The senior management shake-up of Melbourne-founded, New York-based employee experience (EX) software group LiveTiles (ASX: LVT) continues after it was announced today that co-founder Karl Redenbach would be departing from the CEO role he has held since the business began in 2014.
The news comes within a week of another ASX-listed, Aussie-founded, US-based tech company - Bigtincan Holdings (ASX: BTH) - withdrawing from a scrip-derived $65 million takeover bid for LiveTiles, citing very limited engagement from the target and not being granted access to due diligence as its reasons.
The outgoing leader will be replaced by Salesforce regional vice president David Vander, who prior to that job was global growth director at LiveTiles.
"David is an exceptional leader and strategic mind and completely understands the requirements of our clients," said Redenbach, who will remain with the business in a 'strategic and revenue generating capacity'.
"David is a true expert in enterprise tech sales and is the best person to drive growth for our business. I look forward to working with him again and to support an orderly and successful transition," he said.
Redenbach will transition to an executive directorship - a role previously held by his fellow co-founder Peter Nguyen-Brown who, like the exiting CEO, is stepping aside in response to the outcome of an operational review.
The extensive review was announced in August with a goal to find and capitalise on strategic opportunities to fuel revenue growth, generate free cash flow and profitability on a sustainable basis, and attract and retain top talent, among other objectives.
Knowing that the review would likely dampen short-term financial performance until any initiatives stemming from the review are implemented, the board sought to delist so it could free itself of any "undue short-term focus on quarterly financial results", outlining their belief the company was chronically undervalued.
However, the delisting plan backfired with a rejection from shareholders. Around two weeks after that vote, LiveTiles released an operational review update announcing the departure of Nguyen-Brown, who was also chief experience officer (CXO) in October. At the end of that same month, chairman Marc Stigter resigned.
Nguyen-Brown and Redenbach had co-founded the business with the intention of disrupting the status quo and leading organisations into a new era of digital transformation, cognisant of the fact end users needed to be empowered to build their own intelligent workplaces without relying on the expertise of others.
In pursuit of that mission they deployed AI, analytics and user interface design to build the reputation of a fast-growing, leading global company that now has more than 1,100 customers.
"LiveTiles has been a huge part of my life since its inception and has been a family in its own right to so many people. It’s a responsibility I’ve always taken seriously, and as a founder there is never a moment where you aren’t thinking about trying to grow and improve the company," Nguyen-Brown said in September.
"The people that turn up every day working for and supporting this company are what makes LiveTiles such an amazing place to be, and I will miss that the most.
"Karl and I have been business partners for 20 years, and his phenomenal vision and leadership is why LiveTiles has grown from just a concept into a significant business in such a small amount of time," he said at the time, highlighting his full support of the board and management to make the right strategic decisions to maximise the company's potential.
In FY22 operating revenue grew by 17 per cent to reach $52.8 million, and EBITDA more than doubled to $5 million. In LiveTiles' annual report, Redenbach noted the group had $64 million in annual contracted revenue and its retention rates were tracking above 90 per cent.
In the same financial year the group made numerous acquisitions and investments, including EX business The Human Link which works with many of Australia’s largest blue-chip organisations and Portugal-based leading digital workplace software company BindTuning, as well as almost 20 per cent stakes in the My Net Zero platform and Australian cognitive AI development company BrainPac, and a 10 per cent investment in Canberra-headquartered digital design and consulting business Hide & Seek, a trusted advisor to many Government departments and agencies.
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