Hilary Cropper, who built huge IT company, quits due to cancer

Hilary Cropper
Hilary Cropper

Hilary Cropper of F1

Hilary Cropper, who started FI many years ago, has said that she will retire as Xansa Chairman in September.

FI (now Xansa) was set up to allow mothers who had worked in IT to get back into the workforce doing part time work. This was whilst continuing to look after their young children.

They were pretty much contractors or temps, and the rates weren‘t anywhere near those of contractors. However, it did allow mothers who wanted to spend some of their time looking after young children, to keep their careers going. They could earn some money at the same time.

The rates that they got weren‘t much more than permanent salaries. However, it:-

  • made them competitive, and
  • allowed them to get out of the house,
  • keep working part time and
  • bring some handy cash in.

They were very grateful for the opportunity to be able to do this and bring up young families at the same time.

F1 General Recruitment

FI expanded from there into general recruitment and into software development. They changed their name to Xansa. They are one of the few UK software companies with a value of over £100 million.

In fact last year they had turnover of over half a billion pound and profits of over £50 million. That’s although they dipped a little bit this year.

They bought over Indian software house IIS five years ago.

Xansa committed a bit of faux pas by offering £1,500 for anyone giving them information that a contractor‘s contract was coming up for renewal. That was so that they could try and replace them with an Indian from their Indian company. They later withdrew that offer after protests from contractors.

In recent years they have been building up their Indian software development capability. They have been making great strides with their Business Process Outsourcing capability.

Her Statement to Stock Exchange

Hilary Cropper said in a statement to the Stock Exchange,

‘As we announced in June, it is my intention to step down from the Chairmanship and the Xansa Board following the AGM on September 17, 2003. The primary reason for this is that I have been receiving treatment for cancer for almost two years. Whilst I remain relatively well, the time is right to hand over the reins’.

‘The 18 years during which I have led the Company have been immensely satisfying. This is largely because of the people in Xansa, with whom it has been a joy to work. I am thrilled that the Board want to honour me with the title Honorary President. I will continue to promote and assist the Company in the future’.

However, many a successful IT businesswoman will remember Hilary Cropper as the woman who helped them keep their careers going on a part time basis whilst they were spending most of their time looking after young children.

I‘m sure that they and we all wish her well in her battle against cancer.

PS Hilary Cropper later died from her illness.