CentralNic Group appoints Michael Riedl as its new CEO

CentralNic Group Plc (LON:CNIC), the global internet software company that derives recurring revenue from marketplaces for Online Presence and Online Marketing services, has announced the appointment of Michael Riedl, currently Group CFO, as Group CEO with immediate effect.  Michael succeeds Ben Crawford, who retires from the board today. 

Ben Crawford was appointed Group CEO in 2009 and having overseen the Company’s successful IPO in 2013 has since taken the Company from a niche registry services provider to a substantial market leader in Online Presence and Online Marketing services.  During his tenure as CEO, revenues have grown dramatically from $2m to $700m, also driving strong profits and cash generation. Ben leaves with the Board’s sincere thanks and very best wishes for the future.

Michael Riedl was appointed Group CFO in February 2019 following the Company’s acquisition of KeyDrive SA, where Michael had been CFO since 2011.  He has strong financial and operational experience across the Group together with a wide and in-depth knowledge of the Company’s markets as a whole.

William “Billy” Green, Group Financial Director, will succeed Michael as Group CFO initially in a non-Board capacity. The Board expects that Billy will be asked to join the Board in due course. Billy, a UK qualified chartered accountant and Oxford University graduate, has since 2019 decisively contributed to the acceleration of the reporting cycle, improved analytical insights such as segregation of organic from acquisitive growth and the successful refinancing of the Company’s bond debt in October 2022.

CentralNic makes these changes from a continued position of strength. Following on from the recent Q3 trading update on 22 November 2022, we are delighted to confirm that trading has remained robust since then and would now expect a full year outcome at least in line with the upper end of market expectations1. We will announce our Q4 trading update on 30th January 2023.

The business is highly cash generative which has allowed the Company to successfully execute its M&A agenda and at the same time improve its net debt position. Having achieved these two objectives we now intend to launch a maiden share buyback before the year end with details to be communicated shortly.

Looking forward we will review our approach to cashflow deployment within the business and expect a greater focus on returns to shareholders versus M&A.

1 [1] Analysts forecasts as of 21 November 2022 are within a bandwidth between USD 701.0 million and USD 709.6 million for FY22 revenue and between USD 80.0 million and USD 84.1 million for FY22 EBITDA. 

Iain McDonald, Chairman, commented: “On behalf of the Board, I thank Ben for his many years of excellent service to the Company. It has been a privilege to oversee him growing and skilfully pivoting CentralNic into the outstanding company it is today. We appreciate his foresight to build a strong team around him which was immensely helpful to the Board. On a personal note, it has been a pleasure to work with Ben.”

“Michael has brought a wealth of industry experience and excellent strategic and leadership skills to CentralNic, and I am delighted that he will be our new Chief Executive Officer. He has impressed the Board with the impact he has made over the last four years, where he has brought clarity, structure and focus, with the combination of skills and experience to lead the business through its next strategic phase.”

“We congratulate Billy Green, a well proven member of CentralNic’s senior leadership team, on his appointment as CFO. We know he will successfully continue pursuing excellence in our financial processes and be an excellent contact for the financial community.”

Ben Crawford commented: “I have every confidence in Michael Riedl, my close business partner for the past four years, and his team to continue the extraordinary growth and cash conversion that are key to CentralNic’s investment case. I will remain an enthusiastic shareholder and supporter of the company for many years to come.”

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