Data#3 boss takes swipe at Commander chair

Hits out at 'geek' comments and calls for her to consider her position

A Commander rival has lashed out at the company's chairperson for criticising the role of IT personnel in its business and called for her resignation.

Data#3 managing director and Australian Information Industry Association chairman, John Grant, cited recent news reports which quoted Commander chairperson, Elizabeth Nosworthy, as saying "IT geeks" were climbing all over the integrator's internal systems.

"I view her reference to IT professionals upon whom her entire organisation relies as 'geeks' as extraordinarily out of touch and inappropriate for someone of her standing in the business community," Grant said.

"Further, if that is the best she can offer to an organisation that clearly needs leadership then she should contemplate her position as chairperson. What this industry needs of people in her role is an understanding of and advocacy for the outstanding value that our IT professionals provide to all of our customers, our own organisations and indeed to our nation."

At its annual general meeting last week, Nosworthy apologised for Commander's poor financial performance over the past six months. As previously reported in ARN, the integrator blamed problems with its internal systems, as well as the slower-than-expected rollout of its Commander franchise business, as key issues.

The besieged ASX-listed integrator has also been unable to find a potential suitor to takeover the company and bring down its debts.

Nosworthy said it had been approached by a number of interested third parties but had been unable to agree to any terms. Interested parties are believed to be Optus, SP Telecommunications and AAPT/Telecom New Zealand.

"That process ... did not result in the board reaching an agreement with an external party that adequately dealt with our need for recapitalisation and provide sufficient value to shareholders," she said.

Commander had also received a number of offers to acquire parts of the business, Nosworthy said.

"Because of the integrated nature of our customer offering, it is not clear whether or not such a state could be completed without damage to the broader Commander offering and brand," she said. "However we will, of course, examine all such possibilities mindful of the risks."

Commander's share price and market value have plummeted this year, falling from highs of $2.20 in January to less than $0.25 on November 29. Its shares were trading at $0.33 at the time of going to press.

Despite pointing the finger at Commander's senior management team for its woes, Nosworthy said all would remain on-board in the short term.