Spirent has axed its CEO of nearly five years and begun the search for his replacement as the test and measurement company looks for fresh ideas that will help it break into new markets.
Bill Burns was appointed as Spirent Communications plc CEO in late 2008 and subsequently oversaw sales growth, a number of acquisitions and a greater focus on the mobile broadband test systems market. (See Spirent Promotes Burns, Spirent Looks to LTE in Testing Times, Spirent 2011 Operating Profit Hits $122M, Spirent to Buy Mu Dynamics, and Spirent to Buy Fanfare.)
But sales were flat in 2012 and both revenues and operating profit fell sharply during the first half of this year, effectively signaling the end of Burns's tenure. (See As 4G Boosts Anite, Spirent Suffers, Spirent Sticks With R&D Strategy and Spirent Reports 2012 Profit of $111M.)
An official company statement says only that Burns has been replaced with immediate effect by CFO Eric Hutchison and that the search for a long-term replacement is underway.
A spokeswoman at Spirent's financial relations advisers, FTI Consulting, said that in light of the recent financial performance, the Spirent board decided it was the right time for a change in management (even though it has only promoted the long-time CFO as temporary CEO) and that the company is seeking a CEO who can be more "responsive" and take the company into adjacent markets such as cybersecurity and enterprise testing. "The board is looking for a CEO with a broader range of experience" beyond telecom, she added.
— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading