Lomax faces uncertain future

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After more than a quarter of a century, the future of Kevin Lomax, founder of Misys, is uncertain.

The software company confirmed on Monday that its famously combative chief had stepped down with immediate effect. This followed the collapse of his attempt to take private the business he helped found at the age of 29 following a stint as the managing director of a subsidiary of Hanson.

Since 1979, Mr Lomax, 57, has watched Misys develop from a company with fewer than 40 employees and revenues of less than £1m into one with more than £1bn in annual turnover over 6,500 employees worldwide serving the international banking, US healthcare and UK financial services markets.

He led the company through its flotation on the London Stock Exchange in 1989 and its entry into the FTSE 100 a decade later.

In June, Mr Lomax began the Misys sales process by proposing to take the company private, knowing he would have to leave if it failed. The auction for Misys fell apart last week after the company said that it had not received a formal offer despite two companies expressing an initial interest.

Even before the failure of the sale, Mr Lomax’s relationship with the City took a turn for the worse when, as a senior independent non-executive at Marks and Spencer, he became embroiled in a row with Stuart Rose, chief executive, over whether Paul Myners, interim chairman, could stay in the role. He argued that Mr Rose and Mr Myners had become too close, compromising Mr Myners’ independence as chairman. Mr Myners left the board in July and Mr Lomax left in August.

Problems at Misys added to Mr Lomax’s woes. Last September, the software group issued a profit warning. Then, shareholders defeated a proposal to tie in his two senior executives with £1.2m bonus schemes and forced him to split the roles of chairman and chief executive.

On Monday, Misys said in a trading statement that it expected adjusted earnings per share for the current financial year to be lower than last year, sending its shares sliding by 18 per cent. The future of the company that Mr Lomax founded remains as unclear as his own.

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