CEO replaced as IT group struggles after float

The chief executive of cyber-security group ECSC has resigned, less than a month after the Bradford-based company reported significant losses in a difficult first year as a public company.

The company said that Ian Mann is to step down from the role but remains “fully committed to the business” as a major shareholder, and as a full-time employee focusing on business development and marketing.

ECSC announced that Stephen Hammell will move from finance director to become the new chief executive, while Lucy Sharp remains as an executive director on the board.

Meanwhile, Nigel Payne is stepping down as non-executive chairman and will be replaced by David Mathewson. Stephen Vaughan will be remaining on the board as non-executive director.

In March, it was revealed that the business has struggled to drive growth as quickly as it wanted to following its float, and had told investors it would, which put it under pressure.

ECSC joined the Alternative Investment Market in December 2016 and its share price rose strongly, more than trebling from its float price of 167p within six months. However a series of pessimistic updates saw ECSC’s share price fall back, reaching a low of 90p, before climbing back to trade around its float price.

Although it achieved growth of 9.5% in 2017, to £4.1m, its losses soared to £3.4m.

ECSC said this morning: “In making these changes the board is of the view that, whilst trading in the first quarter is in line with management expectations, the business has still not developed the necessary momentum to deliver long term shareholder value.

“While the current cash balance is slightly ahead of plan, trading conditions for the company remain challenging. Consequently, the board is of the view that a change of chief executive is required, as well as an increased level of involvement from the non-executive board members. This will give the board the opportunity, over the coming weeks, to review and if necessary remodel our offerings to the market.”

Commenting on his departure from the board, Payne said: “I remain of the view that ECSC can be a successful growth company in an exciting sector. It is however clear to me that steering the company through this challenging course will require a chairman who has more time to provide to the business than I have available. I have therefore agreed with my colleagues that the business would be better chaired by an experienced chairman who, with increased non-executive time, will provide the support the executive team need.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...