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Four former directors of the computer consultancy group PE International Plc have resurfaced behind a new computer services company, Diagonal Plc, Farnham, Surrey. The start-up is pitching at the computer consulting, contracting and permanent recruitment areas and expects to make a stock market debut in three years, with turnover at around UKP10m. Mark Samuels, who resigned as PE International group managing director and managing director of PE Computer Services Ltd last November has been installed as chairman. Samuels reckons the start-up is highly capitalised the directors have already chipped in UKP250,000 with a similar sum expected before the end of the year – and will not need to borrow from banks or sell equity to institutional investors. Diagonal expects a maximum cash outflow of UKP400,000 during the early part of its first financial year. The company has already started building a register of contract staff and intends to have 20 of its own permanent staff in place at its 2,000 square foot purpose built head office by the end of July. Plans are afoot to set up regional offices throughout the UK within the next two years. The company intends to branch out into senior executive search and selection before the end of the year as well as recruiting permanent and contract computing staff for third parties. This year, contracting should account for 50% of turnover, permanent recruitment about 30% and consultancy 20%. The last is expected to show significant growth from then on. Diagonal intends to move into overseas markets – oil-based industries in the Middle East, West Africa and the US – early next year. The PE defectors left the company following a boardroom bust-up over strategy after the company’s takeover of Imbucon Plc (CI no 824). Diagonal’s sales director, Eilidh Drummond was formerly UK sales manager at PE’s computer services arm. Finance director Vic Tuffield held a similar post at PE and Colin Burnside, former director at computer services is now director of operations at Diagonal. Other PE directors are said to have approached Diagonal but Samuels thinks they are unlikely to be taken on: I don’t really want to become a clone of PE, he says.

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