$6 million – CyGlass Purchase Price in February 2020
$1 – Cost to CyGlass management of MBO July 2022
$23.5 million – Estimated Total Loss to Nominet in 2 ½ years
CyGlass marks the low water mark of the former Nominet board’s disastrous escapades into the commercial sector. Costing $6 million in February 2020, it was trumpeted as being the flagship of their ambitions in cybersecurity.
Not much more than a year later, much of the board were ousted by a fed up membership at an Extraordinary General Meeting, which also rejected the loss making commercialisation policy.
CyGlass was sold this month to its management for $1 in what looks like a “Pre Pack” MBO; apparently giving the CyGlass management the company free of any debts to Nominet or other parties. Nominet now calculates that the total cost of ownership could be around $23.5 million in only 2 ½ years ownership. That is a staggering and scandalous amount of money for a not for profit company like Nominet to lose, particularly when it is part of the critical national infrastructure.
It equates to giving around a £1 price reduction on all .uk domains issued or renewed during that time period, with money left to spare. It is an appalling disgrace.
In a remarkably tone deaf post, former Nominet CEO Russell Haworth applauded this catastrophic loss for his former company by saying “Well done to the CyGlass team.”
Independent Investigation Urgently Needed
As a candidate in this year’s Nominet Board Election, if elected I will make it my number one priority to undertake an independent review into the Haworth era at Nominet, in particular into the CyGlass debacle. Members and stakeholders are entitled to know how so much money was wasted. They need to know in detail how these mistakes were made and so be able to put governance changes in place to stop them happening in the future.
Words and rug sweeping are not enough. There needs to be proper accountability and transparency; followed by action to ensure that positive governance change continues and cannot be reversed. That task should be undertaken by independent experts, managed by non-executive directors who have no connection with the Haworth era.