Chris Stone, chief executive at Northgate Information Solutions, which makes software for the public services and HR markets, has called on personnel practitioners to stand up and make a name for themselves in the difficult current financial climate.
Stone said: “The ‘credit crunch’ has created an opportunity for the HR sector to make a name for itself. HR professionals can stand up and be counted. The fundamental building block of the economy is its people and HR sits at the very heart of that.”
Stone also praised the vision of private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), following its takeover of Northgate in a £1.1bn deal last month.
KKR also bought-out Alliance Boots in May last year for £11.1bn – the first time a FTSE 100 company firm had been acquired by a private equity firm. It prompted HR director of the health and beauty retailer Mike Cutt to walk away from the company two months later.
He told Personnel Today that Northgate’s acquisition of Arinso in June last year, had not pleased the short-term interests of its public shareholders.
“They had been advised that following the Arinso deal, company shares would go up,” he said.
However, it was at the time when shares were falling, that KKR stepped in, Stone said.
“KKR is in the business of spotting value and we are pleased that we got the deal done before the door closed on the financial lending market,” he said.
Stone said Northgate would pursue its strategy to expand oversees. Plans for the HR division of the company – NorthgateArinso – include continued global expansion, with new offices being opened in Russia, Turkey, Portugal, Mexico and Norway.
Northgate employs more than 6,000 staff and operates in 46 countries across five continents.