back to article Desperate Nominet chairman claims member vote to fire him would spark British government intervention

In what looks like a desperate last-minute attempt to keep his job, Mark Wood, the chairman of .uk internet registry operator Nominet, has claimed that a vote to fire him would cause the British government to intervene. “We have been warned that instability will be of serious concern to government,” Wood wrote on Monday. “We …

  1. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
    FAIL

    Citation needed

    “We have been warned that instability will be of serious concern to government. We know it would create a scenario which would make intervention more likely,” Wood wrote.

    Really? Do show everyone the actual warning. Oh, what's that? It was a verbal comment only?

    </sarcasm>

    1. Lon24

      Re: Citation needed

      While I think the dismissal/appointments behind the EGM are probably in Nomnet's and the uk internet industry's best interest - a change to a formal quango would be better than staying with the current leadership.

      And if the EGM resolution doesn't go through because of block voting by outside interests - then the government may be said to have a duty to intervene in the national interest to what will be a broken organisation. Broken by those who run it.

      Be careful of what you warn about Messrs Wood & Haworth. It may come back to haunt you.

      A Nominet Member.

      1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

        Re: Citation needed

        The stars will fall from the sky and the oceans of the world will boil. I was told by a GIF of a burning bush. Or some such bollocks.

        Once unemployed I'm sure they'll do well setting up the church of the dot come

        1. HildyJ Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Citation needed

          Don't know or care if it's a smoking gun or a Mcguffin. I just want them to get to the last act. My popcorn is getting stale.

    2. Lucien Taylor

      Re: Citation needed

      Agree. That “warning” from HMG needs to be transparent and truthful, we haven’t heard anything like that in our circles

    3. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Citation needed

      I think that warning was from the same people who keep ringing me with an autodialer telling me HMRC are about to arrest me.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      a bit derivative, dont you think?

      Nominet management must be wishing they could suggest that not allowing them to continue raping the not4profit would result in revocation of a royal charter, like IchemE.

      Must try harder! don't see me after

  2. Steve 53

    I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be, assuming they wanted to run it as a simple non-profit registry...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

      Think Hancock. Think Harding. There's always room for bigger! bolder! more disastrous! failures. Kittens will be harmed. Children left unattended at bus stops. Milk will go sour and Scotland will rebuild that Hadrian Wall. You wouldn't want any of that, would you?!

      1. Steve 53

        Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

        Such key national "assets" aren't for use on small things like Nominet, we need them on key national projects to make sure their "skills and wisdom" can affect the great british people on a national level

        1. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

          Surely a job for the PM's personal 'tech advisor'? Step forward Jennifer Arcrui whose CV, never let us forget, contains those essential tech skills of being 'fluent in Final Cut Pro and Adobe Photoshop'.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

            Am I the only one who mentally translated that Sordid Fling Pro and Adobe Blowjobshop?

            1. idiot taxpayer here again
              WTF?

              Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

              @ a/c

              Yes

          2. idiot taxpayer here again

            Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

            @ Mike Richards.

            I own my own business and would not employ anyone who was less than fluent with Final Cut and photoshop

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

        Now that really would be a threat - if he gets pushed out Harding might be put in to replace him.

        1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

          Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

          Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

          Do you want nominet to be hacked.

      3. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

        I believe that Chris Grayling may be available, and he is as qualified to run Nominet as he was for any of his other jobs.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

        FWIW, GNER was taken out of private hands because they were not making (enough?) profit and "nationalised". Said government operated rail service went on to make healthy profits while in the process of pushing it back into private hands. Virgin took it over and went on to fail in the same way. GNER is now back in public hands and making record profits again.

        Sometimes, public ownership works better than private. Maybe this is just the exception that proves the rule.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

          Not true, GNER lost the franchise to railcoach or national express (I forget which) as they promised the government bucket loads of money which GNER knew could not be achieved. GNER had its hands tied behind its back too as they were not allowed extra trains on the east coast mainline.

          It was hard work for the head office team to try and drag the denationalised service out of the dark ages and the unions didn't help either such as blocking bag searches to prevent.

          They were doing quite well until the franchise were lost, making great strides to pull the service out of the Victorian age

          The Chairman used to do a train clean when ever he was on a service, all GNER staff were on call when on a train (such as head office staff).

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

            GNER was owned by Sea Containers (them of the fancy Sea Containers building on the Thames in London), who found themselves in a pickle financially in 2006 and, when they went into Chapter 11 in the US, found they would be unable to pay the so-called premiums that the Treasury (via the DfT) demanded for their second franchise. So the DfT stripped them of the franchise but kept them on as caretakers until they could go through the bidding process for a new company. National Express won that one (as NX East Coast), but they also saw their arses a couple of years later, having over-promised on the cashola and under-delivered.

            So they were also given the boot, a company owned by the government called Direct Operated Railways took over as 'East Coast' until 2015 when it was time to re-run the franchise process, Stagecoach and Virgin won and ran that one (as 'Virgin East Coast') until there was more fuss about money (this time about pension liabilities) and the government booted them off (and banned Stagecoach from any future bids). Now LNER (another government company) runs it.

            Do note though, that as much as GNER, LNER, Virgin, NXEC, etc all were a mish-mash of private and public, the vast majority of the staff never changed, only some senior management (and the branding) did. GNER was great, they did massive renovations on the so-called 'Mallards' (the diesel and the electrical trains with the most modern coaches built in the UK before the 90's), and they generally had excellent service. NXEC ruined that spectacularly with the godawful cost cutting measures and Virgin EC had a hard job trying to reverse the bad rep NXEC had given the East Coast services. Had it not been for the government sneakily offloading its pension liabilities to Stagecoach and Virgin, they'd still be running it.

        2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

          There's a difference between owned by the government and run by the government. God save us from politicians running things.

      5. gerdesj Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

        Hadrian's wall was built for SPQR. The locals contractors used were on a rather minimum wage. Scotland didn't exist then, nor did England.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

          this does not mean Scots will not want to rebuild it.. After all, brexit means brexit for them too.

          1. Vincent Ballard
            FAIL

            Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

            Why would Scots care about a wall in Northumberland?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

              Urm, because they're not at war with Berwick upon Tweed, just Westminster?

            2. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

              So that they can reunite 'North' Caledonia with 'South' Caledonia (and rebrand)...

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

                The historic boundary of the Kingdom of Northumbria takes in Edinburgh. So which year are we going to pick for historic borders?

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

                  Year?

                  I suggest we use the Chinese approach: whichever year is most favourable to them, in this case 'them'

                  is Scotland.

                  1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                    Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

                    That would be the year that a scottish king took over the english throne then

                    1. Roland6 Silver badge
                      Pint

                      Re: I'm pondering how bad "government control" would really be

                      That's definitely a "gotcha" - I should have seen that one. :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is that the same government who spunked away £37 billion on a test and trace system with nothing to show for it? The government that bought aircraft carriers with no aircraft? The government that puts incompetent lightweights like Patel, WIlliamson and Hancock into the cabinet? The government that's never completed an IT project on time or in budget? Or is it some other government?

      Swapping out one job lot of incompetent, self-serving tossers for another job lot that's full of much more incompetent, self-serving tossers is a genuis idea. What could possibly go wrong?

      1. spodula

        I think they are hoping the new bunch of wasterels will be slightly better than the old ones using the premise that they would have to really go out to be worse.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If there's a job most suited to government, denying it because the government is crap is not the solution - changing the government is.

        Otherwise you start going down the libertarian American political rabbit hole.

        1. Steve Kerr

          More the problem is government changes but the civil servants underneath it all stay the same.

          So doesn't matter which lot are in power, the ones causing the ineptitude stay and get promoted into great er levels of incompetence

          1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
            FAIL

            Eeerr did it ever occur to you that trying to do a job with the big boss man changing every 5 minutes because they've groped the help or because the strategy (tactics) change to another "sure fire vote winner" might be a little more tricky than working in your average corporate?

            Whilst Im sure the ability of people in the Civil service has a similar range from time-servers to super bright diligent people, they have many many more rules than the average corporate, and likely a bunch of tossers as CxO equivalents that make the private sector paragons of virtue.

            The real problem is that the UK is a super tanker and changing course is the work of years and not amenable to politicians whims and fancies. Plus the fact that some of the problems they have to solve are NP hard.

        2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          And what happens next time the government changes?

    3. Trollslayer
      Flame

      Test and Trace?

  3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Facepalm

    a desperate last-minute attempt to keep his job

    Hasn't he worked out by now that it would be better for his future career if he found a face-saving way to resign, rather than wait until he's ignominiously kicked out?

    1. msknight

      He hasn't worked anything out. That's why the current situation exists.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        He's worked out how to make a cushy billet out of Nominet.

      2. Karl Austin

        Mr Haworth has worked one thing out, how to block members on LinkedIn, even members who have had no contact with him via that platform.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "Mr Haworth has worked one thing out, how to block members on LinkedIn, even members who have had no contact with him via that platform."

          Arrogant sociopaths believe they are better than everyone else and are always right. The question of whether Mr Haworth is an arrogant sociopath I leave for the reader to provide their own answer.

    2. keithpeter Silver badge
      Windows

      Ah, but then the new administration would have access to the records and accounts. In full detail. Original documents.

      Disclaimer: I have no skin in this game and no real knowledge of the issues, and I don't earn money from Web sites or the Internet (alas, see icon).

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        > the new administration would have access to the records and accounts. In full detail. Original documents.

        Assuming they don't do an Enron and work the shredders overtime.

        I assume PublicBenefit.UK are ready to move into Nominet's offices immediately after the EGM and secure the premises and their contents...

        1. keithpeter Silver badge
          Mushroom

          As an OFSTED inspector once suggested to me just burn it all(*). It is a lot quicker than a shredder.

          He had a brazier in the back garden for burning garden waste. Made short shrift of the yellow pads.

          But seriously: bank records, auditors, contracts and other documents lodged with solicitors &c

          (*) they are - or were when I was on active service - required to destroy all paper records after completing an inspection

          1. batfink Silver badge

            It is quite hard to burn serious amounts of paper quickly though. Generally the outside pages go and the rest is kinda ok.

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              If you shred it, then you have lots of air in the pile and it burns easily

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "Assuming they don't do an Enron and work the shredders overtime."

          Given past history (ISOCNZ/DOMAINZ) you can assume that may have already happened

  4. My-Handle Silver badge

    “We have been warned that instability will be of serious concern to government,” Wood wrote on Monday.

    Don't worry, mate. Even if it were a serious concern to government, by the time they get around to doing anything about it (after repeated debates, policy changes and deadline extensions) the new management will have things perfectly stable again.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      You are Sir Humphrey Appleby and I claim my £5.00.

      1. iron Silver badge

        Sir Humphrey would never use a common word like "mate." The very idea!

  5. Pete B

    I'm not sure that having it Government Controlled would be any worse than the train wreck the current Directors are running.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I'm not sure that having it Government Controlled would be any worse than the train wreck the current Directors are running."

      How about we put Failing Grayling in charge of Nominet and find out?

      1. uro

        Failing Grayling would no doubt throw cash at a registrar that is hastily set up and doesn't have any domain registrations under its belt, such is his pattern of behaviour.

      2. MrReynolds2U

        Do you really fancy Nominet (a part of Serco) being a thing?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in plain English

    Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Government when I lay My vengeance upon thee.

    1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

      Re: in plain English

      I think I found your wallet.

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: in plain English

        "I think I found your wallet."

        Bad Muddy Funkster?

  7. Stanislav Bonita
    Meh

    And?

    He says that like it's a bad thing.

    Neutral icon -->

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why?

    Is he a Statue?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      This Thursday evening a new national clap for statues! Theyre the ones holding this country together, not those stupid lefty nurses...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I didn't think that Nominet

    was in the Sudetenland.

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    “We have been warned"

    Oh really ? By who ? Citation please, Mr Hawarth, you bullshitting arsebag.

    The pitchforks are coming to get you, and get you they will.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: “We have been warned"

      My pitchfork will be the one warmed up (to red glowing hot status) beforehand and ready to poke Hawarth in the place he thinks the sun shines out of.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a piece of shit he is.

    Isn't it an offence to knowingly make false statements to the board?

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Only if you get investigated. And if nothing changes and the board stays the same, you can guarantee no investigation will happen.

  12. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

    One for the guide book

    I'm going to get in here now and say that the current board of Nominet should be described as "A bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the second against the wall after the Marketing Department of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation when the revolution comes."

    Now, where's that rift in the time-space continuum?

  13. Rol Silver badge

    I seem to remember, the EGM was initially arranged so that the current drivers of the careering company could be removed and more competent drivers put in their place. However the current drivers objected to having the replacements decided upon at the same meeting, hence forcing the situation where the company will be driverless until another hurried meeting can be arranged.

    Isn't it then the current directors who have forced this instability onto the organisation, and not those who sought a seamless transfer of power?

    Perhaps the spectre of their suggested instability and government intervention will materialise, not from the actions of its voting members, but the actions of its exiting directors, as they smash and burn everything on their way out? 'Cos they do seem to be acting like spoilt children.

    1. R Soul

      "Forcing the situation where the company will be driverless until another hurried meeting can be arranged.".

      That's no big deal. A break of a few months between the old and new boards won't matter much. Nominet's core registry and DNS functoon will continue to work just fine regardless of what's happening (or not) in the boardroom. As proven by the bomb-proof registry service it has provided while Howard and his cronies have been in charge.

      Remember that Belgium recently went over a year without a government and the machinery of state - collecting taxes, running an army, keeping the lights on, etc - carried on as normal. If a country can manage for that long without any leadership, I'm sure Nominet could too.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        ...and in 1672, the Dutch killed and (purportedly) ate their Prime Minister. Are the low countries trying to tell us something about keeping government in check?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "forcing the situation where the company will be driverless until another hurried meeting can be arranged."

      Belgium!!!

      (Yes, HHGTTG reference)

      They managed 589 days without a driver (elected government).

      1. Colin 22

        IIRC, during that time Belgium had the best GDP growth figures in the whole EU. They did far better without a government than with one

  14. MOH

    "This is a dangerous game. It would lead to an unpredictable future for the UK domain name industry and .UK pricing and policy"

    As opposed to ...?

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      It would lead to an unpredictable future for the UK domain name industry and .UK pricing and policy"

      I should have thought the predictability would be about the same - except that under new management .UK pricing would be flat or reduced rather than inexorably up.

      I think most businesses can cope with the "unpredictability" of having their costs either remaining the same or falling.

  15. Coastal cutie

    Just when you think they couldn't sink any lower...... I'm inclined to think that Mark Wood wouldn't recognise the truth if it whacked him over the head with a 14lb hammer.

  16. Lucien Taylor

    Pulling the plug on the forum was the last straw

    .. and now Nominet proposes that the members communicate with each other through a central party policy of communication - where the current executive get to hear everything and the members hear nothing - Webinars, closed Twitter chat, and private meetings. The members have nothing further to discuss with this executive, they want to inhabit their own community and they want to listen to each other

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Pulling the plug on the forum was the last straw

      Not that I am particular fan of it, but surely existing Nominet members could easily set up a Facebook group to discuss things?*

      *I am not actually on Facebook, so please forgive my ignorance if I'm making a fool of myself (wouldn't be the first time).

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Pulling the plug on the forum was the last straw

        Considering who the relevant members of Nominet are, I'm sure at least one of them might have the technical skills and resources to set something up a little better and less data slurpy than a Farcebook page.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Pulling the plug on the forum was the last straw

          Agreed. They could easily set up a regular MS Teams conference call ...

          (Hmm, I may need to think things through a bit before posting, would that be a good idea?)

      2. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: Pulling the plug on the forum was the last straw

        Not that I am particular fan of it, but surely existing Nominet members could easily set up a Facebook group to discuss things?*

        Well certainly, but it's the principle of the thing.

        Haworth didn't just look at the forum one day and decide that there was unacceptable conduct/bullying going on and pull the plug.

        He waited until the AGM, and then had someone literally sat off-camera primed to kill the forum as he said "...with immediate effect." He could quite happily have left it up till the end of the AGM or a pre-determined date, but I guess he didn't want anyone archiving material out...

        That's a bizarre, provocative and premeditated power move. The kids today might call it "a weird flex". I feel like British Leyland management from the 1970s might have nodded sagely in approval - "Yes, show the plebs whose boss".

        Unsurprisingly the plebs weren't impressed.

        The forum itself is irrelevant. The key is the contempt the CEO is showing the membership.

      3. ADomainRegistrar

        Re: Pulling the plug on the forum was the last straw

        They did - https://hostmasters.uk

  17. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It raises the usual questions about top management:

    Do they believe what they say?

    Do they believe we'll believe what they say?

    Do they think we won't care even when we don't believe what they say?

    Do they care whether we care when we don't believe what they say?

    None of the alternatives show them up in a good light but I've never been able to determine which is the case given that the only external evidence is that they keep spouting bollocks that only an idiot would believe.

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      (Following on from the Hitch-Hikers Guide theme above)

      'Does it matter? And even if it does matter, does it matter that it matters?'

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        "Nothing matters very much and few things matter at all".

        .

        Arthur Balfour.

    2. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Answers to the usual questions about top management:

      No, no, no and no. They just say whatever they think will make you shut up and go away.

  18. Siusaidh

    The line of argument is plain: Mark is alleging that if 5 directors are removed, the Government may intervene, take away Nominet’s independence, and remove the membership-based system of governance.

    What you might call a hypothetical ‘Plan G’.

    Mark’s markedly NOT saying the Government “will” step in. I doubt he can.

    For a start, I think it is a reflection of Mark’s expectation that he is likely to lose the vote next Monday, that he is shifting the playing field to threaten ‘Do that, and the Government will intervene, and you’ll be left with zero participation in Nominet.’

    ‘The government can step in,” Mark explains, “if Nominet is ever considered unstable or not capable of governing itself.”

    My question would be: “Why does a change of leadership make Nominet unstable or incapable of governing itself?”

    Governments of whole countries change, without making those countries ‘incapable of governing themselves’. Are Russell and Mark, in person, so irreplaceable? It’s just a change of leadership. It happens all the time.

    Mark goes on to suggest that the EGM petition is pressurising any remaining Board Directors “to install candidates outside normal procedures.” He is referring to the call in Resolution 2 (which he has refused to hold, alleging we wanted to ‘elect’ the replacements – incorrect) for the Board to appoint Sir Michael Lyons and Axel Pawlik (note ‘appointing’ not electing).

    To be plain, the membership is entitled to take a view on who should be Chairman. As there will be NO Chair if Resolution1 passes, it is reasonable and responsible to draft in a man (Sir Michael) of great experience and acute understanding of Nominet (having carried out the review of Nominet in 2015, and as a former Chair of the BBC), as an interim or caretaker Chairman. It would just be a responsible interim measure.

    No-one is saying that “normal procedures” would not then take place to confirm or repeal that interim measure. Everything would proceed in a normal orderly manner. There is no instability involved in all of this. And Mark Wood could himself set to work, co-operating in an orderly transfer of leadership to Sir Michael. Leadership changes. That happens in all companies.

    I don’t think the Government need to see that as “instability”. It’s simply transition of leadership.

    The EGM is not a “wrecking ball” as Mark claims. To suggest that is to be fairly derogatory towards 429 of the most engaged Nominet member companies, including the top 75% of UK members/companies in Nominet, and as you day in your article, major companies like Namecheap and Gandi.

    Members simply want new leadership, as is their right and function, in law.

    We’re talking about serious people who run serious companies and businesses, who have joined this call for a change in extraordinary numbers – 432 as I write.

    If anything, the government should be disturbed that a Board and Executive have so alienated such huge numbers of members that they are now seeking better leadership.

    It could be well argued that, subject to the remnant directors complying with what the members indicate they want at the EGM, Sir Michael is an almost ideal candidate to step in as an interim Chairman, and that orderly process will then lead in due course to orderly selection of further directors, orderly decisions, and a company back on an even keel where trust and confidence have been restored.

    Due process is being followed by serious and committed members of Nominet, not to destroy, but to keep Nominet true to its founding principles, which are plainly in the interests of the UK and its namespace.

    March 22nd begins that process.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Well said

      To be plain, the membership is entitled to take a view on who should be Chairman. As there will be NO Chair if Resolution1 passes, it is reasonable and responsible to draft in a man (Sir Michael) of great experience and acute understanding of Nominet (having carried out the review of Nominet in 2015, and as a former Chair of the BBC), as an interim or caretaker Chairman. It would just be a responsible interim measure.

      Indeed. Sir Michael is a good pick because he should be seen as a safe pair of hands, along with Axel Pawlik. Both have experience of the business, and navigating politics that go around it. The business is very similar to running RIPE, ie the core registry/registrar function, along with industry liason and outreach. Nominet doesn't really need M&A specialists because it's core business is running the .uk registry.

      I also can't see the government being too keen to intervene, and even if it does, that would probably be limited to approving a Chair, much as it does with the BBC. But not entirely sure that'd be possible given the BBC's a government entity, and Nominet isn't. So unless government decides to nationalise Nominet, it'll probably just keep a watching brief. I also don't think there's much risk of instability, unless key technical staff decide to walk. I also think that a reformed Nominet would be less likely to try a .org stunt & try to flog itself to Crapita, which would likely lead to much more instability.

      So roll on the vote. I still have a bad feeling about that given the arcane voting system though. I've never liked or really understood it, so if there are enough potential votes to block the reforms. If there are, I think that would be a worse result given the number of members (rather than votes) in favour of reforms.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well said

        Our current government - perhaps the most right-wing in living memory - won't nationalise anything. Private sector good, public sector bad.

        I think they would intervene if Nominet tried do a .org and sell itself to the likes of Crapita. That would be "a serious relevant failure" under the 2010 Digital Economy Act.

        Incidentally, that act allows the minister to appoint a registry manager (presumably the company running the registry, not an individual) or change the registry's consitution. It doesn't give the minister the power to take direct control or nationalise a registry.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Amen to that.

  19. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Independence?

    So lets get this straight. Members are not happy with the way the current board or running things. The current board won't listen to the members.

    As such *IF* the government do decide to intervene then the members would be left in no worse position than they are now. OTOH should the government not decide to intervene then things can only improve.

    So basically it's still a no brainer.

  20. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I suppose there's a grin of truth in what he says. If the company isn't being run in accordance with company law then the relevant govt. body, Companies House might take an interest. Of course the exact nature of that interest could depend on whose actions are responsible for it not being run in accordance with company law.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " Companies House might take an interest."

      No it won't. It has no investigatory or regulatory powers. It's not a regulator. Companies House just maintains a registry of company information. Which it doesn't even check for accuracy.

      You've been told this many times. Why do you keep on lying about what Companies House might or could do?

      Expecting Companies House to intervene in a boardroom fight would be like expecting Nominet to get involved whenever there was a dodgy tweet on twitter.co.uk.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The relevant bodies for breaches of company law would be the police, the serious fraud office or maybe trading standards. They have the power to conduct investigations and prosecute offenders. Companies House can't and doesn't. All they can do is apply a penalty of a few quid if paperwork doesn't get submitted on time.

  21. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Mushroom

    So now it's blackmail

    He really has reached the bottom. There is no lower that he could possibly go. He simply can't be removed quickly enough.

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: So now it's blackmail

      Will Godfrey: "He really has reached the bottom. There is no lower that he could possibly go. "

      I fear you underestimate the capabilities of senior management.

      Will Godfrey: "He simply can't be removed quickly enough."

      On that we agree.

  22. HammerOn1024

    Too bad...

    keel hauling has gone out of fashion. Have any of you gotten a 30% salary increase for failing miserably lately?

  23. CrackedNoggin

    I wonder what Wood's plan B is? If this were America, I'd advise anybody planning to attend the meeting to wear a bulletproof vest.

  24. katrinab Silver badge
    Coat

    I've found the perfect location for his press conference

    AWBS Ltd t/a Oxford Garden Centre

    Southern Bypass Road

    South Hinksey

    Oxford

    OX1 5AR

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: I've found the perfect location for his press conference

      Has Rudi Giuliani been retained?

  25. RM Myers Silver badge
    Alert

    The first act of a new chairman

    should be a comprehensive audit. That is probably always a good idea to make sure you don't get blamed for your predecessor's malfeasance, but in this case it would be total incompetency to not demand it on day 1. No audit, no take the job.

  26. Eccella

    Pressure on the undecided major vote holders

    Reading the current list of un-committed voteholders I would urge anyone that is supportive of Public Benefit's campaign and uses one of those companies for their domain, to write to them requesting that, as a minimum, they publically affirm abstention or better still to vote for the EGM resolution. I have contacted the investors dept at Go Daddy with this request. Wondering what corporate speak reply I get!!

  27. Julian 8

    The government can drop in their own IT specialist - the queen of carange. Afterall, Dildo's job with Test and Trace must nearly be over with everyone being jabbed soon and we will be free of this covid malarkey - gotta give her something to do

  28. Lunatic Looking For Asylum

    They have always used 'the goverment' gambit.

    There were worries years ago that BIS would get involved and that Mandelson had his beady eye on the organisation when there were problems - it quelled the dissent then. Can't remember what the crisis was at the time - I think it was something about voting rights and power being given to the board.

    I've lost interest over the years in Nominet - I'm still a member and dutifully pay my fees but have basically been treat by them (as have other smaller members) like shit and totally ignored. Eventually, we have had enough and this is the result, the structure is Gerrymandered for the big organisations and they have supported Nominet, hopefully when the mess gets cleared up, there will be a more equitable relationship between Nominet and ALL it's members.

    TBH, the governemnt marching in and stomping all over them wouldn't make things much worse.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: They have always used 'the goverment' gambit.

      > Can't remember what the crisis was at the time - I think it was something about voting rights and power being given to the board.

      That was probably the "Plan G" stuff - was under the old leadership.

      Members voted a domainer into the board. He was highly critical of the leadership, and the executive body didn't like it, so they tried to rope BIS (BERR as it was) in to help force through a change to Nominet's constitution. That intervention led to the Garret report.

      Nominet denied it (obviously) but details of it really came out when the CTO left Nominet and sued for unfair/constructive dismissal - including that Nominet had a bit more input into the final report than they'd admitted to (including recommeding that a seat be dropped from the board - guess who's...)

  29. Ryc

    Its not rocket science

    To maintain stability I'm sure a few of us could step in and run the company in the interim...would do a better job than those muppets...what a bunch of jokers...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cast Your Vote. EGM Update latest email from Nominet

    Another (last ditch) email attempt “Cast Your Vote. EGM Update” just received from Nominet to “please vote for us” so that the Executive Directors can keep their jobs (and fat-cat salaries and bonuses):

    Eleanor Hester Bradley

    Russell Adam Haworth

    Benjamin Edwin Hill

    Jane Elizabeth Tozer

    Mark William Wood

    The Non-Executive Directors, with the exception of David Thornton:

    Phil Buckingham

    Anne Taylor

    Dr Stephen Page

    Rob Binns

    have been amazingly quiet on their views.

  31. FeeFiFoFum

    Cry for help?

    I wonder, at 00:25 in the official Nominet EGM video on https://www.nominet.uk/egm, is the graphic designer trying to convey anything with the icon of 3 people with a great big padlock?

  32. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Bring it on

    If government intervention means the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office can start poking into Nominet's affairs

  33. frankyunderwood123

    The core tech team could run the registry without top management

    Aside from requiring legal expertise and customer services, the tech team behind the running of the registry could easily operate without any of the "top brass" being involved at all.

    There has been much talk about bonuses awarded willy nilly to all staff, which was never the case.

    The bonus structure for the average employee at Nominet is at or below industry standards. I know, I worked there for years.

    Whilst 99.9% of the revenue of the company was derived by the hard work of a core group of employees, maintaining the very purpose of Nominet - to run a registry - the "new shiny" got all the kudos once Haworth came onboard.

    Those hard working employees were barely mentioned when it came to recognition, instead, it was all about "the shiny toys" - it was well noted and complaints were made that those doing BAU to keep the registry running smoothly - you know, the bit that generated 99.9% of the revenue - were largely ignored.

    It was one big train set for the C-Team & board, as they strove to try to compete with the cool and shiny of the likes of Google or Microsoft - blinded by ambition, chewing through tons of money, cluelessly and ruthlessly pursuing a direction that in no way represented the core business or the not-for-profit nature of Nominet.

    The arrogance was staggering, it really did seem like a fuck ton of coolaid had been drunk - that a medium sized company considered they were in the same ballpark as the likes of Microsoft or Google - or at least, striving to get into that game - playing out the part.

    We would *always* get bonuses, regardless of how well the company did - somehow, finance managed to find something down the back of the sofa to ensure bonuses all around. For most the staff, that was just regular industry standards bonuses.

    For the top brass? - well, you know the story.

    The books could always be cooked to ensure bonuses for all.

  34. xyz123

    There WILL be a government intervention. And by intervention, they mean a full on HMRC investigation to just where so much Nominet cash "disappeared to" without any sort of accountancy records or paper trail.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can I have some of whatever it is you're smoking?

      HMRC won't give a shit about Nominet. The company is far too small to be on their radar. There will be little for them to investigate provided VAT, payroll taxes and corporation tax gets paid on time. Any money that's disappeared at Nominet has probably been lost because of boardroom incompetence and arrogance, not fraud. If there has been criminality, it should have been spotted by the auditors*. At that point, it would be a matter for the Thames Valley Police Fraud Squad, not HMRC.

      * Wishful thinking. Auditors didn't find anything iffy at RBS, Northern Wreck, Enron, etc. while these companies were going down the toilet.

  35. jonathan keith

    Livestream?

    Does anyone know if - and if so, where - the EGM is going to be livestreamed?

  36. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Careful!

    Mark Wood may have a point IF, his concern is that "Government Intervention" means appointing the Government's expert IT Troubleshooter - Dido Harding to sort out things at Nominet

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't count your chickens...

    These guys are terrified of losing their seats on the gravy train, my bet is that they'll do whatever's necessary by fair means or foul to avoid that. If so, government intervention might not be such a bad idea, probably got no idea what nominet is and does so perhaps they could ask Sir Michael and Axel Pawlik to lend a hand.

    If they lose they're not going to go quietly "oops did I turn off the lights on the way out or was that the UK DNS servers?" And does anyone know what severance pay and generous pension arrangements they've written into their contracts?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This smells like yet another brexit. It seems that the UK is trying to be duty bound to screw the UK all the way around.

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