Former Executives of WANdisco Reject Request to Repay Bonuses
David Richards and Erik Miller, former executives of data software company WANdisco, have firmly rejected the company’s request to repay nearly £650,000 in bonuses following the discovery of a fraud. The bonuses, totaling $832,000 (£647,000), were awarded to Richards and Miller last year. WANdisco’s board believes that the repayment of these bonuses is the right and fair outcome for shareholders and is committed to pursuing it, despite the executives’ resistance.
The annual bonuses increased Richards’ and Miller’s respective pay packages to $1.14 million (£886,100) and $551,000 (£428,300). However, these bonuses have caused anger among shareholders, as the value of their holdings has plummeted since the fraud was uncovered in March. WANdisco’s shares were suspended, and Stephen Kelly, former CEO of Sage Group, was appointed as interim boss to rescue the company. Kelly and his boardroom colleagues secured $30 million (£23.3 million) in new funding to support the company.
It remains unclear whether WANdisco has the legal power to force Richards and Miller to repay the bonuses. The company’s annual report revealed that WANdisco agreed to sponsor Sheffield Wednesday FC for more than $360,000 (£280,000) for the upcoming season. This agreement was made on behalf of EyUp Skills Limited, a company owned by Richards and his wife. The report also stated that an identical sum is payable contingent on certain post-year end outcomes.
WANdisco, based in Sheffield and Silicon Valley, is a data activation platform that uses cloud-based analytics technology to assist corporate clients in decision-making. In early March, the company had a market capitalization of over £890 million and had experienced a fivefold increase in its share price over the past year. However, since the resumption of trading, the company’s value has sharply declined, with shares closing at 83.2p on Wednesday, resulting in a market capitalization of just under £100 million.
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