Just a week after abruptly exiting as chief exec, David Richards is back in charge at WANdisco.
Rejoining the company that he helped to co-found, Richards seemingly ended his 11 year tenure at WANdisco last Thursday, 29th September. However, in a dramatic turnaround, Richards leveraged the power of the company’s investors to make a return to the company.
Last Thursday’s announcement that Richards was to leave the company came as a shock to many, with the exit seen as abrupt and unexplained. No reason was given for Richard’s departure by the loss making British company, with the departing CEO saying in a statement:
“The business is now at an appropriate juncture, place and scale for a new person to take on the chief executive role and drive the company to its next level of achievement.”
“I wish all of the WANdisco team well as they push forward with the exciting opportunity ahead.”
Rumours of Richards having been forced out of the company circulated following news of his departure. According to the Telegraph, Richards said that he was ‘ambushed’ by Chairman Paul Walker at a London hotel and ordered to quit the company. The Telegraph cited Richards as saying:
“I was ambushed at the hotel at 9 o clock without any sleep, it was the stuff of cloak and dagger and spy novels. I was presented with a fait accompli and forced to resign.” When asked why he agreed to quit, the CEO was reported to have said “that when you have a gun pointed to your head and you’re told to sign… it was a case of damage limitation.
“I could have gone native and done all kinds of things, but I own 7.6pc of this f***ing thing, I don’t want to see it drain into the ocean. You never see a situation like this, it’s a David and Goliath story.”
After gathering the support of top shareholders, among them Schroeders and Oppenheimer, Richards secured his return to WANdisco. Chairman Ian Walker, CFO Erik Mand and independent director Ian Duncan resigned from the company.
Shares in the company fell 21.2% following news of Richard’s return, having climbed last week following his departure.