GetSwift announces board shakeup to 'address governance'

GetSwift announces board shakeup to 'address governance'

Embattled logistics software company GetSwift (ASX: GSW) has announced a board shakeup with executive chairman Bane Hunter to take over as CEO from Joel McDonald and the appointment of two new board members as it "develops its governance practices as it grows".

Michael Fricklas and David Ryan will be independent non-executive directors and Fricklas will take over as the board's new chairman, as Hunter steps down from that position to take up the CEO role. McDonald has immediately stepped aside as CEO but will stay on as president of the company.

GetSwift, which is run by Hunter (pictured left) and former AFL player and entrepreneur Joel McDonald (right), is facing up to three separate class action law suits over allegations it has engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct relating to continuous disclosure breaches to the market.

The company confirmed in February it has received notice from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) that it is "under investigation" as the company revealed a blowout in losses of nearly 1,000 per cent.

In its half yearly update released to the market shortly after the ASIC investigation was announced, the company revealed its net loss after tax had blown out by 964 per cent to $5.5 million from $516,000 in the prior corresponding period.

Law firm Squire Patton Boggs applied to commence the class action against GetSwift in the Federal Court, while litigation funder Vannin Capital together with law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth along with MC Lawyers have said they are also investigating the possibility of launching a class action.

Squire Patton Boggs has alleged GetSwift breached its obligations to the market in announcing deals with The Fruitbox Company, the Commonwealth Bank and Fantastic Furniture, with those deals subsequently either cancelled or subject to ongoing review.

Ahead of the ASIC investigation and the class action being lodged, GetSwift spent nearly a month in a trading halt as it worked through its disclosure issues with the ASX.

The company says it has been working with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to review its compliance procedures.

"Our new directors have extensive governance, operational and M&A experience with leading global public companies and have served with distinction," Hunter says of Fricklas and Ryan.

"We feel that not only is the experience right, but the chemistry is right, to assist us with both our growth and our implementation of the more sophisticated governance practices of larger companies," he said.

Fricklas is the chief legal officer of Advance Publications, a diversified privately-held company which employs more than 14,000 people in 12 countries.

Ryan previously held senior executive management positions in finance and investment banking, including Transurban Group where he served as chairman.

In December, GSW shares were trading at $4.30 and at the opening on Thursday they were $0.40.

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