Thursday, 1 October 2009

New Chairman at Misys

(By Philip Carnelley and Richard Holway 9.00am Thurday 1st Oct 09) At its AGM yesterday, Misys’s chairman, Sir Dominic Cadbury stood down and Sir James Crosby took his place. Sir James is senior independent director of ITV plc, amongst other things so he’s got a lot on his plate right now, given the shenanigans over finding a new leader there. But he should be used to this kind of thing by now...

Cadbury has been on the Misys board for 10 years. For most of that time, Kevin Lomax served as both Chairman and CEO during one of the most disastrous periods for Misys. As this was against the Corporate Governance Code brought in by his brother, Sir Adrian Cadbury, you can understand our anger.

Conversely Misys’ recent history shows that a chairman’s role can transform the prospects of the company at pivotal points, especially over the question of succession – and in our view rather proves the point that ‘an independent chairman is a good thing.’ Cadbury was appointed as Chairman in November 2005 after a shock profits warning led to previous executive chairman Kevin Lomax (and de facto CEO) becoming chief executive. After Lomax’s failed attempt to take the company private with PE backing, it was Sir Dominic who decided not to break up the company (an option urged by the previous management team) but to hire in Mike Lawrie, previously of IBM. And it’s fair to say under Lawrie’s leadership Misys’ fortunes rebounded, looking resilient even in the face of the recent economic downturn and especially problems with banks.

Although it could all have been very different, we could ask why on earth didn’t Cadbury trigger these changes years before?

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