Chamber boss got €350k pay-off when he stepped down as IT firm’s MD

THE president of the Limerick Chamber of Commerce Kieran MacSweeney received a pay-off of $460,301 (€347,660) on stepping down as managing director of a Shannon-based IT firm last year.

Documents just returned with the Companies Office confirm Mr MacSweeney received the payment when he stepped down as MD of Avocent International in October of last year.

Mr MacSweeney — who built the Shannon unit up over 14 years — resigned at the age of 52 after Avocent International’s US parent, the Avocent Corporation, was purchased last year by industrial conglomerate Emerson Electric Co in a $1.2 billion purchase.

He was appointed as president of the Limerick Chamber of Commerce earlier this year and has been one of the mid-west’s most high-profile businessmen in recent years holding the chair of the Shannon Foynes Port Authority Company and president of the mid-west branch of the US Chamber of Commerce.

Mr MacSweeney headed up the Avocent base at Shannon (then Cybex) from a greenfield site in 1996, employing 25 people to build the company up to employ over 160 with annual revenues over $200m.

The take-over by Emerson triggered a standard release clause in Mr MacSweeney’s contract and he was one of 11 vice presidents out of 12 to step down from their posts following the deal.

Mr MacSweeney, who is now a consulting partner with management consultancy company, the Discovery Partnership, yesterday declined to comment on the package.

The returns show that last year Avocent International went into the red, sustaining pre-tax losses of $25m following the company securing pre-tax profits of $10m in 2008.

The company’s principal activity is the manufacture, distribution, sales and marketing and research of IT solutions for the European, Middle East, African and Asian markets.

The figures show that the company’s turnover slumped by 21% from $194m to $153m to the end of December last. The company sustained an operating loss last year of $16.3m compared to an operating profit of $9.6m in 2008.

The returns confirm that the company’s losses were increased last year by a $10m impairment on a tangible asset that related to the 2008 purchase of software firm, Landesk Software.

The figures show that the numbers employed by the firm last year decreased from 153 to 107 with the company’s staff costs declining by 40% from $17m to $10.2m.

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