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The IRIS corporate split – full chapter & verse

Apologies for abbreviated coverage yesterday – there are somethings that iPads are not so hot at coping with – and here is the full chapter and verse on the IRIS corporate announcements…

• The Board of IRIS Software Group Limited (yesterday) announced a revised company structure and new appointments to the Board, following the resignation of Martin Leuw as Group Chief Executive.

During Martin’s tenure as Group Chief Executive, IRIS has grown rapidly to become one of the largest private software companies in the UK, with 1,200 employees and c. 60,000 customers. Given its current size and complexity, the Board has decided that, following Martin’s decision to stand down, better customer focus can be achieved by formally separating the business into two, with IRIS Accountancy Solutions being run independently from IRIS Software Group.

Phill Robinson, Managing Director of IRIS Accountancy Practice Solutions Division for the last two years, will lead the newly created IRIS Accountancy Solutions (IAS) business as its CEO and joins the Board. Phill commented: “With over 14,000 Accountancy customers, IRIS Accountancy Solutions is the clear market leading provider of Accountancy software and services in the UK. I am delighted to have been asked by the Board to lead IRIS Accountancy Solutions through its next phase of development and growth.”

IRIS Software Group (ISG) represents all other divisions of IRIS and serves the following sectors; Legal, Not-for-Profit, Accounting & Finance, Payroll & HR, Field Service & Hire, Ticketing, Healthcare & GPs, Software modernisation and Software assets and compliance. The Board has initiated a search for a new CEO for IRIS Software Group. In the interim, Neal Roberts, who will continue as Group CFO, will also act as CEO. Otherwise the current management team remains unchanged.

In order to effect a smooth transition, the Board has appointed Nick Discombe as Chairman. Nick has been involved with IRIS since 2007 as a Non-Executive Director. Nick will work closely with Neal Roberts, Group CFO and acting CEO, IRIS Software Group, and Phill Robinson, CEO, IRIS Accountancy Solutions, as well as the rest of the Board, to ensure the on-going success of these two businesses. Martin Leuw will also remain involved with the business, as a Non-Executive Director, following his decision to stand down as Group Chief Executive.

Nick Discombe said: “A big part of any business success is to make sure that the organisation has the right focus at the customer level.  Separating the business into these two new operating units will bring this increased focus. I would like to congratulate Phill on his appointment as CEO of IRIS Accountancy Solutions, and look forward to working with Neal, Phill and the rest of the Executive Management to drive even greater success for IRIS in the years to come”

• The Board of IRIS Software Group Limited (yesterday) announced the resignation of Martin Leuw as Group Chief Executive. After 10 years in charge at IRIS, Martin Leuw has decided to step down as CEO and move to a Non-Executive role in the business, enabling him to pursue other business interests, whilst remaining involved in the development of IRIS as a business.

Martin joined the company as Group Chief Executive in 2001, during which time IRIS has grown from 100 employees to 1,200. Group revenues have risen from £9m to £120m and market capitalisation from £30m to over £500m. Under Martin’s leadership IRIS has grown to become one of the UK’s largest private software houses and a sector specialist and market leader.

During this period of growth, Martin led two Management Buy Outs and has in the last few years recruited a leadership team of Divisional Managing Directors and Group Directors to take IRIS into its next phase of development and growth, enabling him to now step back from the day-to-day running of the business.

Martin Leuw said: “After 10 years leading IRIS through a period of exceptional growth, I felt it was time for me to pursue other business interests and entrepreneurial opportunities. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team; all of our employees and of course our customers, whose loyalty has been integral to IRIS’ success to date. I look forward to a continued involvement with the business in a non-executive capacity”.

Nick Discombe, the newly appointed Chairman of IRIS added: “Having worked with Martin over the past few years, I know how deeply he cares about the business and particularly its employees and customers. Martin has clearly made a significant impact over his ten years leading IRIS and on behalf of the Board and the team at IRIS; we wish him every success with his new business ventures and look forward to his contribution to the future growth of the business as a Non-Executive Director.”

Comment: No comment, we'll leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions however we also spoke to Doug Hargrove, the managing director of IRIS Legal, who said that as far as the legal sector is concerned it would be “business as usual”. Hargrove's position is unchanged by the latest changes.

7 replies on “The IRIS corporate split – full chapter & verse”

Just an opinion and mere speculation but, it looks like they are setting up the company for it to be sold/floated. Not sure who will want to buy it though as they paid far too much for the companies that they bought and then systematically dismantled to the point of unviability. All the really good employees seem to have already left. It looks like Martin has now paid the price for the failure- although there is little doubt that he personally will have made a considerable sum out of it.

Never commented on here before but I can't let that comment pass by unchallenged, “it would seem all the best employees have already left” what utter twaddle.

Wow, 'utter twaddle'! Either you have no concept of what good employee means or in your opinion 'utter twaddle' means 'I couldn’t agree more'.
Seriously, anyone who knows anything about Iris Legal is aware that all of the inspirational and knowledgeable staff left either when the various companies were bought out or at some point after that. There are some good and hardworking employees left within the business just many less than there used to be and, most importantly, not in any senior positions. Plenty of people in Iris Legal are willing to say how great they are but their talents do not usually go much further than self-promotion. In addition, any good staff that they have brought on board have soon realised the scale of the difficulties that the company is in and have left either very quickly or after the shortest seemly period (as seen recently with the sales management).
So, perhaps there was some hyperbole in the original comment but, on reflection, not very much and certainly no twaddle at all.

IRIS and CSG Legal came together just before the banking crisis and remember the comments on the the blog at the time? It's Lloyds and HBOS etc. Well it's come full circle 'good bank' (IRIS Accountancy) 'bank bank' (IRIS Legal).
Seems to have played out pretty much to the same script as the banking world ……… now who's Fred the Shred!!

I would not say that all the good employees have left just most of them. Having become a recent customer of Iris having dealt with MSS (Alphalaw) before it was swallowed up (All their employees left also). I have to say on the whole they are ok. However there are a couple when on the phone are very terse and come across rude and abrupt and could learn from the rest of their team. I do hope that they find a good customer services course to send them on before too long. God knows where this ship is sailing now though. The question is who will board it and who will get off at the next port.

I customer services team that inherited a piece of software that wouldn't work past 01.01.11?

So, the series of events was; all of the developers who worked on one product set were made redundant and the on-going development reduced into maintenance mode and outsourced to India. Then several months later, a date related issue arises in many of the products from this product set. Is this just coincidence?

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