manage the day-to-day running of the company as well as focus on the vision. We’ve been working on this for a while so it will be a very orderly transition,” Mr Lancaster said.

Analysts welcomed the management reshuffle, which will also see Cristina Lancaster, Mr Lancaster’s wife, step down from the board but stay on at the group. “There is always a risk in a succession of this type but the group is improving its adherence to best practice in corporate governance,” said Investec.

SDL, which provides technology and services to help customers such as Sony and GlaxoSmithKline translate corporate information and websites into dozens of languages, said it expected to report revenue for the year to December 31 of £202.5m-£203.5m ($322m-$324m), up from £171.9m in 2009.

Pre-tax profit is expected to be between £34.5m and £35.5m, up from £29.8m the year before.

Analysts had forecast that SDL would report profits of £33.9m on sales of about £191m.

The shares closed up 12½p at 630p.

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