Newcastle-headquartered software giant Sage Group has announced that chief executive Stephen Kelly has stepped down as a director and CEO.
The London Stock Exchange-listed company said Kelly will spend the first nine months of his 12-month notice period on garden leave.
However, he will remain “available to the group” until he leaves on 31st May 2019.
A process to find a new CEO has already been initiated.
“Stephen has much to be proud of in the very heavy lifting he has led as the group is transformed,” said Sage chaiman Donald Brydon.
“He energised the group, drove change with relentless focus on customers, and under his leadership the strategy to become a leading SaaS business has been defined.
“The board remains fully supportive of the overall strategy. We wish Stephen well in the next phase of his life.”
Chief financial officer Steve Hare has been appointed to the additional post of chief operating officer on an interim basis. He will have full executive authority to run the business until a new CEO is appointed.
In a statement on the London Stock Exchange, Sage stressed that it remains focused on “completing its evolution” to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business, driven by Sage Business Cloud.
In seeking a new CEO, the company said it is “particularly focused on finding an executive practiced in embedding sustainable processes at scale for the next phase of the Sage journey to capture the significant opportunities ahead”.
Kelly said he was proud of his role in “positioning Sage as a champion of entrepreneurs and a voice of business heroes”.
He added: “I joined Sage four years ago and am immensely proud of the extraordinary change that I have had the privilege to lead.
“I joined a fragmented organisation with minimal presence in the cloud.
“The major cultural transformation has created Sage Business Cloud which has now grown to £386m of annualised recurring revenue (ARR) from a standing start and has driven total shareholder return for Sage of over twice that of the FTSE100 during my tenure.”
Sage Group said Kelly will remain eligible to receive a bonus in respect of the 2017/18 financial year but will not be paid a bonus in 2018/19.