After an extensive international search, EMIS has appointed Andy Thorburn as its new chief executive officer.

The company announced last December that current CEO Chris Spencer would be retiring from the board this year.

Thorburn – who will take up his new role at the start of May – recently returned to the UK after four years working for Digicel, a Caribbean and South Pacific based communications and entertainment provider. He was previously CEO of Digicel Caribbean and Central America and CEO of Digicel Jamaica.

He has also held senior management roles in a number of software businesses, including at INTEC Plc, Chronicle Solutions Ltd and at a number of Benchmark Capital Portfolio companies, including Kalido Inc and Orchestria Ltd. He was also a managing director within BT Group.

Mike O’Leary, chairman of EMIS Group, said: “Andy is a proven and outstanding business leader with an excellent track record in the software and IT sectors.”

O’Leary also paid warm tribute to Spencer: “Chris has given outstanding service to EMIS Group for over 17 years, including as chief executive since 2013, and we wish him a long and healthy retirement.”

One key priority for Thorburn will be to grow the EMIS Patient business, building out the EMIS Patient Platform to enable patients to manage their own health and access multiple clinical services.

Patient is envisaged as a future healthcare marketplace for personalised ‘content, community and clinical expeiences’. EMIS has indicated to financial analysts it plans to grow it into a £50m business.