Software firm WANdisco secures major contracts after boardroom upheaval

David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco
David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco
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THE software firm WANdisco has secured two major contracts, after a turbulent period which saw its co-founder David Richards re-appointed as chief executive, just a week after the board announced he was stepping down.

The Yorkshire Post understands that Mr Richards was initially ousted by Sheffield-based WANdisco’s board in late September, but was later contacted by shareholders who wanted him to stay on.

Mr Richards was re-instated as CEO last week. Erik Miller, who had been appointed as finance director by Mr Richards, quit on Thursday having only been in the job for a week. However, he was re-instated today.

Mr Richards said: “It was something that I thought was worth fighting for. I love the company and I love the people.

He added; “People are absolutely critical to the business..A huge change like this I felt would have jeopardised the company.”On the same day - October 6 - that Mr Richards was re-instated, WANdisco announced that Paul Walker, the company’s chairman, and Ian Duncan, non-executive director, had stepped down from the board with immediate effect.

In a statement, Mr Walker and Mr Duncan, said: “As independent non-executive directors, we had not considered David the right person to lead the company going forwards. Since the announcement of September 29 2016 regarding David Richards stepping down from the board, we have been informed that approximately 58 per cent of the company’s shareholders support David’s reinstatement as CEO.

“Accordingly, we have decided to resign from the board with immediate effect.”

Both Mr Walker and Mr Duncan said WANdisco had a “unique product portfolio” and they wished the company all the best for the future.

Mr Richards said he was delighted to return to WANdisco, the company he co-founded in 2005.

Today, WANdisco announced it had secured a significant new Big Data contract through a large Oracle reseller.

WANdisco is at the leading edge of Big Data technology - data that is so large and complex it cannot be processed using traditional desktop computers.

Big Data is used by internet giants such as Yahoo, Netflix, Amazon and eBay to keep their operations going.

WANdisco said that the end customer is a leading US financial services institution. This contract, secured in conjunction with WANdisco’s partnership with Oracle, is the largest so far for WANdisco’s Fusion Big Data product and is valued at $1.5 million. the company said,

WANdisco also secured its largest deal in two years for its Subversion MultiSite Plus ALM (application lifecycle management) software with a major global bank headquartered in Europe. The value of the deal is $775,000, the company added.

In a statement, Mr Richards said: “We’re delighted to have secured two important contracts both in terms of size and market opportunity that help us towards our targets for this financial year and beyond.

“The Big Data contract win is testament to the progress our product is now having across the market.

“The end customer is one of Oracle’s largest BDA customers and joins a growing list of companies using WANdisco Fusion with Oracle BDA for critical analytics applications that require continuous availability across multiple locations.

“Our new business pipeline for cloud solutions continues to grow. We remain focused on delivering our objectives of growing revenues, controlling our cost base, becoming cash flow break-even and taking the market opportunity that is open to us.”

The Board of WANdisco has announced that William Dollens has been appointed to the board as non-executive director.

Mr Dollens is currently managing member at Global Frontier Investments, LLC, a US-based investment manager, and portfolio manager for Global Frontier Partners, LP, a shareholder in WANdisco. Before founding Global Frontier Investments, Mr Dollens worked for Ayer Capital Management, BA Venture Partners and Deutsche Bank. Mr Dollens also holds a Masters in Business Administration with majors in analytical finance, management & strategy, and accounting from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.