Resignation letter from Angus Hanton, Nominet director, 12 November 2008
Dear Board and Co. Secretary,
I am resigning my position as a non-executive Nominet director with immediate effect. As you know I have been unhappy for some time about how the company is being run – I have had to take legal advice on at least eight separate occasions over the last few months and on each one of them I was advised that what the company was doing was wrong. Furthermore the chairman has refused to pay the costs of non-executive directors getting independent legal advice which runs contrary to good corporate governance, as does too much else at Nominet. The problems clearly lie not with the corporate structure, as David Hendon of BERR has suggested, but with the way the company is actually being run.
Personally I do not believe Bob Gilbert and Lesley Cowley are the right people to lead Nominet at this point and I agree that their positions should be put to an immediate member vote.
I have been shocked by the board’s attitude on executive pay and senior staff disciplinary issues – both in substance and in procedure. I have also been concerned about unanswered questions relating to the last AGM and board elections. However, directors have collective responsibility for the actions and decisions of the board and I can no longer share responsibility for what is being done in the company’s name.
The company is meant to be controlled by, and answerable to, its membership as well as having duties to the wider community. My firm impression is that some other directors would like to eliminate the membership’s control of the organisation and are not committed to the company’s not-for-profit objectives.
On a more positive note, I am very pleased about the setting up of the Nominet Foundation and I am sure it will be a great success. I have also been privileged over the last 18 months to work with the Nominet staff who are a dedicated, friendly and efficient group of people – I wish them all the very best in their work.