Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Geoff Squire steps down from chair at Innovation Group

(By Richard Holway) Yesterday The Innovation Group (TIG) announced that "Geoff Squire stepped down as Chairman. He will remain on the Board as a non executive director until the Company's AGM to be held on 16 March 2009, at which time he intends to retire and not seek re-election. David Thorpe will replace Squire as Chairman of the Company on an interim basis. An external candidate to fill the role of Chairman on a permanent basis will be appointed at the earliest opportunity"

It’s been a rocky time for TIG of late. As we said yesterday, it got the 2008 wooden spoon with its c90% share decline in the year. Given that Geoff owned some 20m shares, that must have been painful even for a man his wealth.

Just before Christmas, TIG rejected an indicative bid between 15p-20p. As we wrote on 17th Dec 08, our view was that Innovation should ‘Take the Money’. Rather than my words, let me quite from today's Guardian. "Squire is understood to have been instrumental in slamming the door in the face of bidders who are believed to have included private equity houses Carlyle, Silver Lake Partners and HG Capital and his departure appears connected with his refusal to do a deal."

It will be interesting to see what happens now. I suspect a major corporate restructuring, demanded by its institutional investors, is clearly now on the cards which will result in TIG being taken private.

Footnote – Reporting on TIG has been quite difficult for me as Geoff is an ‘old’ personal friend of mine. I have great admiration for his achievements at ICL, Oracle and Veritas in particular. Geoff was a major investor in TIG so had significant ‘skin in the game’. I’m sure he’s not exactly pleased both with the losses incurred and to leave TIG in this manner and time. Obviously I wish him well.

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