CFO departure casts shadow over Pace profits

by Richard Crump

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29 Jul 2014

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A SOLID first-half performance at set-top box maker Pace has been overshadowed by the sudden resignation of the company's well-regarded finance director.

Shares in the FTSE 250 business fell 6% yesterday after the company announced that Roddy Murray, who joined the company in 2012, had stepped down from the board with immediate effect.

The slump in share price came despite posting stronger-than-expected profits of $72m (£42.4m) and raising its full-year guidance for profits and cash flow.

It is understood that Pace brought forward its results in response to Murray's abrupt departure, which the company said was for "personal and confidential" reasons and not linked to financial performance.

Murray will be replaced by Belinda Ellis, who has been group financial controller at Pace for three years.

Analysts at Peel Hunt said in a note that, although Murray's departure "is a blow" and "will create some short term uncertainty", he leaves the business in "significantly stronger shape" and expect his successor to be incentivised similarly on cash flow performance.

Ellis, the former FD for planning and analysis at News International, will be acting CFO until further notice.

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