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New CEO at Bighand

BigHand today announced the appointment of Jon Ardron as CEO. The announcement says the “appointment reflects the broader scale of the business following successful growth into North America and the Healthcare sector. The voice software vendor has just enjoyed a record sales quarter that saw revenue hit £2.7m for the period Oct-Dec 2009. During the last 12 months BigHand’s customer base has continued to grow significantly despite the recession, with over 200 new organisations installing BigHand software globally.”

Jon Ardron spent his early career at a world leading software business owned by Bank of America. He joined the board of Thomas Cook Group as Group CIO and Managing Director e-business. Since then Jon has worked in a variety of successful technology enabled high growth businesses, including five years at financial services business BGL Group where he drove the uptake of internet and voice technology that doubled customer numbers to over 2.3m, lowered costs and quadrupled profits. Jon has a degree in Physics from Cambridge and an MBA from London Business School.

BigHand say the company has been able to pay back a significant part of its bank debt raised in the MBO ahead of the original schedule. As a result by March 2010 net bank indebtedness will be under £0.5m.

6 replies on “New CEO at Bighand”

Some interesting numbers here. Sounds like BigHand have had a geat year…or have they?
A cursory look at their March 2009 accounts shows that liabilities exceeded assets by £374K. Is this still the case or are they now solvent again?
Bank debt at March 2009 stood at £5.05million. Does that mean they will have repaid £4.55 million in debt during the year? Doesn't seem likely since their best result in the last three years was a £26,056 profit (the other two years were losses, with last year's loss being £828,482). Perhaps their definition of the term'net bank indebtedness' would explain the seemingly impossible task carried out by BigHand.
I always expect a degree of spin when reading press releases but I am afraid this one made me dizzy. If they feel the need to reassure the market and they are financially stable and expanding, then sales, profit and equity are the revealing numbers.
Roumors are running wild in the industry about BigHand's financial status. It's hardly surprising with recent redundancies in North America and the UK as well as big changes on the Board and a new CEO. These are hardly the signs of a Company having a record year.
Come on BigHand, you invited comment by publishing these figures, so how about you put peoples minds at rest and publish the numbers that provide the full picture?

Which accounts are we commenting on here as there are 2 Bighand companies – one of which is the group holding company? And of course all company accounts always need to be viewed in the context of them being formulated to minimise tax liabilities. CC

“A cursory look”?
From a disinterested party, no doubt.

The numbers quoted are from BigHand Holdings Ltd, the holding company. The holding company carries all of the debt for the group so these consolidated accounts are the ones that reflect the true state of the business. This structure is not about company tax efficiency since it only owns BigHand Ltd, the trading company. It was formed specifically for the MBO.

When you realise that Bighand collect the cash from virtually all their support contracts in the first quarter it goes some way to explaining how a reduced NET bank borrowing can be forecast for March. The only problem is that the bills and interest still need paying for the rest of the year, so it would be enlightening to hear what their forecast is for net borrowing in December of this year? As mentioned above, why report on net bank borrowing as part of an announcement about the appointment of a new CEO – strange.

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