GBG, Chester identity firm, hires new chair; profit falls

Chester-based digital identity verification company GB Group (GBG) said its profit before tax fell 36.8% to £21.7 million in the year to March 31, 2022, as it announced the appointment of Richard Longdon to its board as its next chair and non-executive director with effect from September 1, 2022.

Longdon will succeed David Rasche, who is stepping down from the board and retiring after 12 years with the group.

Rasche will remain an active member of the board until September 30, 2022, to ensure an orderly handover.

GB Group shares fell as much as 15%.

The firm said its revenue increased 11.4% to £242.5 million. Proposed final dividend will rise to 3.81p from 3.4p.

As chair since December 2010, David’s counsel and stewardship have played a significant and important role in guiding the success of the business,” said GB Group.

“During David’s tenure as chair, GBG has completed 15 acquisitions, the group’s market capitalisation has grown from c. £24m to c. £1.2bn today and the company has developed into a global leader in digital identity software.

Richard Longdon will join GBG following a highly successful career in the technology sector.

“He spent 33 years with AVEVA Group where he was chief executive officer for 17 years and has held a number of non-executive director and chair roles since.

“His global leadership experience will enable him to lead the board through the next stages of the company’s growth and assist management in shaping the future strategy for the business.”

Longdon said: “I am delighted to join GBG at an exciting time.

“It is clear that the business has the ambition and capabilities to execute on the attractive long-term growth opportunities in its markets.

“This is underpinned by the talent, passion and culture of the team.

“I look forward to working with Chris Clark, the executive team and the rest of the board,  to continue building on the success achieved to date as I lead the board with a determination to continue advancing the business for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

Rasche said: “I am proud of what GBG has achieved during my time as chair, particularly the journey of significant growth which has seen GBG become the largest pure-play identity software solutions provider on the public markets.

“It has been a privilege to spend twelve enjoyable and successful years with this great business, it is now time to hand on the baton of Chair.”

CEO Chris Clark said: “I want to express my personal thanks to David Rasche.

“His commitment, passion and advice have been invaluable since I joined GBG five years ago.

“He has led the board through transformational change as the business has grown to become an industry leader while creating significant value for shareholders.

“He will depart with our best wishes for the future.

“We look forward to welcoming Richard as we continue our ambitious growth journey.

“Richard’s appointment reflects his calibre and suitability for the role of leading the GBG board.

“He brings a deep technology understanding with proven experience of successful expansion in the sector.

“We will benefit hugely from his guidance and insight as GBG continues to execute upon its global growth strategy.”

On the annual results, Clark said: I am proud of the team’s performance this year, their focus on delivering critical digital identity solutions with a great customer experience underpins GBG’s strong financial results.

“Our excellent customer advocacy and record team engagement scores highlight each team member’s huge contribution towards achieving our success and delivering on the considerable potential in our markets.

“The acquisition of Acuant marks a powerful and complementary addition to GBG, accelerating our strategic progress and strengthening our leadership position in the identity verification and fraud markets.