Butcher by name, Butcher by nature? Capita finds new CFO

Talk about tough gigs – abacus-stroker-in-chief comes from UK rail background

It may be a case of nominative determinism that in the midst of its expense purge Capita has hired a man called Butcher to take control of the finance function. It might just be coincidence.

Patrick Butcher will inherit the wooden abacus at Capita by the end of the calendar year, the sickly outsourcing badass confirmed to the London Stock Exchange today.

He replaces Nick Greatorex, who served as chief financial officer from March 2015 and will leave at the end of September. Butcher is joining Capita at the most challenging point in its 34-year history.

Sliding profits, sales of unwanted divisions as part of a wider restructure, and multiple contracts that went awry have created something of a perfect storm for the UK's most-loved outsourcing biz.

CEO Jonathan Lewis came on board in October – a little over a year after Capita issued its first ever profit warning – with the remit to turnaround the leaky sales tanker, or as he put it, "complete the transformation of Capita".

Incoming bean-counting chief Butcher has 19 years' experience as a finance director, including six years as group finance director at Network Rail from 2009, so he knows a thing or do about tough gigs.

"Patrick is joining Capita at an exciting time," said Lewis in a prepared statement. "We have de-levered [sic] the balance sheet, disposed of non-core assets and started to reduce costs and invest in the business."

Capita forged ahead with a heavily discounted right's issue earlier this year of one billion new shares at 70 pence each – existing shares were trading at 181 pence at the time. This was to help Capita pay down its £1.1bn debt burden.

The company has also offloaded businesses deemed non-core, including Asset Services, the automatic number plate recognition outfit Parking Eye, Supplier Assessment Services, Projen, Medicals Direct Group and Capita Specialist Insurance Services.

Lewis said Capita's management was "looking forward to adding Patrick's new perspective, energy and experience to support the good start we have made with our transformation programme and new strategy".

Capita, it may have saddened some Reg readers to learn last month, remains the biggest supplier of IT outsourcing services to UK businesses and the public sector.

The strategy alluded to by Lewis will see the company try to do fewer things better, including software, HR, customer management, Government services, IT services. It will also see Capita spend money on improving IT internally.

Investors still aren't convinced and the share price remains at £144.85 this morning, down from £646.60 in August 2017. Ouch. ®

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