Advent Software President Peter Hess (left), who was credited by CEO and company founder Stephanie DiMarco with leading the company’s decision to acquire Black Diamond Performance Reporting last year, will succeed DiMarco as chief executive when she steps down effective June 30.
The company announced its succession plan yesterday in a statement that was suffused with warm regards among Hess, DiMarco, and board Chairman John Scully. DiMarco will remain with the company as a director and transition to an advisory role to senior management.
It will be the second time that DiMarco, 54, has departed from her role as top manager of Advent since she formed the company in 1983. She left the CEO post in 1999, four years after its IPO, but returned in 2003 after Advent struggled with profitability. DiMarco made Registered Rep.’s “10 to Watch” list last year.
DiMarco (below right) said the transition has been in the works for several years. Hess, 41, has been at Advent for 17 years, the last three as president. “He’s really ready to take the next step, and I’m ready to move out of a heavy operational role and into more of an advisory role,” she told me this afternoon. “The first of the year is a good time to kick that off.”
In addition to the Black Diamond deal, she credited him with advancing Advent’s Geneva platform in the alternative investment industry. Hess has held key roles across many business segments, including global accounts and marketing. While running the asset management group, he led it to record revenues, the company statement said. Hess was named president in December 2008.
“Advent’s board has tremendous confidence in Pete and believes that he is the right leader for the company in its next era of growth,” Scully said in the statement.
Hess told me this afternoon that he doesn’t expect “a major shift in strategies” once he assumes the top role in June. Advent has plans to expand its international business, broaden the deployment of cloud-based advisor services, and release a new version this quarter of Black Diamond’s rebalancing program. More acquisitions will be in the works, Hess said, adding, “We’re not out seeking acquisitions for acquisitions’ sake. We’re more focused on how do we deliver the most value to our clients.”
The $73 million purchase of Black Diamond gave Advent a bigger share of the web-based software market for financial advisors. DiMarco said Advent expects “strong” fourth-quarter 2011 bookings growth, year over year. Financial results for the quarter and full year will be reported on Feb. 6. In October, the company estimated fiscal 2011 revenue of $324 million to $326 million, up from $284 million in 2010.