Top Scottish PR professional takes up director's role at cloud computing outfit Iomart
Sharon Mars Leach, who takes up the role of group marketing director, joins the firm from professional services giant EY where she was responsible for brand, marketing and communications in Scotland.
Previously, she spent nine years at Big Partnership, where she worked with clients such as Deloitte, Royal Bank of Scotland, the UK and Scottish governments and the Commonwealth Games. She also led the agency’s expansion into the north west of England.
Prior to working with EY, Mars Leach also advised tech start-ups and FTSE 100 businesses as a freelance brand consultant.
Her appointment is the first addition to Iomart’s management team since Reece Donovan was appointed chief executive in October 2020, taking the reins from long-serving boss Angus MacSween.
Mars Leach, who will not be joining the board, said: “I’m joining Iomart at an exciting time in its development, when there is a huge rise in cloud adoption. There’s enormous potential to widen awareness of the value we can bring to organisations as they re-shape their digital future.
“Iomart is an industry leader and Scottish and UK success story whose progress I have followed over many years. I’m looking forward to bringing fresh insight and ideas into the business in order to accelerate our growth.”
Donovan added: “We are delighted to welcome Sharon to the Iomart management team. She has a wealth of strategic experience gained from advising global companies and I look forward to working with her as we continue to drive our business forward.”
Martin O’Sullivan, an analyst at brokerage Shore Capital, noted: “We retain a buy stance [on the stock] as we balance the prevailing macro uncertainties against valuation considerations and the potential for a pickup in organic growth in H2 FY21 and into FY22 (starting April 2021), and we expect [this] appointment will reinforce Iomart’s ability to deliver on its growth strategy.
“In our view, the stock looks ‘cheap enough’ on a risk/reward basis, given signs of returning confidence in IT and digital transformation projects, even before the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.”
In December, the company said it was seeing business confidence begin to return after reporting a “resilient” first-half performance.
Donovan said new business discussions had gathered momentum in recent weeks pointing to improved confidence in longer-term IT and digital transformation projects.
The results showed revenues nudging up 2 per cent, year-on-year, to £56.3 million in the six months to the end of September. The firm benefited from strong levels of recurring revenues, accounting for 90 per cent of the total, up from 87 per cent previously.
Profit before tax was down 29 per cent at £6m, though adjusted underlying earnings held up at £20.8m, a fall of just 4 per cent. The interim dividend was maintained at 2.6p per share.
Iomart, which has more than 400 staff, said margins were expected to improve in the second half thanks to cost base adjustments and the integration of recently acquired businesses.
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