Breaking News – Cameron Boardman

Updated – please scroll to bottom of article

Did auDA’s former CEO Cameron Boardman “mislead” the organisation about his educational qualifications when he originally applied for the job?

This article written by David Swan in today’s Australian is behind a paywall, but here is one quote to give you the sense of the article.

In a letter to Mr Boardman seen by this newspaper, independent chairman Chris Leptos -alleged the then-CEO falsified his academic record by including a master of laws degree (LLM) from La Trobe University“.

I wrote this article on the 28th August 2019 when the ex-Chair Chris Leptos indicated “that there were issues”.

My big questions are:

  • Who were the original directors that recommended he should apply for the CEO position, and then vouched for him?
  • What happened to the recruitment process? Surely for such an important role, there would have (or should have) been rigorous checks? Would these not have verified his claims?
  • When such rumours and allegations were first aired over a year ago, what did the current Board do about it?
  • At the time of his appointment, auDA put out this news release. Apart from the LLM issue that The Australian now raises, it is my belief that at that time Boardman was also not a “Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ course”.
  • If the auDA Board were aware of all these issues, then why did they pay him a year’s salary and give him a trip to Malaysia? This again from The Australian:

Documents seen by The Australian show auDA paid Mr Boardman a full 12 months’ salary and paid for him to attend a conference in Malaysia.


Let this nightmare come to an end.

Update 30th September 2019

  • Outrage is growing amongst a lot of stakeholders, with the focus now on finding out “why” the Board approved this payout; and what steps can be taken to claw this back if there were fraudulent representations made.
  • An initial response to a letter sent by an auDA Associate Member to the current Chair (Suzanne Ewart) received this response:

As you are aware, the Board has already made statements in relation to the resignations of Chris Leptos, the former Chair of auDA and Cameron Boardman, the former CEO.

We will not be issuing any further statements in relation to these matters.

  • Former auDA Executive Paul Szyndler has written an excellent letter to auDA’s recently formed General Advisory Standing Committee (GASC). The text of this can be read in the comments section.

Ned O’Meara – 24th September 2019

39 thoughts on “Breaking News – Cameron Boardman

  • Avatar
    September 24, 2019 at 1:25 pm
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    Ned, who do you think leaked Leptos’s correspondence?

    Jeff

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    • Avatar
      September 24, 2019 at 2:03 pm
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      Your mum

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      • Neddy
        September 24, 2019 at 2:21 pm
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        Nice mature response from “Coby” who also posts under the same IP address as “TJ”. 1.152.109.87

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        • Avatar
          September 24, 2019 at 2:25 pm
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          Just a joke Ned, seriously lighten up everyone

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          • Neddy
            September 24, 2019 at 2:34 pm
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            Sorry, am I talking to Coby or TJ?

            This is not a joke to a lot of us who have lived through the auDA shenanigans, and been subjected to bullying and a lot of crap. All we want is a stable namespace with some decent transparency – and a lot less red tape.

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  • Scott.L
    September 24, 2019 at 2:31 pm
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    Corporate resume fraud – It calls into question the integrity of the entire Board but more importantly it casts a shadow over those long standing directors who have sat / sit on the auDA governance committee, Sandra Hook (Chair) Erhan Karabardak, and Grant Wiltshire.

    Did they initiate an investigation into these allegations, and if so, why didn’t they address it with the Board and the public over 18 months ago, because now it appears they were complicit in this fraud, along with the current directors?

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    • Avatar
      September 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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      Who did deals with the devil? AusRegistry / Nuestar must be squinting an evil eye at auDA now.

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    • Scott.L
      September 24, 2019 at 3:32 pm
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      Did the Minister and the Department of Communications know?

      Interesting to note that on the day of Mr. Leptos resignation the Dept. Board observer went missing. (Curious timing)

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  • Avatar
    September 24, 2019 at 3:27 pm
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    My understanding is that this alleged issue about Boardman has been known for a long time. If the allegations raised in The Australian are true, then every current director should never be considered for another board position.

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  • Avatar
    September 24, 2019 at 4:50 pm
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    Wow. This question of qualifications was asked publicly of the chair at the SGM by a very respected member as I recall. We were told everything was fine. I think there are minutes where two board members vouched for him as well. Surely this raises questions over all decisions he was involved with?

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    • Neddy
      September 24, 2019 at 5:12 pm
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      Lots more still to come on this Jim.

      Just shows that the “grumpies” were quite right to question what was going on at the time. auDA put the might of its paid consultants to work to purposely discredit and silence them. Where is the Lucky General now; and what does he have to say about his former paymaster Boardman?

      “Surely this raises questions over all decisions he was involved with?”

      Absolutely. Everything – and I mean everything – is potentially tainted.

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      • Avatar
        September 24, 2019 at 8:58 pm
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        “Grumpy” reporting for duty.
        Except now I’m furious.

        Who knew who and who got “jobs for mates” are no longer the only matters at play in the public sphere.

        – The auDA Board hired Boardman. His professional qualifications were questionable. The Board did not exercise sufficient due diligence and I don’t believe Section 189 of the Corporations Act (reliance on advice of others) can save them from ultimate responsibility.

        – The auDA Board backed Boardman repeatedly, did not exhaustively investigate circumstances around his hiring and academic claims and displayed their support only months ago when they backed Boardman over Leptos.

        – If today’s news story is correct, awarding Boardman a 12 month payout when he was allowed to resign at the natural end of his contract is grotesque and inappropriate. Someone more familiar with the Corps Act would need to advise on whether this arrangement was subject to legal provisions relating to benefits issued to someone retiring from managerial or executive office.

        As mentioned by Ned, EVERYTHING about the last three years is tainted. All Board decisions, all policy directions, all significant changes (registry contract?!), all hirings and firings.
        The actions and inactions of auDA’s Directors have directly and indirectly caused serious harm to individuals and businesses alike. Reputational and actual damages must be in the millions.

        The mass resignation of the Board is a minimum.
        The appointments by the Nom Com will not be enough to wipe up all the bad blood that has been created.

        Genuine and open investigation and forensic auditing (not the imaginary sort that was used to smear reputations 3 years ago) is essential. If it isn’t forthcoming, perhaps affected parties need to seriously consider seeking remedy through legal alternatives.

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      • Avatar
        September 25, 2019 at 6:30 pm
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        “Just shows that the “grumpies” were quite right to question what was going on” – spot on Ned.

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  • Avatar
    September 24, 2019 at 8:15 pm
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    8:55pm The Board recommenced its deliberations on the CEO Candidate.
    Board members discussed their views on Cameron Boardman and points about his strengths and the future. Both Miguel Wood and Erhan Karabardak advised that
    they knew of Cameron from his days in the Victorian Parliament and attested to his character and professionalism.
    Tony Staley talked about the qualities of the CEO, and in particular what auDA requires of Cameron Boardman.
    Peter Waite outlined the terms of the offer and the contract.
    Stuart Benjamin stressed the importance of a performance bonus being part of the package, to ensure the CEO performed.
    The Board resolve to appoint Cameron Boardman as CEO of auDA, and the Board authorises the Chairman to enter into the contract of employment with Cameron
    Boardman.

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  • Avatar
    September 24, 2019 at 9:44 pm
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    Words can’t explain how many of us feel about what is happening right now. I’m sure the full extent of this explosive news is going to come out over the coming weeks.

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  • Avatar
    September 24, 2019 at 9:50 pm
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    Hmm.
    Checking historical details at auDA to make sure I make accurate claims is always an interesting exercise.

    For example, why is auDA likely committing vast amounts of money to a branding campaign?
    https://www.auda.org.au/assets/Uploads/auDA-Board-minutes-20190617.pdf#page=4

    BWM Dentsu wouldnt come cheap and I am sure WiTH Collective and Campaign Edge arent happy having their shortlisted names mentioned (unredacted) in cached documents.

    https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:kzIWpkeJ9YQJ:https://whois.org.au/assets/Uploads/auDA-Board-Meeting-Minutes-17-June-2019.pdf

    Ditto for Credit Suisse and the other parties (JB Were and EAP) bidding to be auDA’s Investment managers.

    How much money does auDA think it has? This can and HAS been done appropriately on a shoestring before. There are around 20 staff on the payroll now and we were bloated at half that number? Without counting consultants such as Credit Suisse and BWM Dentsu and Laurie Patton etc etc etc.

    The clowns cant even keep their Minutes properly redacted.
    (with details such as a hilarious original 1 October target .au commencement date and a Ventra IP Marketing Fund application)

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    • Avatar
      September 25, 2019 at 4:56 am
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      actually to get rid of auda redaction on the prp minutes it was as simple as copy paste into a text editor

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  • Avatar
    September 25, 2019 at 5:17 am
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    Insert meme with someone grinning in recognition about being right all along.

    Maybe go back and look at my tweet from a year or so ago.

    #crookedcameron

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  • Neddy
    September 25, 2019 at 5:48 am
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    I heard privately from a number of past auDA staff yesterday. These are the people who suffered at the hands of the “new broom”. https://domainer.com.au/auda-what-is-the-human-cost/

    Mixed emotions – joy and elation that finally there was some vindication for what they had been subjected to along the way; and amazement that it took the Board so long to finally act.

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  • Avatar
    September 25, 2019 at 6:12 am
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    Rumour circulating that some current directors have applied to be directors on the new board. Hilarious.

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  • Avatar
    September 25, 2019 at 10:31 am
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    http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s82.html

    CRIMES ACT 1958 – SECT 82
    Obtaining financial advantage by deception

    S. 82(1) amended by Nos 9576 s. 11(1), 49/1991 s. 119(1)
    (Sch. 2 item 40), 48/1997
    s. 60(1)(Sch. 1 item 59).

    (1) A person who by any deception dishonestly obtains for himself or another any financial advantage is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to level 5 imprisonment (10 years maximum).

    (2) For purposes of this section deception has the same meaning as in section 81.

    S. 83 amended by Nos 7184 s. 2, 7705 s. 10, 7876 s. 2(3), 7994 s. 5, 8280 s. 11(1)–(3), substituted by No. 8425 s. 2(1)(b).

    Offence of obtain financial advantage by deception is governed by section 82 of the Crimes Act 1958 (“the Act”). Pursuant to s 82, an accused person commits the offence of obtaining a financial advantage by deception if they:
    – Obtained a financial advantage;
    – Used deceit to obtain the financial advantage; and
    – Obtained the financial advantage dishonestly.2 (Crimes Act 1958 s82. See, e.g., R v Vasic (2005) 11 VR 380).

    This needs to be investigated and if required charges made.

    auDA mismanagement, lies and deception has been ripping off .au Domain Name Consumers for too long.
    _____________________________________________

    Some background which DoCA was aware of and seemingly ignored? Where they pressured by some paid auDA spin doctors, Paid auDA Consultants and Liberal Political people?

    How much did the CEO recruitment company get paid to find Boardman when he was already shortlisted by his mates for the job? Recruiters paid 20% on the CEO salary? WTF?

    https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/cameron_boardman_llm_la_trobe_au?unfold=1

    https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/au_domain_administration_ltd_aud

    https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/auda_ceo_blair_cameron_boardman

    http://www.Grumpier.com.au

    auDA Board https://www.auda.org.au/about-auda/our-org/board/

    https://www.auda.org.au/about-auda/our-org/leadership/

    “auDA and Out: Controversial auDA CEO Gone”
    https://www.domainpulse.com/2019/07/30/auda-out-auda-ceo-gone/
    https://www.domainpulse.com/?s=auda

    Why has auDA Board paid out secret payments and bonuses to staff? Is auDA really a Not For Profit or have they been ripping off .au domain name Consumers for years?

    Where is the Accountability and Transparency DoCA said auDA needed to conform to?
    https://domainer.com.au/learn-from-those-who-have-gone-before/

    auDA Minutes hide the secret payments to auDA staff

    “auDA Money Grubbing makes AFR”
    https://www.dntrade.com.au/threads/auda-money-grubbing-makes-afr.12002/

    Millions of Australian domain name owners ‘ripped off’
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/millions-of-australian-domain-name-owners-ripped-off-20170807-gxqpzs.html

    “Australians Said To Have Been ‘Ripped Off’ On Domain Names Since 2008”
    https://www.channelnews.com.au/australians-said-to-have-been-ripped-off-on-domain-names-since-2008/

    “auDA’s share of .au domain name fees raises eyebrows”
    https://www.afr.com/rear-window/audas-share-of-au-domain-name-fees-raises-eyebrows-20180704-h127ui

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  • Avatar
    September 25, 2019 at 3:51 pm
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    The Communications Minister (HON) Paul Fletcher should not tolerate this disgraceful act of poor corporate governance. Indeed, during a government review which found the Domain Manager was not-fit-for-purpose in Administrating Australian critical infrastructure. As a consequence, the Board of Directors are responsible for this despicable charade and must be held accountable by means of Government / Parliament inquiry.

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  • Avatar
    September 28, 2019 at 6:25 pm
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    Why would he be entitled to a payout in this circumstance?

    If the allegations are true surely that would be grounds for immediate dismissal?

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    • Scott.L
      September 29, 2019 at 12:11 pm
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      Good question snoopy. Furthermore, why was he remunerated with such a high income for a position which he had no previous experience managing an organisation or corporation and possibly no formal education?

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  • Avatar
    September 29, 2019 at 6:48 pm
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    Their thinking has always been:

    You pay me & scratch my back with auDA Funds made from ripping off .au domain name Consumers and I’ll pay you & scratch your back with auDA Funds made from ripping off .au domain name Consumers.

    These scumbags should be investigated and where possible charged.

    Boardman was on a contract due to expire he should not have been paid anything . His mismanagement caused massive losses to many including auDA.

    Boardman threatened me to withdraw my signature via a direct phone call on the Saturday when last SGM was called and he said he would call ( and threaten it seems) every other SGM auDA member who signed… Disgraceful innappropriate bullying from someone who should never have been in the auDA CEO role.

    A full police, Asic, ACCC, ACNC and Government enquiry is needed.

    This is the tip of the Iceberg.

    An auDA Class Action is needed. .au domain name Registrars, Resellers and Consumers are bring ripped off by auDA.

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  • Avatar
    September 29, 2019 at 10:23 pm
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    I believe all sorts of inquiries are warranted, but have chosen to use one of the Board’s own new mechanisms as a first step. I submitted the text below to auDA’s General Advisory Standing Committee (GASC) this evening. It may prove to be howling at the moon, but at least I now have my concerns lodged in writing.

    To the Members of auDA’s General Advisory Standing Committee,

    I am writing to raise an issue that I believe is of great significance to auDA, industry and community stakeholders and the broader Australian Internet community.

    I make this submission based upon concerns I hold regarding the current management and operation of auDA, a position that is shared by many stakeholders with whom I have communicated.

    My concerns specifically relate to the recent departure of auDA’s CEO, Mr Cameron Boardman. I request that the GASC closely investigate, and develop a position on, the financial payments and benefits the auDA Board determined to award Mr Boardman at the conclusion of his employment.

    Recent media reporting (“Internet chief under qualification cloud” – The Australian – 23 Sept 2019) has identified these benefits as a year’s salary and approval for a paid trip to Malaysia. If confirmed, I find the generosity of this arrangement highly unusual. The same news story also reported upon the concerns and investigations of former auDA Board Chair, Mr Chris Leptos, regarding the veracity of Mr Boardman’s claims to an LLM from LaTrobe University. As Mr Boardman departed without resolving these questions, and at the logical end of a 3 year employment period (1 August 2016 – 30 July 2019), it seems even more unusual that he should do so on generous financial terms.

    The lack of clarity regarding both Mr Leptos’ and Mr Boardman’s sudden departures has left auDA suffering a deficit of leadership and guidance. I believe rumours regarding Mr Boardman’s qualifications should have been addressed by the Board to remove any question of possible fraud, impropriety, or financial gain through deception. The GASC may wish to consider whether these unanswered questions, and the Board’s handling of them, warrant further investigation.

    I restate that my primary concern is the actions and decisions of auDA Board Directors that remain with the organisation today, including their respective roles in Mr Boardman’s appointment, their support for him when his qualifications were questioned, and their decision-making processes in awarding Mr Boardman significant benefits upon his “resignation”.

    The quality and trustworthiness of auDA’s remaining leadership must be beyond reproach in this time of transition and I believe Section 4.2(b) of auDA’s revised Constitution clearly empowers the GASC to consider and develop advice based upon submissions such this.

    I would be happy to provide additional information and clarification, or recast my submission, should I have misinterpreted the powers and role of the GASC.

    I thank the Members of the committee in advance for their time in considering my communication.

    Kind Regards,

    Paul Szyndler

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    • Neddy
      September 30, 2019 at 8:26 am
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      Excellent “howl” Paul. I have done an update to original article.

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    • Avatar
      September 30, 2019 at 11:20 am
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      You may want to write to the Nominations Committee.

      As per paragraph 5.3 of the auDA constitution, the Nomination Committee’s role is to:
      (i) identify, scrutinise and approve candidates for appointment or election as a Director pursuant to this rule 5; and
      (ii) receive and consider notices of concern from Associate Members or Governing Members regarding the performance or conduct of Directors.

      Sounds like it is within their remit and they can all get paid to discuss it.
      Let’s see if they are willing to take it seriously.

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      • Neddy
        September 30, 2019 at 11:55 am
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        Good point Nobbie. But I think the existing Board slipped in a little self-protection clause into the new Constitution. 25.2 (b). It seems the NomCom is powerless to act in this manner until at least 6 months from formation.

        (b) Rules 5.1 to 5.9 will not take effect until the earlier of:

        (i) six months after the establishment of the Nomination Committee; or

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        • Avatar
          September 30, 2019 at 2:16 pm
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          Good point Ned, but I am certain they are already aware of these developments and, besides, 19 December is not that far away….

          • Neddy
            September 30, 2019 at 2:22 pm
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            Ah yes Paul, but before then, the brand new Board would have been installed (November 14).

            So NomCom is effectively toothless with regards to this outrageous and egregious conduct.

            This current Board should hang their heads in shame for condoning this payout. In my opinion.

            • Avatar
              September 30, 2019 at 2:56 pm
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              This comment has been edited by Admin.

              https://legalvision.com.au/directors-duty-of-care-and-diligence/

              You could be in breach of your duties as a director if you are:

              not paying enough attention to the company;
              not keeping yourself informed about the company; or
              acting dishonestly.

              Some situations where directors have breached this duty in practice include:

              approving of financial statements without being properly informed;
              failing to monitor the business financials;
              approving the statements issued by the company without checking if they are accurate;
              causing a company to enter into a risky transaction that does not show any prospects of success; and
              failing to inform the board of relevant matters.

              Consequences for Not Acting With Care and Diligence

              A director who has breached their duty to act with care and diligence can face a range of consequences. The consequences will depend on the nature and severity of the act. Possible consequences include:

              civil penalties (fines or orders to pay compensation);
              disqualification as a director;
              personal liability implications;
              negative commercial impact on the business’ reputation; and
              in serious circumstances, criminal sanctions.

              https://aicd.companydirectors.com.au/membership/the-boardroom-report/volume-14-issue-8/lessons-for-directors-from-the-courts

              Under the “stepping stone” approach, directors may find themselves facing personal penalties when their company breaches the law, such as disclosure requirements.

              Directors may not be able to rely on the “business judgment rule” defence in these cases, and could find themselves facing penalties higher than those that might be imposed on the company itself.

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    • Scott.L
      September 30, 2019 at 9:04 pm
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      Hi Paul

      You may have to wait awhile, the Members of auDA’s General Advisory Standing Committee only meet every three months.

      I recently received an email from them about an issue I raised concerning the new licensing rules. The email stated that they don’t engage the public with any issue of public policy presented to them.

      (So It took them months to respond to me about them not having the ability to engage me on the issue)

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      • Avatar
        October 5, 2019 at 8:28 pm
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        Perhaps I was lucky with my timing.
        I received confirmation that my correspondence was received and later confirmation that it would be discussed at the GASC meeting earlier this week.
        I acknowledge that they may not take a position on my letter at the meeting and it will take even longer should something then go up to the Board, but at least due consideration has started.

        Scott – can you clarify the response you received? What do they mean by “dont engage the public on issues of public policy”? To me, that sounds like complete nonsense, given their remit.

    • Avatar
      October 5, 2019 at 8:44 pm
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      We were told the consultation process was done.

      The results were published.

      We were told the new rules would come into effect around October 2019.

      And now they’ve done a backflip, taken ten steps back and are holding public meetings again.

      We’ve been going backwards for 3 years and continue to reverse, with no CEO behind the wheel.

    • Avatar
      October 5, 2019 at 8:56 pm
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      Jim,

      We could debate, postulate and even ask for clarification about context and the inter-relationship between previous meetings and these ones. And I bet we would get nowhere.

      I believe that stakeholders must approach these sessions as though nothing had been held previously.
      If you said something before, say it again.
      Do not assume your voice was heard or ignored.
      I feel that everything is back up in the air again.

      Look at the last consultations – the meetings were poorly promoted and poorly attended. The policy input received from the community was ad hoc and poorly considered. Just like the consultation itself. Garbage in / garbage out.

      I read all 95 pages of the submissions and there is nothing solid there for auDA to hang its hat on.
      A bunch of registrars and resellers cheering the process on and encouraging a rapid conclusion.
      ACMA saying that there are no compliance concerns but there may well be competition issues and conflicts with government policy.
      A political staffer saying “err, thanks for the email”, showing a lack of methodical briefing in Canberra (unlike in the past when we had special interest sessions in Parliament House where interested pollies from all parties gathered for briefing).
      A staffer from a State Minister saying – “thanks, you sent the request to the wrong Minister”

      Honestly – it was scatter-gun and amateur hour.

      So they are trying a little harder this time with more warning and background briefing.

      But I still have concerns.
      1. Syd-Mel-Can is woefully inadequate public consultation. I could get 30 interested people together here in Wagga!
      2. That auDA is NOT webcasting the F2F sessions (they should – just for remote members to observe, not participate) and
      3. auDA is holding the webinar the same day as the Melbourne briefing (they should be on different days)

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