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Mincom CEO Pushed Aside; Shareholders Push for Bos

Mincom CEO Pushed Aside; Shareholders Push for Bos

The CEO of embattled software developer Mincom, Frank Berger, today resigned, The Standard has learnt, but the move may not save the current board, with rebel shareholders announcing a plan to install Wayne Bos as a director.

Frank Berger was hired in February last year on an annual salary of $1 million to turn the software giant's fortunes around. He was asked to resign by the board.

His replacement as acting CEO is Alan McElrea, formerly Mincom's executive vice president of solution services and general manager of Austeq.

The changes are unlikely to assist Deutsche Bank in its task of raising fresh capital for Mincom.

Adding to the drama, a group of Mincom shareholders have called for the resignation of chairman David Graham and the appointment of Melbourne businessman Wayne Bos to Mincom's board.

Mincom founder, long-time CEO and current board member David Merson said he would not be stepping back into the CEO's post. He denied suggestions that Berger's departure was triggered by concerns expressed to the board by Mincom's other senior managers. Merson, who helped hand-pick Berger as his successor last year, said Berger had resigned for personal reasons.

The instability in senior ranks is an embarrassing development for Mincom, which was poised for a global campaign to attract fresh capital from investors.

Berger was scheduled to have been the front man in a multi-country roadshow being organised as part of the fund-raising effort by Deutsche Bank. Merson said the capital-raising push would proceed.

Other sources suggested that difficulties still surround the information memorandum that Deutsche Bank will use to give potential investors a view of the company's position.

Financial entrepreneur Bos, whose attempts to force his way onto Mincom's board helped focus attention on the company's shortcomings, declined to comment on Berger's resignation. "We are down to the vinegar strokes now and it would not be prudent for us to comment."

Bos has been attempting to gain a greater voice in the company's affairs by using his option over 19.9 per cent of its shares.

Other sources speculated that the withdrawal by Berger will pave the way for Bos to play a major role in the company's senior management.

Late today a group of Mincom's Class A shareholders holding about 13 per cent of the company issued a call for an extraordinary general meeting. They are seeking the removal of chairman David Graham and the instalment of Bos as a director. The group includes shareholders other than the those over whose shares Bos holds options.


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