Pegasus Software has promoted Gary Turner from sales and marketing director to managing director.
Since the previous managing director Paul White left last year, Pegasus has been through a bit of an organisational hiatus, with four directors sharing the load. Turner's appointment followed a management restructuring after the departure of Pegasus's chief operating officer in August.
Announcing the appointment, Paul Coleman, the chief executive of Pegasus parent Systems Union Group, said Turner had been instrumental in turning around the developer's fortunes.
Pegasus was drawn into the Systems Union portfolio in 2000 alongside SunSystems during a period when both companies were struggling to bring out Windows-based upgrades for their core product families. At that point, the parent company was freecom.net, but after the share price dived, the company refocused on its core accounting software families under the leadership of Coleman, previously the group's finance director.
At then end of 2000, Pegasus released Opera II. At Softworld Accounting & Finance in September 2003, Turner acknowledged the product had a tough time initially, but with 3,500 users in the field alongside around 11,500 users of the original Opera product, the migration is progressing well, he said.
With a turnover of around £10m, Pegasus is profitable, but has plenty of potential to grow, Turner said. Explaining some of the factors that have helped the company's turnaround, he said: "We've made a number of reforms that have really changed the spirit and the attitude of the company. What we've done is to mature and innovate where previously there had been stagnation."
Over the past 2-3 years, Turner said, "We rolled up our sleeves and tried to deliver best possible products we can. We've seen the fruits of that in the take up of our customers. Their feedback is v encouraging and underlines that we're going in the right direction."
Pegasus has borrowed technology and concepts from the SunSystems stable and introduced enhancements to Opera II such as a more detailed nominal ledger structure, the XRL spreadsheet report module with dynamic links into the accounts data and a new system for delivering alerts via Instant Messaging.
"I would hold Opera II up to any competitor products, because we have focused on things that benefit our customers and make their businesses more efficient. Other developers are now following us," Turner said.
"We've had a fantastic 2003, and next year will be significantly better for Pegus. Our strategic thrust will be to make our products more appealing to a broader market space rather than just SMEs."
Part of the strategy will be embodied by Opera II version 3, due for launch in January, in which Turner promises to deliver a range of intereresting new functions.
Although Turner does not dismiss the threat from larger multinational developers such as Microsoft Business Solutions and SAP, as far as he is concerned, the main competition in the SME and mid-market is between Pegasus and Sage.
"Though they're large brands, Microsoft and SAP are still relatively small players in our market space. MBS has approximately 3,000 users and SAP may have fewer than 1,000. We have 15,000 sites," Turner said.
"I've been associated with Pegasus for 15 years. I started selling it in the late 1980s at the beginning of career. My drive is to get Pegasus the software company to live up to the success of its brand."
In official trading statements and comments on the company's overall performance, Coleman confirmed that Pegasus had returned to profitability and was playing a major part in the group's overall revival.
As far as Turner's qualifications for the MD role were concerned, Coleman commented: "Gary has been part of the team for many years. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge about the Pegasus products, the ever-changing needs of our expanding user base and the market dynamics governing the SME market place."
For more details on Turner's appointment, see the press release on the Pegasus corporate page on AccountingWEB.