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Reed Elsevier CFO Mark Armour Will Step Down Next Year

Mark Armour, the chief financial officer for publisher Reed Elsevier Plc (REL) for the past 15 years, will retire from that position and the board at the end of 2012.

The board has begun a search for Armour’s replacement that will consider internal and external candidates, the London-based company said in a statement today.

As finance chief, Armour helped implement a cost-cutting program that led Reed Elsevier to sell off pieces of its trade publishing unit, including all of its U.S. publishing operations except Variety magazine, as it refocused the business on faster- growing electronic data offerings. Reed Elsevier publishes magazines and information on the medical and scientific professions and the legal and business-to-business industries, and it maintains the LexisNexis database.

“It is right to announce my planned retirement now in order to give the company sufficient time to appoint my successor,” Armour said in a statement. “During my time at Reed Elsevier the company has been transformed from a broad- based traditional print publisher into a leading provider of online professional business information.”

Survived Shake-Up

Armour, 57, stayed on at the company after a management shakeup in 2009 that brought in Chief Executive Officer Erik Engstrom. Engstrom’s predecessor, Ian Smith, had lasted eight months in the job before resigning amid an economic slowdown that crimped revenue from ads and promotions decline.

In the first half of the year, Reed Elsevier reported declining sales on currency swings and divestitures. Earnings, adjusted to exclude acquisitions and other charges, rose to 22.3 pence per share from 21.3 pence a year earlier, a figure that beat analysts’ estimates at the time. Most analysts are advising investors to purchase the stock, with 19 buy ratings from 27 analysts, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Armour owns almost 250,000 shares of Reed Elsevier, according to Bloomberg data, valuing his stake in the company at about 1.23 million pounds ($1.9 million) at yesterday’s closing price. Armour, a Cambridge graduate, is also a board member of brewer SABMiller Plc. (SAB)

Reed Elsevier rose 9.3 pence, or 1.9 percent, to 505.5 pence in London trading at 11:05 a.m. The stock had declined 8.4 percent this year before today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in London at athomson6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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