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Alfresco appoints new chief executive to lead IPO in US

London Stock Exchange is not set up really for tech companies, says CTO

UK-based open source company Alfresco has appointed former SuccessFactors president Doug Dennerline as its new CEO, in preparation for a forthcoming initial public offering (IPO) in the US.

Dennerline was president of SuccessFactors until its acquisition in 2012 by SAP for $3.4 billion. Before joining SuccessFactors, he was executive vice president of enterprise sales for Americas at Salesforce.com and was previously the chief executive of the Webex division of Cisco.

"Doug's leadership experience at three disruptive software companies and his immersion in Silicon Valley culture will help Alfresco achieve escape velocity in 2013," said Robin Vasan, Mayfield Fund managing director and Alfresco board member.

The news follows a record quarter for the enterprise content management firm. In the last quarter, Alfresco has won 109 new enterprise customers in 27 countries and announced significant cloud integrations with Amazon Web Services, Salesforce.com, Google Docs and Microsoft Office.

Now the company's executives, who are headquartered in Maidenhead, believe that the best future for Alfresco and its investors is to continue to grow and to ultimately pursue an IPO on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

"We've made a very explicit public intention to go public on NASDAQ, and to do that we felt that we needed a US-based CEO with US experience," the company's CTO and founder John Newton told Techworld.

"The purpose is to be closer to the capital markets, closer to the investors, closer to the analysts, as well as just raising our exposure in the US."

He added that there have been very few technology IPOs in Europe overall and, with the exception of a handful of companies, the market is just not there.

"AIM is not a great market in terms of liquidity, and the London Stock Exchange is not set up really for tech companies, whereas NASDAQ really is," he said.

The news will come as a blow to the UK government, which has been working with the LSE on a new set of IPO regulations, designed to encourage internet and technology companies to float in the UK.

The government's proposals include reducing the minimum percentage of shares required to be in public hands or "free float" from 25% to as low as 10% - following in the footsteps of the US government's Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups (JOBS) Act, which was passed earlier this year.

However, a survey by financial adviser Grant Thornton in November revealed that fewer than one in ten private equity professionals saw an IPO as a credible option for technology companies in the next 12 months.

Commenting on his appointment, Dennerline said: "In seven short years, John and the Alfresco team have created a world-class technology company that, through the power of its open-source model, has completely disrupted the enterprise content space.

"We are at the very beginning of the enterprise shift to cloud and mobile, making Alfresco perfectly positioned to lead that shift."


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