Pearson appoints new c.f.o. as 2014 profits fall

Pearson appoints new c.f.o. as 2014 profits fall

Pearson has appointed a new chief financial officer (c.f.o.) after reporting a sales drop of 4% in 2014.

The company has appointed Coram Williams to the role of c.f.o. from Penguin Random House, where he is currently holding the same title. He will start in the job on the 1st August, replacing Robin Freestone, the current c.f.o of Pearson. 

For the year ending 31stDecember 2014, overall Pearson sales fell 4% compared to a year earlier to £4.9bn, while total adjusted operating profit decreased 2% to £722m. The company attributed the drop in sales and profits partly to currency movements, primarily the strength of the pound compared to the US dollar, as well as restructuring charges of£44m last year.

The charges related to Pearson’s reorganisation into two business streams—global lines of business and geographic market categories - first announced in 2013. 

Revenues from North America, which accounts for 61% of group totals, declined 3%. In Pearson’s core markets, including the UK, sales were down 8%.

The company said Penguin Random House “performed well” during the year, benefitting particularly from a strong publishing performance in children’s, which was boosted by film and TV tie-ins such as John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars.

In 2015, Pearson said it will accelerate its shift to digital, services and fast-growing economies. In its core markets, including the UK, Italy and Australia, trading conditions will stabilise, as growth in inside services will offset declines in learning services in Australia.

John Fallon, c.e.o of Pearson, said: “We've completed our intense two-year restructuring and reinvestment programme and performed well competitively despite some challenging market conditions. We enter 2015 better placed to have a bigger impact on student learning through the combination of new technology and best teaching practice. This will enable us to empower more people to progress in their lives through learning and grow our market opportunity."

The company said it will also benefit from the absence of net restructuring charges.

The company expects to report adjusted earnings per share of between 75p and 80p for this year.