Published: 10.19 Europe/London, May 31, 2011
Former Royal Mail chairman Allan Leighton has been appointed as the new chairman of Pace. He will replace Mike McTighe who is stepping down after ten years as a non-executive director, five as chairman.

Leighton, who is also a non-executive director of BSkyB, immediately launched a strategic review of the Saltaire-based company. In recent weeks Pace has both been confirmed as the world’s number one set-top developer issued a profit warning amid concerns over its future direction.

“I’ve watched the Pace business develop with both its ups and bumps for 15 years,” said Leighton. “I’ve always felt there is a ‘great technology company’ in there. My task now with the Management and the Board is to deliver that ‘great technology company’ and the value that goes with it without the bumps.”

Leighton has a lengthy CV, only last week the former Asda CEO and Royal Mail chairman was appointed CEO of the budget clothing store Peacocks. He is also chairman of Entertainment Magpie, the online buyer of pre-owned CDs, DVDs, and games.

His BSkyB contacts may prove invaluable, Pace is not on Sky’s current roster of manufacturers, the satcaster having acquired Sir Alan Sugar’s Amstrad. Pace continues to supply to News Corp’s European affiliates and as a BSkyB non-exec he sits alongside Tom Mockridge News Corp’s chief executive, European television.

The US, for so long a closed shop to set-top manufacturers, has become increasingly important to Pace. There are also significant contracts with Canal Plus in France, Tata Sky in India and Net Servicos in Brazil.