Finance chief of troubled Datalex quits after less than three months

Dónal Rooney found himself presiding over massive profit warning within weeks

Datalex provides software to airlines including Lufthansa, Aer Lingus and JetBlue.

Datalex provides software to airlines including Lufthansa, Aer Lingus and JetBlue.

 

Datalex’s chief financial officer Dónal Rooney has decided to quit the Dublin-listed software provider to the travel industry, having found himself having to preside over a massive profit warning within weeks of joining the company.

Mr Rooney joined Datalex on December 5th, having previously held similar roles over the course of the past six years in hotel investment and management company Amaris Hospitality and the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

On January 15th, Datalex shares slumped almost 60 per cent after it warned that its 2018 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) may come to a loss of almost $4 million (€3.53 million).

It signalled that it was struggling to recover higher than expected costs from its largest project, known to be the overhaul of the digital commerce offering of German airline Lufthansa.

The group also disclosed the same day that it may have misstated revenues and earnings for the first half of 2018, mainly due to how it booked income associated with same project.

The matter is currently the subject of an independent review by accountancy firm PwC Ireland. The Central Bank has also opened an investigation into Datalex, which is understood to include an examination of the company’s upbeat trading statement in late November, less than eight weeks before the profit alert.

Stock pressure

Datalex’s stock took another hit last week when the company disappointed investors with its earnings guidance for 2019 and 2020, and unveiled plans to cut jobs and contracted positions to save up to $10 million annually from next year.

It is understood that Mr Rooney had taken the view in recent times that the job was vastly different to the one he signed up to last year.

On his appointment, he had said he was “very happy to be joining Datalex at this exciting time in the group’s development” as it prepared to implement its “ambitious plans for future growth”.

Announcing Mr Rooney’s departure, Datalex’s chief executive Aidan Brogan said: “I am grateful to Dónal for his support, hard work and dedication through what has been a most challenging period for the group. I would like to wish him every success in his future career.”

Mr Rooney will remain in office until the end of April to assist with the transition to a new chief financial officer.

The company said that the process to appoint his successor has begun and an announcement will be made “in due course”.