Nick Martin, the founder and, until last week, CEO of Altium, is fighting back against the board that tossed him out.
But the real question isn’t whether he will regain his spot atop the CAD tool developer. It’s why the board saw fit to relieve him of his duties in the first place.
Some contend privately that at least one board member wants to sell the company but that Martin, who is the company’s largest shareholder, has been reluctant to go along. If so, pushing him out would mean removing, in part, one big barrier. For its part, the board has publicly stated that the decision to leave was Martin’s — something he vehemently contests, and which seems unlikely on its surface — and that the company has not returned the type of shareholder value the board seeks.
So while it’s true the move to Shanghai coincided with an improved bottom line and a higher share price, it’s also true the stock hasn’t topped $1 in years (chart — the top line = $1; the current price is about 80 cents). No one is getting rich owning Altium right now. If the board is getting antsy, it’s understandable. Whether that merits replacing Altium’s answer to Steve Jobs — a design visionary who, according to many we’ve spoken with, has always put the technology first — is for the historians to determine.