LINGO24, the digital translation specialist, has unveiled a major shake-up to its senior leadership team while returning to the black with underlying profits of £1 million for the first time.

The Edinburgh-based firm, whose clients include Edrington, Groupon, Virgin and WPP Group, has appointed Andrew Campbell as its new chief executive. Mr Campbell, who until now was the firm’s global managing director, succeeds founder Christian Arno, who has become president. Paul Gregory, the former chief executive of energy research consultant Wood Mackenzie and an investor in Lingo24, remains chairman.

Mr Arno said the change formalises a structure which has effectively been in place for some time, with Mr Campbell having been responsible for day-to-day operations for the last six years. He described Mr Campbell as an “extremely professional manager and a safe pair of hands, who is the right type of leader to take us [forward].” He told The Herald: “My strengths are more around getting things started, creativity, engaging with people, and I think once this strategy is well-established it will require a different set of [skills], someone who is more used to bigger companies and management”.

READ MORE: Lingo24 eyes best-ever profit after spike in sales

Mr Arno remains the majority shareholder in the business, holding just over half of the shares. Asked whether he now looking towards an exit, he said it was “too early to call that”. He added: “We have done well over the last few years with investment. [We have] had ups and downs and we are certainly looking at what the next stage may be. It is not impossible, but time will tell.”

While he remains a full-time employee, Mr Arno now has time to take one some external work. He sits on the digital board of Opportunity North East, which aims to encourage the development of digital businesses in the north-east of Scotland.

Lingo24, which has offices in Panama, Romania, London and the Philippines, uses artificial intelligence to allow companies to present content such as product catalogues and market their services in different languages.

READ MORE: Dutch talking right language for Edinburgh firm Lingo24

The company reported a 21 per cent rise in turnover to £10.7m in 2018, which Mr Campbell said reflected a decision by many of its clients to “expand their work with us significantly”. It reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation had exceeded £1m for the first time, after making a loss of £93,718 last time.

Mr Arno said the business, which employs 170 staff, was pleased to be “hitting the numbers... but can do better” and highlighted the benefit of developing close working relationships with clients.

He added: “In the very big companies, that can uncover whole new areas, in new departments or new product lines or new countries, and they can end up growing out.

“It makes companies start to see that it makes a lot less sense to manage translation technology and services, almost any aspect of translation technology and services, themselves. It helps us to add more value, and causes them to invest more in our services.”

Asked whether Brexit would have any implications for Lingo24, Mr Arno said its staff in Edinburgh who come originally from other EU nations had expressed concern over their status. But he said those fears look to have been assuaged.

The company earns around 20% of its revenue from the UK market, with more than 40 per cent from North America.

Mr Arno added: “In terms of customers, we haven’t seen anything that gives us cause for concern. We are not in a regulated industry. We have got offices around the world. We are not too apprehensive.”

Mr Campbell, who pinpointed the firm’s work

on The Macallan’s global advertising campaign as a highlight of last year, said: “2018 saw many of our customers choosing to expand their work with us significantly. I’m particularly proud that this vote of confidence from the customers who know us best underpinned our positive financial results. This demonstrates the value we bring to global businesses looking to translate at scale.

“It’s been inspiring to see the global impact that many of our clients are having with our support.”