Monday 23 October 2017

McCabe quitting SmartForce chair

Ailish O'Hora

By Ailish O'Hora

BILL McCabe, the founder of e-learning firm Smartforce, is to step down from his current position as chairman of the company within the next six months in a restructuring of the board of directors.

According to sources close to the company, Mr McCabe will continue to serve as a special adviser to SmartForce, and the current chief executive officer Greg Priest will take on the additional role of chairman.

The moves are a bid to increase the level of technology and internet savvy on the board going forward, and a number of other appointments are expected in the coming months. Mr McCabe will stay on and oversee the new appointments.

However, analysts were a bit taken aback by the news and said they were surprised about Mr McCabe's move before the board had been beefed up.

SmartForce, formerly known as CBT, is no stranger to shocking the market, and the last time Mr McCabe stepped down in 1998 the share price collapsed from the $60 level down to $6.

The turmoil that ensued prompted a management shake-up which saw Mr McCabe return as chairman.

Shortly after his return, the company issued a profit warning based on the failure to win a number of significant contracts.

The result was the same and $50 was wiped off SmartForce shares.

Later, in November 1999, the share price took another battering when it lost 33pc after the announcement of the name change from CBT to SmartForce, and a change in the business model generating income from internet subscriptions as opposed to software licences.

But the change in direction has paid dividends in the long run, and SmartForce's share price now sits at the $54 level, up over 20pc in the last two weeks on Nasdaq.

For the second quarter ended June 30, SmartForce reported a net loss of $7.6m, or 15 cents per share, beating the consensus estimate of 17 cents.

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