NORTH-EAST software firm Sage Group has announced that Stephen Kelly will succeed Guy Berruyer as group chief executive from November 5.

Mr Berruyer will retire as a director and chief executive. He will, however, remain available to support his successor until the end of March 2015.

Donald Brydon, Sage chairman, said: “I am delighted that the Board has been able to attract Stephen Kelly to join Sage as our new Chief Executive to succeed Guy when he retires as previously announced. Stephen brings exceptional leadership skills combined with a passion for customers and a track record of driving profitable growth. His experience in Europe and the USA in leading successful listed software companies and effective global teams will serve Sage well. He will join a strong executive team and will play the key role in driving forward our strategy and realising our growth ambitions, building on the well-founded platform established by Guy."

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Mr Kelly, will receive a basic annual salary of £790,000, said: “This is a great time to be joining Sage. Sage is an excellent business with a proven business model and a strong track record of creating value for shareholders. Sage is perfectly placed to help SMEs fully capture the benefits of cloud, social, and mobile technologies. I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead Sage and grateful to work with Guy in an orderly and smooth transition from November.”

In addition to his basic salary, Mr Kelly will participate in the company's annual bonus and performance share plan. He will also receive a one-off award of £987,500, with a six year vesting period linked to company share performance.

Newcastle-based Sage employs about 1,000 people in the North-East.