Immediate Independent Inquiry
Governance Changes to Follow Without Delay
I’ve been asked to justify the idea of having an investigation into Nominet’s recent business activity.
My primary focus is on the reported loss of $23.5 million in two and a half years on CyGlass.
The CyGlass loss absolutely endorses the EGM called by Simon Blackler. It confirms the need for the Public Benefit campaign, which I was part of from the start. I would say that it 100% shows the EGM was the right thing to do and that the members made the right choice.
We should not forget how close it was and how hard it was to get the motion over the line. Those who opposed the EGM endorsed, amongst other things, the commercialisation strategy that included buying CyGlass. The then board and senior executives would have known how much that was costing Nominet, yet they fought hard to keep following that path. While making those losses, they kept paying themselves large salaries and performance related bonuses.
A number of those directors and senior executives remain at Nominet. I believe the membership and stakeholders are entitled to transparency about who knew what; and who made which decisions.
I believe there should be appropriate consequences if company officers fell short of the mark expected of people in senior roles. Big salaries and positions of power must relate to responsibility for their actions. The members are entitled to know in far more detail what happened.
Until there is a proper inquiry, we don’t know the truth. That’s why we need it and why we need it immediately.
Consequences do not equate with retribution. They equate to responsibility.
The scale of the CyGlass loss makes me call even more urgently for proper governance at Nominet. Governance changes should be informed by the results of the inquiry. We need to understand properly what happened, then take steps to prevent it from ever happening again.
A company’s constitution ensures that it follows the path set by the members. They should not have to rely on the good graces of the board from time to time. As we have seen, boards can change.
I disagree with the “change takes time” view. We’ve had 18 months since the EGM. We’ve seen the CyGlass $23.5 million loss become clear. It’s time for positive action to protect Nominet.
We need to review what has happened in the recent past, learn the lessons. Move on to a Nominet with a governance structure that is fit for purpose, as we return it to its original objectives. A model that puts the members – who were right at the EGM – back at the centre of a UK registry operating for the Public Benefit.
I am standing for election to the Nominet Board. Please vote for me if you support an immediate independent investigation in CyGlass; followed by urgent governance changes to prevent it happening again.