Isentia boss Croll insists he won’t resign over King Content acquisition as share price plummets

Isentia CEO John Croll has insisted he is still the right man to lead the company despite this morning’s share price collapse which saw the value of the business fall by 40% in a matter of minutes.

The fall on the ASX came after Croll revealed the media monitoring company is winding up its troubled content marketing division and is facing a profit drop of up to 23% for the financial year.

Croll was asked about his position as CEO during a hastily arranged investor conference call this morning.

Many of Isentia’s woes are as a result of its purchase of content marketing agency King Content for a headline price of $48m. Isentia, which had already written off the investment, today said that it would be exiting the content marketing business altogether.


“I’m one of the key guys in the industry,” Isentia CEO John Croll

But Croll insisted: “I’ve been the CEO since 1999 and I grew this business to be pretty much the leading media intelligence business on a global scale. Pretty much the business that everyone came to have a look at to see what is the strategy and where we are moving forward.”

He added: “Definitely the execution on King Content was a mistake but as we focus on the core media intelligence business, I’m one of the key guys in the industry who people look at and say ‘he’s a leader and understands where the business goes’.”

Under Croll’s guidance, Isentia floated on the ASX in 2014 at a share price of $2.36. It peaked at $4.93 in late 2015, which meant it was closing in on a market capitalisation of $1bn.

But today it fell to its historic low of $1.10, valuing it only just over $200m.

Today’s share price fall | Source: Google Finance

While Isentia showed strong growth up until 2016, the last two years have seen the company struggle as its core Australia and New Zealand market has been flat, the losses from King Content have mounted and the restructuring of licensing agreements has added to the company’s cost base.

CFO Nimesh Shah resigned in March as it began to emerge that King Content was hitting trouble.

Isentia’s share price since floating on the ASX | Source: Google Finance

Croll said: “From a strategy and where media intelligence is going, I’m still the right CEO for the business. That’s part of the strength of bringing guys like Jim (new CFO James Orlando) in, and the rest of the team to get this business to the next level. I made mistakes, but I’m not a guy who runs away from anything either.

“I think I’m the right guy to lead a media intelligence business and I’ve got a track record on that and I’ll make sure the team around me is the right team to improve, focus on what we’re doing and then get the financial results.”

“The organisation has gone through a tough period,” Croll said when asked by Mumbrella what mistakes he’d made as CEO.

“We’re in the situation of closing a business we thought was a strong strategic move. If we’d done a good job on the execution, we wouldn’t be doing that,” he said.

Croll maintained that with the shutting down of the content arm, management was now “free of distractions” and could focus on its “core business.”

When asked by Mumbrella if Asia was part of the core business, Croll emphasised the region is critical to the company’s growth beyond Australia.

“Asia is a core part of our business, every product we invest in now is ready for the Asian marketplace as well. Our communications directors in the region see very much about bringing all the Asia-Pacific onto one platform so Asia is very much part of the Isentia story.”


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