Life has not been easy for Seamus Keating since he became group finance director of IT services company Logica.
The 38-year-old bagged his new job back in February and, within days of starting, saw the company’s share price tumble by 20%. The slide contributed to Logica’s fall from the FTSE-100 last week. In fairness Logica’s drop from the headline index following the most recent quarterly reshuffle by index compiler FTSE was part of the wider fall from favour of IT and telecoms stocks over the last year or two.
The trend leaves Sage as the only pure technology company in the FTSE – 100. Chip designer ARM Holdings and parts distributor Electrocomponents were also demoted alongside Logica last week, while Psion and Marconi failed even to hold on to their places in the FTSE-250 – let alone the premier index.
Despite the fall, Keating will be more concerned that the company continues to grow in its key markets. Thousands of column inches have been devoted in recent months to Logica’s place in the increasingly competitive market to provide software for the soon-to-be-launched multimedia messaging services already available in Japan.
What has received less attention has been the company’s successes in the somewhat less glamorous world of local government.
Over the past 12 months Logica has won three major local government contracts to manage and support councils’ efforts to meet the government’s goal of local authorities offering online services by 2005.
Last month it won a £12m, 10-year service contract with Waltham Forest to replace its outdated IT systems with an integrated SAP solution. That deal followed winning a £13m, 10-year contract with Haringey council last December and a £4.5m, five-year contract with the States of Guernsey Government secured last July.
Keating, an Irish citizen who trained with CIMA, moved into the group FD’s role (a move that also elevates him to the Logica board) after serving as director of group finance since 1999.
He succeeded Andrew Given, who become deputy chief executive ahead of his retirement at the end of this year. Keating joined the company from Getronics, where he was finance director of Olivetti Solutions – the global IT solutions business of the Olivetti group, immediately prior to its purchase by Wang (which in turn was purchased by Getronics). Prior to that appointment he was finance director of Olivetti’s UK operations, having joined its finance function in 1989.
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