Pace executive axe falls once more

The problems at Pace, the set top box maker, have claimed the job of another senior executive, as the company continued to shuffle its management team following a strategic review.

Pace, which last month announced the departure of chief executive Neil Gaydon after several profit warnings in 2011 and a drop in the group’s share price, on Friday axed the role of chief operating officer.

The move left David McKinney without a position at Yorkshire-based Pace, prompting him to leave the company and resign from the board with immediate effect.

The operations and procurement functions that previously reported to Mr McKinney will now come under the direct supervision of Mike Pulli, the company’s former US head who took over as chief executive from Mr Gaydon in December.

“The new senior structure gives the chief executive direct line of sight to the critical areas of the business,” said Allan Leighton, Pace chairman, acknowledging “the significant contribution that David has made to Pace over the past six years in building its operational capabilities”.

The senior management changes follow a review of the company’s European business by Mr Leighton, who took over as chairman in mid-2011.

Pace endured a rocky 2011 – a year that included three profit warnings, severe flooding in Thailand that affected important suppliers, and a drop in its share price.

Pace also encountered supply-chain problems following the Japan tsunami, as well as the March discovery by analysts that an order from a large US customer had been delayed until 2012 – a fact that the group neglected to report in its annual results statement released on the same day.

The group in 2010 became the world’s biggest maker of television set-top boxes by shipments after it overtook Motorola and France’s Technicolor.

The company has also on Friday appointed Tim O’Loughlin as head of its US business, filling in the position vacated by Mr Pulli.

“His appointment ensures continuity of leadership and the customer relationships that are critical to our continued growth in this region,” Mr Pulli said of Mr O’Loughlin’s appointment.

Mr O’Loughlin joined Pace in 2001, and will oversee a 1,500-strong team that brings in annual sales of $1.7bn.

Shares in Pace, which have fallen 60 per cent over the past year, on Friday rose 7 per cent to 78¾p.

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