Former Tory minister joins Visual Technology board

Conservative politician John Maples is the new chairman of the UK software developer.

Visual Technology announced today that former Treasury minister and sitting Conservative politician John Maples has been appointed as chairman. The UK software developer also revealed it is preparing for a stock market flotation within the next 12 months.

The arrival of Mr Maples MP – who is also a former divisional chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi and Newton Fund Management – will bolster the company as it continues its international expansion and development effort in the lead-up to a public listing.

Visual Technology's core product – Retail FOCUS – allows large retailers to simulate and visualise proposed or existing stores and floor plans for a wide range of space planning and merchandising applications.

Leading British retailers including Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, John Lewis Partnership and Wickes already use the space management system, but Visual Technology's new chairman is keen for Visual Technology to increase sales in the US market, where ACNielson has agreed to resell Retail FOCUS.

“The potential in the US after the licensing agreement with ACNielson is substantial and has already delivered systems to major US retailers, including SuperValu and Eckerd,” Mr Maples said in a statement announcing his appointment.

Current shareholders in Visual Technology include NewMedia Investors and Advent Venture Partners.