Bailing out before a bail out

It is normal practice in any private sector company for the executive to have shares either in that company or, is a subsidiary of some larger organisation, in the parent company. For companies traded on a stock market it is often mandatory for the directors to own shares in their company. That way it ensures that their own well-being is most likely to be guaranteed by them ensuring the well-being of their fellow shareholders. A director without shares in their company — according to the accepted logic — is more likely to perform acts of reckless self-interest that damages the company that employs them.

So when Mr John Richard ‘Rikki’ Hunt claims he is going to ‘gift’ his 30% stake in his failing wifi company Digital City (UK) Ltd to Swindon Borough Council, should that be seen as an act of generosity? No. Given that the company has been unable to keep up its loan repayments to the council, and that it has failed almost every target it has set itself, its debatable whether those shares are worth anything anyway. And now Mr Hunt wishes to remain chief executive of the company he’s lead to failure, yet without the financial incentive almost every other company deems essential to ensure a chief executive does their best for the shareholders. That would seem to be a recipe for financial disaster, though Mr Hunt seems to already have achieved that in a fairly comprehensive manner.

Mr Hunt claims that his company was damaged by public criticism.

There has been a lot of effect on the business with the public noise and debates that have gone on… the kind that is politically damaging to us and the aggression towards the project.

Is political discussion really a surprise when he went looking for funding from politicians? And lets be clear, there has been no ‘aggression’ towards ‘the project’, only to the secretive way in which the decision was made to pour the money of Swindon taxpayers into a company that on the evidence available to those taxpayers at the time had no track record in its industry, no credible plans, and no understanding of the market it was entering. The criticisms remain valid, and the taxpayers of Swindon are currently £½M poorer as a result.

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