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By | Paul Kunert 13th September 2012 09:22

Stone Group CEO Bird flies the coop in dispute

Disagreement over selling the biz led to chief's exit

PC supplier Stone Group's founder and long-standing CEO James Bird is leaving the organisation, The Channel understands.

Sources in the sector claim Bird informed private equity backers RJD Partners of his plans to exit the organisation some months ago and is currently working a notice period that is believed to end in November.

"They [RJD] are in the process of interviewing candidates," said a source in distribution.

The Staffordshire-based PC builder was incorporated in 1991 and sold to the management team led by Dave Wilcox in early 2005 in a deal that was backed by venture capitalist Nova Capital Management.

Bird is understood to have retained a stake in the firm and when business hit the buffers in 2006 he returned as group CEO, helping to improve the financials.

Stone was then sold to RJD Partners in 2008.

It is believed that Bird and RJD's original exit timelines have been stretched because of the recession. The impact of the downturn led a difference of opinion between Bird and RJD over when a buyer for the business should be sought.

The firm is due to file calendar 2011 results, but a snapshot of the past two sets of numbers show sales in 2009 were £69.2m and operating profits were £2.87m, while in 2010 turnover was £69.67m and operating profit fell to £1.34m.

Stone Group and Bird did not respond to calls for comment. ®

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