After an extended period of leadership uncertainty and profit warnings, Serco, the international service company, has today announced the appointment of Rupert Soames OBE as Group Chief Executive, which takes effect from 1 June 2014. Ed Casey, who runs Serco’s American division, will continue to lead the company as Chief Executive in the interim period.
Serco has had a troubled year, having suffered major reductions in its Australian immigration services contracts, leading to unwelcome profit warnings, and its CEO Chris Hyman’s resignation in October 2013, over the high profile and damaging investigation into the companies billing practices for UK government electronic monitoring contracts.
It is hoped that Soames’ appointment, whose initial annual salary at Serco will be £850,000, will add some certainty back in to the firm’s investors and clients’ minds. Soames is currently the Group Chief Executive of Aggreko plc, the FTSE100 support services company and global temporary power generation and temperature control services business. He has led Aggreko since 2003. He is also currently the senior independent director of Electrocomponents plc, the FTSE250 support services company.
Prior to joining Aggreko, Soames was Chief Executive of Banking & Securities, a division of Misys Group plc which accounted for around half of the group’s total revenues. Prior to Misys, Rupert had a number of roles at GEC plc including being appointed the youngest divisional managing director at the age of 26, and the executive director operations of Avery Berkel UK Ltd.
Alastair Lyons, non-executive chairman of Serco Group plc, said:
“Rupert Soames is a highly experienced FTSE100 Chief Executive with a significant track record of success, leading a substantial and complex international support services business. He and his team have driven growth in Aggreko by developing customer-focused strategies and consistently delivering against them. Rupert is a passionate believer in public services, highly respected by customers, governments, employees and investors, and I am absolutely delighted that he has chosen to join Serco and lead the company’s future development.
Serco has been working hard to resolve its issues by implementing a corporate renewal programme, which has made enough progress to gain approval from the Cabinet Office and thus put it back on track to bid and attain further government contracts. However, touching on the tough period the firm has experienced, Lyons added:
“Serco has strong foundations and the board is confident in the group’s ability to realise its full potential under Rupert’s leadership. I would also like to express my huge appreciation to Ed Casey for his commitment to Serco during this difficult period, and for providing great leadership to get the company back on track.”
“It is has been an extremely difficult decision for me to leave Aggreko after eleven enjoyable and successful years. I am hugely excited to be joining Serco as I have always admired the services it delivers and the passion and commitment of its people. I am aware that the company has experienced significant recent difficulties but the work that Serco does is important to the lives of millions of people and I believe that we can find a way through to a bright future. I am greatly looking forward to working with my new colleagues to deliver the quality of services that will impress our customers, shock our competitors and please our investors.”
In response to the news of the appointment of Serco’s new CEO this morning, Serco shares have risen 10%.