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Utilitywise - Flattery from the company for Brendan, but will he be able to rectify the red flags ahoy?

By Steve Moore | Tuesday 9 August 2016

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

With a business model which has seen red flags ahoy noted and recent performance “weaker… than we would have liked” (sorry, in order to help the company ‘realise its considerable potential’), Utilitywise (UTW) has announced the appointment of Brendan Flattery as CEO, effective 1st October 2016.

Flattery joins from FTSE-100 Sage Group, “where, as President, Europe, he was responsible for leading a 7,000-person business unit operating across 11 countries which generated annual revenues of circa £800 million from a customer base of more than two million. Former roles during his thirteen years at Sage included CEO, UK & Ireland, and Managing Director, Small Business and Mid-Market Divisions”.

The move also sees Utilitywise founder and current CEO, Geoff Thompson, emphasising "Brendan has been the outstanding candidate from the outset… I look forward to working with Brendan in my new role as Executive Chairman, which will enable me to focus on group strategy and key client relationships whilst remaining firmly involved in the business”.

Hmmm. It will be interesting to see the changes which result – with, for example, the company having stated “staff attrition has continued to be a challenge” and currently chasing improved commercial terms to improve cash flow.

The announcement has helped the shares recover a bit from the sub 130p they eventually fell to following yesterday’s profit warning (sorry again, “update on trading for the year ended 31 July 2016”), but until I consider there clear evidence suggesting the contrary, I'll continue to avoid.

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