Torex chief executive 'terminated'

Software vendor Torex Retail has "terminated" the employment of chief executive Neil Mitchell. The company, which makes software for the retail and hospitality verticals, declined to comment on the reason for the dismissal.

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Software vendor Torex Retail has "terminated" the employment of chief executive Neil Mitchell. The company, which makes software for the retail and hospitality verticals, declined to comment on the reason for the dismissal.

Mitchell had been suspended in January after the firm posted a heavy profit warning, only eight days on from announcing new contract wins. Interim chief executive Keith Taylor has been appointed to the post.

Torex’s shares were suspended from the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in January following the profit warning, and it is currently under investigation by the LSE, the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Services Authority.

The company, which has a net debt of £300m, is also up for sale and is in talks with a series of bidders understood to include US based private equity business Gores, UK based 3i, and technology specialists Cerberus and Golden Gate. A source close to the bid negotiations told Computerworld UK that the talks would not be protracted, because “it is not in anybody’s interests”.

Torex’s clients in the UK include Spar, Phones4U, River Island and WHSmith.

NHS contractor iSoft, Torex’s parent until 2004, has similarly been the subject of much bid talk. Its search for a buyer hit difficulties last week, when its selection of Australian software firm IBA was blocked by main contractor CSC.

The US services firm claimed it prevented the move in order to avoid hindering the delivery of what has become a notorious programme. But it has now been revealed that CSC has its own designs on iSoft. The target claims that Gores may be in discussions here as well, to be a co-buyer with the American services giant.

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