Industry Insights

Big Changes at SDL: New Focus, New CEO & New Strategy

Content management and language translation software provider SDL, has appointed Adolfo Hernandez as their new CEO. Effective April 18th 2016, Hernandez will bring 25 years of experience in results-driven leadership and a proven record in global business transformation.

Meet Adolfo Hernandez

Prior to joining SDL, Hernandez was CEO of Acision, the mobile messaging market leader, prior to its acquisition by Telco Software Company, Comverse in August 2015. In September 2015, Acision and Comverse merged to form Xura, which named Comverse CEO Philippe Tartavull as their leader.

Previously, Hernandez was Executive Vice President at Global Software Services and Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent, where he was an influential member of the Executive Committee, reporting to the Group CEO. Hernandez was responsible for all of Alcatel-Lucent’s software application solutions and services globally, heading up their strategic industry domains across utilities, transportation and government, managing support, operational, professional and consulting services teams.

Hernandez also held senior management roles at Sun Microsystems, Inc and was globally in charge of all aspects of their services business. Before that, Hernandez also spent nine years with IBM in London and Munich, where he held a variety of sales leadership positions in the areas of eBusiness and Open Systems.

The Status Quo and the Expectations at SDL

As we covered last week SDL announced its audited financial results for the full year which demonstrated that the pre-tax loss widened to GBP 2.5 million ($35.67 million) from a GBP 9.4 million ($13.3 million) profit in 2014 after booking an impairment of GBP 33.3 million and GBP 5.8 million in one-off costs related to the company's restructuring.

The SDL Board admitted the failure of its customer experience strategy and the need of a new game plan focused on their core business. As a result, they decided to sell its FredhopperSocial Intelligence and Campaign & Analytics businesses, which are considered non-core.

Related post: SDL’s Executive Chairman, David Clayton: “Our CXM strategy has failed”

Just before Hernandez joined SDL, the Board settled the longstanding litigation over the Trados acquisition. In February 2016, SDL paid $1.85 million in “full and final settlement of all claims” in order to open a new, clean page.

They selected the CEO due to “his strong software and services background and deep understanding of the technology heritage of SDL’s business”. The major factor that influenced the decision-making process was his credential leadership experience in running global, public, large scale, and complex businesses.

Hernandez is also fluent in Spanish, English, German, and French, which will be certainly valuable as the CEO of SDL with its refocusing around a language centric strategy.  

 “I am excited at the opportunity to drive SDL to the next stage of its evolution,” said Hernandez. “SDL is well recognized for its heritage and has tremendous opportunity ahead to monetize the next phases of its services and software, specifically in the fields of localization and content. I am eager to contribute my experience and expertise to SDL, its Board, customers and employees in this important time. The people, products and services that have established SDL as a market leader will be a huge base to build upon and drive more shareholder value.”

David Clayton, who presently holds the position of Executive Chairman, will revert to non-executive chairmanship.

“At this pivotal time for SDL, we are thrilled to have Adolfo join the company to guide us in our journey toward continued global leadership,” said David Clayton, Executive Chairman, SDL. “His wealth of experience in transitioning companies to growth makes him uniquely qualified to lead SDL. We look forward to enhancing SDL’s position in the markets we serve under his direction.”


Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

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