THE hugely respected former chief executive of software giant Sage who helped build the Newcastle company into a FTSE 100 star has stepped in to help a small North East start-up as it looks to make a name for itself in the digital sector.
Paul Walker, whose 16 years at Sage helped to turn it into a globally-respected company, is working with Newcastle-based Shout Digital to help it become one of the region’s major creative agencies.
Walker, who left Sage last year, has been brought in to advise an already impressive team at Shout, with its board including former technical director at Newcastle-based digital agency TH_NK, Gary Boon, who is credited with building the software behind the internationally-used chip and pin system.
The board also includes Ian Baggett, founder and managing director of Newcastle-based property company Adderstone Group, and Jason Mackay, ex-head of investment manager GLG’s UK hedge fund.
The firm believes Walker’s involvement will help the company to grow its £500,000 turnover to around £2m in three years time, as well as double its production team to 20 staff by the end of this year.
Paul Walker, who has also invested in the business, said: “What attracted me to Shout Digital was the impressive credentials of the entire team.
“Sharing their vision and passion to grow and deliver wider plans for product development, mobile commerce, and exploring the opportunities in mobile space further was something that I wanted to be a part of.
“My passion lies in helping to build successful businesses and investing in people rather than just their ideas.
“Shout Digital has enormous potential and I am passionate in helping the company grow and achieve its ambitions in the future development of digital space.”
The company is currently working on a number of projects, including the development of a video game for the iPad and iPhone – which it plans too launch in May.
Last year saw the firm move into a 4,000 square foot office in Jesmond on the same floor as its previous home, and it is hoping to continue its impressive growth by opening an additional sales office in London.
The firm has worked with companies such as Sanderson Young and NRG on iPhone apps and received national exposure for an app which allows users to catch up on details from TV shows, and became partners with card payment service Sage Pay in February last year.
Boon said: “The addition of Paul as a lead adviser is invaluable to Shout Digital and where the agency is headed in terms of development.
“Paul brings unparalleled knowledge from a business perspective and as former chief executive of one of the most well known PLCs in the software space.
“For a business that was set up during the recession we are doing extremely well and are now looking to grow our reputation in the constantly evolving mobile sector, in addition to a host of other markets.”
Walker has also been appointed the first interim chairman of the North East’s latest local enterprise partnership – the regional job creation body comprised of universities, businesses and councils and charged with revitalising the region.
He has also been appointed non-executive chairman of London-based digital sports rights business Perform Group to help guide it through a London Stock Exchange flotation which could value the business at up to £500m.