Former Sage boss steps up at WANdisco as it seals British Gas deal

WANdisco today announced a major contract with British Gas, a new chairman and further growth in its business.

The Sheffield and Silicon Valley-based Big Data business said that current non-executive director and former Sage CEO Paul Walker will step up to the role of non-executive chairman to replace founder David Richards, who had been executive chairman and CEO since it floated in June 2012.

The company said the growth of the business and “corporate governance best practice” meant it was time to split the two roles.

David Richards, said of Mr Walker’s appointment: “The considerable experience he brings as the former CEO of the UK’s largest software company, Sage, a FTSE 100-listed company and the breadth of knowledge he has gained from holding several other board level positions, is invaluable. Paul and I will work together over the coming years to develop WANdisco into a major, global player in the technology sector. WANdisco is a fast growing company and we are at a hugely exciting time in our development. The board and I believe this structure will best support our current and future growth plans as we scale the business.”
Mr Walker is also a non-executive director of Experian, chair of the Newcastle Science City Partnership and a former non-executive director of Diageo and MyTravel.

WANdisco also announced its full year results today which show an 86% rise in bookings to $14.76m and a 106% rise in deferred revenue to $13.2m in the year to the end of December 2013.

The group had a 33% rise in revenue to $8.01m and adjusted EBITDA increased to a loss of $7.83m from $3m as it continued to invest in the business and staff, increasing from 90 to 147 people.

It had net cash of almost $26m at the year end.

The company said British Gas will deploy WANdisco’s Non-Stop Hadoop for Hortonworks Big Data product allowing it continuous availability to all its customer data and to reduce data storage costs and enable “mission critical applications to be implemented without downtime or data loss”.

British Gas is looking to replace its legacy enterprise database technology due to its high cost, lack of functionality and inability to handle the large volumes and variety of data required for new Big Data applications.

David Richards said: “Like so many organizations, British Gas is implementing Big Data to reap the huge benefits of storing and querying massive amounts of data that previously could not be achieved. In the process, British Gas will rid itself of the high cost and limited functionality of traditional enterprise database technology with a new strategy based on Hadoop. Both internal users and external customers will benefit from the new applications British Gas will now be able to deploy. Like all large organizations, continuous availability is a hard requirement for British Gas, but efficiency and limiting waste is also important. WANdisco’s Non-Stop Hadoop technology has a critical part to play in enabling enterprises to implement Big Data for strategic applications like this.”