Stricken WANdisco appoints new board chair 

WANdisco, whose shares are still suspended on the AIM exchange two weeks after significant sales reporting issues emerged, has appointed an interim and non-exec board chairman, Kenneth Lever.

Dave Richards, the co-founding CEO and president who was also chairman of the board, has stepped down from this role. The crisis erupted at WANdisco on March 9, when it suspended share trading following the discovery of significant, sophisticated and “potentially fraudulent” irregularities concerning purchase orders, revenue and bookings by one senior sales employee whom it did not name. The company’s financial position was unclear and anticipated fy2022 revenue could be $9 million instead of the expected $24 million, 60 percent lower than expected and a devastating blow. 

A board-level investigation committee by two independent non-exec directors – Peter Lees, senior independent non-executive director, and Karl Monaghan, chairman of the audit committee – was set up and forensic accounting business FRP Advisory hired as an external investigating agency. Investors such as former Sage CEO Stephen Kelly said this was not enough. Board-level changes should be considered, it was argued.

Ken Lever

They have had their wish granted. Lever will join and chair the Investigation Committee supporting the investigation currently being undertaken by FRP Advisory. Lever is an experienced UK company board person. He has held a number of senior executive and non-executive positions within UK-listed firms. He is currently non-executive director at Vertu Motors plc and Rockwood Strategic plc, as well as deputy chairman of Rainier Developments Limited. Lever recently stepped down as non-executive chairman of waste management company Biffa plc and RPS Group plc.

He will provide leadership and direction to the board and oversee WANdisco’s strategic direction and corporate governance.

Kelly welcomed the news:

This interim chair appointment is subject to completion of customary due diligence and WANdisco will make further announcements as appropriate.