Former Guvera CEO banned from managing companies

Former Guvera CEO banned from managing companies

Darren Herft, the former CEO of music streaming platform Guvera, has been banned from managing corporations for a period of two years by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Herft's ban follows the failure of four companies within the Guvera group which collapsed in June 2017.

Guvera was founded in 2008 by Claes Loberg, and Herft assisted in raising $180 million over four years as the pair sought to commercialise the service.

The collapse followed a failed attempt to list the music streaming company on the Australian Stock Exchange.

An initial prospectus was lodged with ASIC in May 2016, and a replacement prospectus was lodged in June. The replacement was subsequently rejected by the stock market operator.

Its planned IPO was criticised by prominent Australian tech entrepreneurs, including Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, and the ASX exercised its discretion to knock back the venture.

On 27 June 2016, Guvera Australia and Guv Services, two companies that Herft was a director of, were placed into administration and later entered into liquidation.

Herft's disqualification from managing companies for two years was determined by ASIC to be appropriate for five reasons:

  1. Herft failed to ensure that Guvera Australia met its statutory obligations relating to debts owed to the ATO;
  2. He failed to ensure that Guv Services met its statutory obligations;
  3. He entered into a deal with Guvera's parent that caused the ongoing viability of the Australian arm to suffer significantly;
  4. He did not act in good faith for Guv Services;
  5. He improperly used the Guvera Group structure for his personal gain in circumstances where there were significant conflicts of interest in the operation of the companies within the group.

Herft's disqualification will remain in effect until 18 December 2021.

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