One of the longest-serving chief executives in the FTSE 100 Index has confirmed he is to stand down from the company he joined 26 years ago.
Paul Walker, 52, has been at the helm of accountancy software firm Sage for 16 years and helped build the business through a series of acquisitions.
A departure date has not been announced, but Sage said Mr Walker and the board will work to ensure a “seamless transition” to the next boss.
It has been reported that Mr Walker told the board he wanted to move on while he is young enough for fresh challenges.
His 16-year tenure is exceeded by Martin Sorrell at advertising giant WPP and Tullow Oil’s Aidan Heavey.
Mr Walker joined Newcastle-based Sage as company accountant when the business was just three years old.
He was appointed finance director in 1987 and worked on the flotation of the firm on the London stock market two years later.
It is now worth in excess of £3.3bn and has more than six million customers from the small and medium sized enterprise sector.
The company, which has a worldwide presence, employs 13,400 people.