Translation technology firm SDL sees chief John Hunter depart

LANGUAGE translation software firm SDL yesterday revealed that its chief executive John Hunter was leaving the firm “to pursue other business interests”.

Hunter, who stepped up to the role in February last year after a stint as chief financial officer, had seen SDL’s shares fall to a two-year low last month after a less than positive trading update.

City A.M. understands that Hunter departed by mutual agreement, with both parties understanding that he was struggling getting to grips with the technical aspects of the software business.

“The company needed someone with a bit more technical detail, there was an understanding that it wasn’t working,” one person with knowledge of the board’s plans said yesterday. “There’s an element that needs to be improved upon.”

Hunter will be replaced by executive chairman Mark Lancaster, who served as chief executive before Hunter, while SDL searches for a replacement.

The City cheered Hunter’s departure yesterday, sending SDL shares up three per cent.

Canaccord Genuity moved SDL from a “hold” to a “buy”, saying: “Although a capable chief financial officer, Hunter never matched the vision and authority of Lancaster.

“The relationship between the two as chief executive and chairman always had the look of a Medvedev/Putin balance of power, the former keeping the seat warm for the latter.”