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WANdisco CFO leaves after just a week


IN A HIGHLY UNUSUAL move, AIM-listed big data firm WANdisco has lost its newly appointed CFO – having reinstated previously ousted CEO David Richards.
Less than a week since his appointment Erik Miller, chief financial officer of WANdisco from 28 September to 6 October, resigned with immediate effect on Wednesday, as Richards was reinstated following his departure last week.

Chairman Paul Walker and non-executive director Ian Duncan have also resigned from the board with immediate effect, saying they did not think Richards was not the “right person to lead the company going forwards”.

Walker and Duncan said in a joint statement to the London Stock Exchange: “As independent non-executive directors, we had not considered David the right person to lead the company going forwards.”

Walker is the former FD and CEO of FTSE 100 accounting software giant Sage.

Backing to reinstate CEO

But Richards received the backing of around 58% of the company’s shareholders to be reappointed as chief executive. There was no formal AGM or EGM to garner support from shareholders for Richards to be reinstated. But neither was there any public pressure from shareholders to oust the CEO last week, either.

Some of the biggest shareholders who supported Richards include Oppenheimer Funds and Ross Shroders. Richards has a 7.5% stake in the business and founder Wetein Aahlad, who also backed the CEO, holds a 7.6% stake.

In early morning trading WANdisco’s share price fell 20%  to 178p per share – from 220p. Following the news last Wednesday that then CEO David Richards was stepping down the share price rose to 221p from 210p.

In the wake of Miller’s departure, responsibility for the company finance function has been divided between financial controller Beverley Jones and COO Jim Campigli, Financial Director was informed. The company has begun its search for a new CFO.

Miller, a seasoned technology senior executive, had over 20 years’ experience of shaping and leading the finance functions of both privately and publicly held high-growth tech companies. He was to be based at the company’s California office in San Ramon.

Paul Harrison, who had served as WANdisco’s CFO since 2013, departed last month for JUST EAT. He had previously been the long-serving finance chief of Sage.

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