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Falanx – and the CEO resignation that was clearly not...

By Tom Winnifrith | Tuesday 14 August 2018

Disclosure: Financial Investigative Media Limited, which is not owned by Tom Winnifrith but by a trust for his dependants, owns shares in companies mentioned in this article. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

I have already covered results from Falanx (FLX) in bearcast but there is one matter than niggles me in the annual report – the “resignation” as a director of CEO  Stuart Bladen. Let me explain…

On 14 November 2017 it was announced that

“CEO Stuart Bladen has resigned from the Board for personal reasons. Mike Read, Non-Executive Chairman will take over as Acting CEO with immediate effect.”

Resigned suggests a voluntary departure. If you walk voluntarily and do not honour your notice period the company does not owe you a cent in compensation. Indeed, legally, you are liable for any additional costs it incurs in covering the post during the notice period.

Yet today’s annual report states that having earned £106,808 plus a £1,011 pension contribution in the seven months and 13 days up to November 13, Bladen was handed an additional £105,000 as a “termination payment”.  That tells me that he was pushed, he left at the instigation of others. At the time I suggested as much.

My point here is that companies should be upfront about these things. The RNS on 14 November 2017 should not have been about sparing the blushes of Bladen but about conveying what was really going on to the owners of the company, i.e. its shareholders. If Bladen really did resign why on earth are the other directors being so cavalier in giving him a golden goodbye when there was no contractual need.  If Bladen was not up to the job, shareholders should have been told something along the lines of “Bladen has left the company with immediate effect and will be entitled to something like a seven month notice period”

Perhaps I am being unfair on Falanx because we see these sort of fudges all the time on the AIM Cesspit. But, in my humble opinion, it is not exactly cricket.

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