CFO takes over at Spirent as CEO steps down

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Eric Hutchinson has taken charge of telecoms company Spirent Communications following the immediate resignation of chief executive Bill Burns.

Spirent did not make any comment as to the reason of Burns’ departure. The company has struggled over the past year and reported a 72% drop in first-half operating profit last month.

Hutchinson’s appointment as interim CFO was well-received by the markets, sending its shares up 5.8% in trading on the London Stock Exchange.

Nick James, analyst at Numis Securities, said the change was unexpected and appears to be the consequence of Spirent’s “disappointing performance” over the past year.

“Spirent has faced challenges in its core markets and misses some opportunities to benefit from stronger adjacent markets like security testing,” James said in a note seen by Reuters.

According to Spirent’s half-year report, revenue fell to £190.4m from £236.1m in the same period last year, while profit collapsed to £14.5m.

“The timing of this departure suggests that perhaps we are not going to see a turnaround this year,” Lee Simpson, analyst at Jefferies and Co, told Reuters.

The company said consultants would undertake a search for a new chief executive in due course. Hutchinson will continue to oversee the finance team while leading the company.

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