- British cloud computing company WANdisco appointed former Blue Prism alum Ijoma Maluza as interim CFO following the resignation of finance chief Erik Miller. Both CEO David Richards and Miller have resigned from the company’s leadership team and board effective immediately, as an ongoing investigation into potential fraud at the company advances, WANdisco announced Monday.
- The executives’ resignations are “are not connected to the findings to date of the independent investigation, which is being undertaken by FRP Advisory,” the data activation company said. However, citing its objective to position the company for long-term growth and future success, it is “in the best interest of all stakeholders if this objective is pursued under new leadership,” it said.
- FRP Advisory — who was tapped to lead the independent investigation in early March — confirmed that “purchase orders giving rise to recognized revenue” of over $14 million for full year 2022 were false and that $115 million in recorded sales bookings for the year were also false, the company said.
Maluza, whose previous CFO roles include serving as finance chief for software company Blue Prism and IT service provider M-KOPA, will take on the interim position effective April 11, WANdisco — which provides technology allowing companies to move data sets to the cloud — said Monday.
WANdisco also appointed Kenneth Lever as executive chairman, once a formal process to find a new CEO is completed. The process is to “commence shortly,” it said. Lever, also an alum of Blue Prism where he served as non-executive director, was appointed interim non-executive chairman for the board as well as chair of the investigative committee on March 22.
Richards co-founded the company in 2005, while Miller, an experienced CFO in the IT and technology industries, joined WANdisco in 2016, according to both executives’ LinkedIn profiles.
Richards remains a “a passionate supporter and significant shareholder of the Company,” he said according to a statement included in the Monday release.
An internal investigation into potential fraud at the company began after WANdisco requested trading of its shares — listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market — be halted on Mar. 9 after disclosing “significant, sophisticated and potentially fraudulent irregularities” related to its purchase orders, related revenue and bookings found after investigations by senior leadership including Miller and Richards as finance chief and CEO, respectively.
The irregularities “give rise to a potential material mis-statement of the company’s financial position,” it said, warning its expected full year 2022 revenue could drop from as much as $24 million to $9 million.
Its request to freeze trading followed only days after the big data company, which has headquarters in both Sheffield, U.K. and in California, announced it was in the early stages of pursuing a U.S. listing, according to a Mar. 6 report by Bloomberg.
The firm made rustlings about a potential U.S. listing after seeing a rise in its stock prices, following announcements of a series of high-value contact wins, according to an early March report by The Financial Times. This included signing its “largest ever” contract with a “top ten global communications company” in September 2022, with a value of $25 million.
According to the Monday investigation update, WANdisco’s fiscal year 2022 revenue as announced in a previous trading update should have been $9.7 million — compared with not less than $24 million, as it detailed in January — while its sales bookings should have been $11.4 million, compared with the $127 million previously detailed.
The $127 million in sales bookings would have represented a record figure for the company, according to the January update, which noted bookings for the year had skyrocketed by 967% compared to the $11.9 million reported for full year 2021.
The internal investigation is “progressing well and has to date primarily focused on the received purchase orders and related revenue and sales bookings as represented by one senior sales employee,” WANdisco said Monday. It will continue to provide updates as the investigation continues to progress.
WANdisco declined to comment beyond the details included in its Monday release.