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Former WANdisco Executives Asked to Repay £647,000 in Bonuses

By Mark Kleinman, City editor @MarkKleinmanSky

David Richards and Erik Miller, former executives of WANdisco, have been requested by the company’s board to repay ┬ú647,000 in annual bonuses that were granted prior to the discovery of a significant fraud, according to sources cited by Sky News.

WANdisco, the data software group, has written to co-founder and former CEO David Richards, as well as ex-finance chief Erik Miller, asking for the return of a combined total of $832,000 (£647,000) in bonuses awarded last year.

The bonuses, which were disclosed in WANdisco’s recently published annual report, brought the respective pay packages of Mr. Richards and Mr. Miller to $1.14 million (┬ú886,100) and $551,000 (┬ú428,300) respectively.

Shareholders expressed anger towards the bonus awards as they have witnessed the value of their investments plummet following the exposure of a sales and accounting scam in March.

To rescue the company, WANdisco’s shares were immediately suspended, and Stephen Kelly, former CEO of Sage Group, was appointed as the interim boss.

Recently, Stephen Kelly and his board members secured $30 million (£23.3 million) in new funding, and he was officially appointed as the permanent chief last week.

In response to an inquiry from Sky News, a WANdisco spokesman stated, “In line with shareholder sentiment, and as simply the right thing to do, the Board of WANdisco confirms that it has written to former executives of the company requesting that bonuses paid for [the last financial year] are returned.”

It remains unclear if WANdisco possesses any legal means to compel David Richards and Erik Miller to repay the money, although the pressure on Mr. Richards is expected to be substantial.

Moreover, WANdisco’s annual report unveiled that the company agreed to sponsor Sheffield Wednesday FC next season for an amount exceeding $360,000 (┬ú280,000) on behalf of EyUp Skills Limited, a company owned by Mr. Richards and his wife, Jane. Another identical sum is payable contingent on certain post-year end outcomes.

The suspension of WANdisco’s shares occurred shortly after Sky News revealed Mr. Richards’ plans to list the company’s shares in the US, with him serving as the chairman, president, chief executive, and co-founder at the time.

Based in Sheffield and Silicon Valley, WANdisco describes itself as a data activation platform that utilizes cloud-based analytics technology to assist corporate clients in decision-making.

In the early stages of March, the company’s market capitalization exceeded ┬ú890 million, and its shares had risen by over fivefold during the previous year. However, since the resumption of trading, its value has significantly declined, with shares trading at approximately 97.7p on Monday, resulting in a market capitalization of about ┬ú103 million for WANdisco.

At the time of this report, both David Richards and Erik Miller were unavailable for comment.

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