I was completely blown away when I heard the news that CEO and founder Nick Martin has been squeezed out.
As you may recall, in April 2011 the folks from Altium announced that they were relocating their global headquarters from Sydney, Australia, to Shanghai, China (see my blog Meandering Musings on Altium's bold and exciting move to Shanghai).
Well, I think it's fair to say that the China strategy worked out for them, because just a few weeks ago as I pen these words they were reporting growth and good numbers on the old balance sheet.
So I was completely blown away when I heard the news that CEO and founder Nick Martin has been squeezed out – it seems the board and Nick had different views about the future of the company.
I personally think this is very, very sad. This company was Nick's baby. Way back in the early 1980s, Nick was living "Down Under" on the island of Tasmania. Nick required access to tools to design printed circuit boards, but such tools were jolly expensive at the time, so he designed his own. In 1985, Nick formed Protel, which subsequently became one of the major players in affordable, off-the-shelf PCB design tools.
In 2001 they adopted the name Altium and began to branch out into other areas, starting with PCB-FPGA co-design, and now all sorts of stuff like Cloud-based computing.
The "official" release from Altium is presented below. I'm sure the new CEO will be great. I'm sure Altium will do well in the future. But for myself, I am "as sick as a parrot" (as they say in England) with regard to the way Altium has treated Nick. It's their loss. I wish Nick all the very best for the future, and hope to see him again one day when we can quaff a few beers and talk more about Doctor Who (we both watched as kids from behind the sofas in our respective parent's houses).
---------- The Official Release Follows ----------ALTIUM ANNOUNCES CEO DEPARTURE AND APPOINTMENT OF CEO
Sydney, Australia - 15 October 2012
- Electronics design software company Altium Limited (ASX:ALU) advises that Chief Executive Officer and Founder Mr Nick Martin has stepped down from his positions with the company with immediate effect and is replaced by Executive Vice Chairman, Mr Kayvan Oboudiyat, as CEO.
The Board of Altium wishes to sincerely thank Mr Martin for his tireless dedication to the company for over 25 years and wishes him well for the future as he pursues his personal endeavours.
While Altium has made considerable progress over the past twelve months, having relocated its global headquarters to China, and returning to profitability, it is the Board’s decision that it is in the best interests of Altium to adopt a different style of leadership with focus on returning value to shareholders.
Chairman of Altium, Mr Sam Weiss said, “Nick Martin has been a significant contributor to Altium over many years. Notwithstanding, it is the view of the Board that while Altium’s assets and technological innovation have always been strong, the company has under-performed against the opportunity”.
Altium has positioned itself on a path to transform itself from a traditional software company to a “software as a service company” that embraces the web. This has been achieved through the active pursuit of content driven subscription strategy and the acquisition of the required web-related technologies and their subsequent development direction.
These achievements along with Altium’s relocation to China provide an opportunity for Altium to be a key player in the emerging Electronic Design Tools market that is built around web-enabled devices. The Board has recognised that for this opportunity to be fully realised, Altium must commit to the achievement of profitability that is sustainable over the long-term.
Mr Weiss acknowledged that “this will require Altium to exercise fiscal discipline while actively pursuing technological innovation that will achieve commercial success”.
Mr Weiss further stated that “as a Board, we are pleased to be able to appoint Mr Kayvan Oboudiyat as our CEO and achieve a successful and seamless change to leadership. As Executive Vice Chairman, with over 15 years experience with Altium, Kayvan understands the company well”. Altium also intends to undertake a search to identify a suitable external candidate to join the leadership team, and will advise further at the time of any such appointment."
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