Two former executives of WANdisco, the data software group whose value has collapsed after the exposure of an apparent fraud, have snubbed the company’s request to hand back nearly £650,000 in bonuses.
Sky News understands that David Richards, the company’s co-founder and former CEO, and former finance chief Erik Miller are resisting a request from WANdisco’s board to repay the $832,000 (£647,000) they were awarded for last year.
Neither man could be reached for comment on Wednesday, although a spokesman for the company said: “Whilst the former executives have so far robustly rejected our request for repayment, the board firmly believes this should be the right and fair outcome for shareholders and remains committed to pursuing it.”
The annual bonuses took the respective pay packages of Mr Richards and Mr Miller to $1.14m (£886,100) and $551,000 (£428,300) respectively.
The bonuses have sparked anger among shareholders who have seen the value of their holdings plunge since the discovery of a sales and accounting scam in March.
WANdisco’s shares were suspended and the board parachuted in Stephen Kelly, the former chief executive of Sage Group, as its interim boss.
Earlier this month, Mr Kelly and his boardroom colleagues secured $30m (£23.3m) in new funding to rescue the company, with the interim chief’s appointment since made permanent.
It is unclear whether WANdisco has any legal powers to force Mr Richards and Mr Miller to repay the money.
The company’s annual report revealed in a section on related party transactions that during the course of last year, WANdisco agreed to pay more than $360,000 (£280,000) to sponsor Sheffield Wednesday FC next season.
The agreement was struck on behalf of EyUp Skills Limited, a company owned by Mr Richards and his wife, Jane.
A further identical sum is payable “contingent on certain post-year end outcomes”, the annual report said.
The suspension of WANdisco’s shares came just days after Sky News had revealed that Mr Richards was working with bankers on plans to list its shares in the US.
Mr Richards, then the company’s chairman, president, chief executive and co-founder, had first talked publicly about the possibility of its shares trading on an American exchange in 2017.
Based in Sheffield and Silicon Valley, WANdisco describes itself as a data activation platform which uses cloud-based analytics technology to aid corporate clients’ decision-making.
In early March, the company had a market capitalisation of more than £890m and had seen its shares rise more than fivefold over the last year.
Since the resumption of trading in its stock, its value has fallen sharply.
On Wednesday, the shares closed at 83.2p, giving WANdisco a market capitalisation of just under £100m.
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