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WANdisco appoints former Sage boss Stephen Kelly as interim CEO

Software firm WANdisco has asked for its shares to be suspended and warned over its future after uncovering “potential fraudulent irregularities” in its reported revenues. (PA Wire)
Software firm WANdisco has asked for its shares to be suspended and warned over its future after uncovering “potential fraudulent irregularities” in its reported revenues. (PA Wire)

Beleaguered tech firm WANdisco has appointed former Sage boss Stephen Kelly as its interim CEO as it prepares to lift its share suspension amid an investigation into potential fraud by an employee.

Kelly previously blasted the board of WANdisco for the firm’s “dramatic demise” after it found a huge hole in its financial statements.

He said: “The ‘best case’ conclusion is this dramatic demise has resulted from poor governance and a woeful control environment. The Board, Chair/CEO, CFO are all conflicted in the crisis.

“Now the Board should be helping an external investigation and NOT leading it internally.”

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Kelly said today: “I am a firm believer in the potential of WANdisco’s technology to become a market leader and, whilst there is much work to be done, I have relished my previous UK listed turnaround roles.”

Kelly was CEO of software firm Sage from 2014 to 2018 before he was abruptly ousted and put on a nine-month gardening leave after the company’s earnings fell short of expectations. He later became chairman of Tech Nation, the technology scale-up consultancy, which was under threat of closure after the government withdrew funding, before an eleventh-hour rescue by lastminute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman in April.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Kelly said of his departure from Sage: “Look -- as a leader, you’re not necessarily going to be popular, but if your conscience says you’re authentic, there’s no point killing people or being dishonest.”

“I would have loved them to hire a rainmaker [to replace me] who was better than me…a rockstar.”

WANdisco shares were suspended in March after the firm uncovered “significant, sophisticated and potentially fraudulent irregularities” which threatened it as a going concern.

The Financial Conduct Authority has since begun an investigation into the company.

Chairman Ken Lever, who was brought in to lead its internal fraud investigation, will now be “focused on lifting the share suspension,” WANdisco said today.