Seasoned observers of auDA (Australia’s Domain Regulator) are aware of the turmoil that has racked this not for profit organisation over the past 4 years (since the changing of the guard in 2015 / 2016).
For those not in the know, there is a quick synopsis at the base of this article.
Like many people, I had hoped things would improve. There have been some positives – in particular, the creation of a Nominating Committee which will select appropriate candidates for election to the new Board is an excellent improvement. Hope springs eternal!
But In The Interim It Gets Worse
Here are three more recent events (including two major resignations) that need proper explanation – and not “spin”.
- According to this brief announcement on 18th June 2019, the Chair (Chris Leptos) who was brought in to effect all the recent changes suddenly resigned in the middle of the Board Meeting on that same day. Because the Minutes don’t explain why, you have to read between the lines to try and understand. And then also talk to inside sources (it’s a fact of life that leaks happen in disgruntled organisations.)
- According to this more effusive report on 30th July 2019, the auDA Board “reluctantly” accepted the resignation of auDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Cameron Boardman. Inside sources say he actually left a week earlier whilst a “settlement” was hammered out.
- Last week, on 21st August, the auDA Board suddenly backtracked on two important Board decisions. The timing (and implementation) of direct registrations are now in doubt; and the new improved Licensing Rules which had been welcomed by most were repealed. Registrars and registrants alike shook their heads in amazement at this flip-flop.
Questions For The auDA Interim Chair
What issue or issues made Chris Leptos leave the meeting and then resign by email later that day? Did it have anything to do with the CEO Cameron Boardman? Did Mr Leptos receive a payout?
Did Cameron Boardman’s resignation stem from issues arising out of the Chair’s sudden resignation? Was his contract up for renewal? Did he receive a “golden handshake”, and if so, why; and how much?
Why were the decisions on direct registrations and the amended licensing rules announced as if they were a fait accompli?
Putting The Above Into Perspective
Over the weekend, I read a comment on an online forum made by a small businessman who owns a few domains. He’s not political; nor is he a “grumpy”. Just a nice guy who is fed up. This is what he said:
“I’m growing a little bit fed up with how things have gone the last few years.. Reminds me of the Brexit issue.. uncertainty, low confidence & no commitment to a plan!“
Let’s hope auDA and DoCA hear this, because he is not alone in thinking that.
Here’s That Synopsis
Please believe me when I tell you this is a very abbreviated four years!
Boardroom coup ousted an admired Chair; long-standing CEO got the boot; a “mate” then got the job of CEO; two respected Independent Directors got punted; massive staff “retrenchments” followed; some “mates” then appointed; a couple of new non-mate appointments were quickly terminated (including respected Company Secretary); whistle-blower report virtually ignored; transparency and accountability virtually disappeared, Members called a Special General Meeting (Chair fell on his sword before meeting); squillions of dollars spent on consultants, investigations and ex gratia payouts; a load of “playing the man and not the ball” e.g. complaint made to Vic Police over alleged financial wrongdoings of some of previous regime; Boardroom infighting with some Directors resigning; a second SGM where the Corporations Act was ignored by auDA; a Government review announced; a plot to remove all Members by stacking membership with overseas ring-ins succeeded; the long-standing respected Registry operator was replaced etc …
Ned O’Meara – 26th August 2019