Softcat MD stepping down at reseller months after flogging £1.5m worth of stock

Slips out door with 620,000 shares to enjoy a life less ordinary

British reseller giant Softcat’s managing director, Colin Brown, is standing down at the end of July, just months after he offloaded 125,000 shares for £12 each – totalling £1.5m – giving him a cash pillow to see out the coronavirus lockdown and beyond.

Word of Brown’s departure was confirmed by the London Stock Exchange-listed business along with the name of his successor, Richard Wyn Griffiths, who joined Softcat in 2002 and has held numerous roles, most recently as director of solutions, services and marketing.

CEO Graeme Watt said Brown’s decision to step down had “not been an overnight one” and that succession planning had been in the works since the MD warned them of his intention to pad off.

He said Wyn Griffiths built up “skills and expertise” across the company over the past 18 years and was considered the best candidate to take over from Brown.

Brown landed at Softcat in 2012, jumping ship from Microsoft where he’d been UK services boss, and ran the company with former MD and CEO Martin Hellawell, steering the business through quarters of consecutive revenue growth and the £472.3m IPO in 2015, which made the exec team millionaires overnight.

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In January, Brown sold some of his Softcat stock for £1.5m but he still owns around 650,000 shares. The firm’s shares are currently priced at £23.50, giving the business a market capitalisation of £995.5m.

Hellawell, now chair at Softcat, who exited the operational side of business in April 2018 and was replaced by Watt, cashed in £12.3m worth of Softcat shares in November. He is now also chair at Raspberry Pi Ltd and a non-exec director at Team17 Group Plc.

Softcat continues to expand, and in the half-year ended 31 January [PDF], grew revenues to £524.1m, up 20.8 per cent year-on-year, with operating profit up 19.5 per cent to £40.5m.

Brown will remain with the business until “at least” November to ease the handover, Softcat said today. We called Brown to ask what he plans to do with all his millions of pounds and if he has another role lined up. ®

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