Dubber fires CEO over missing millions

- April 10, 2024 2 MIN READ
Steve McGovern, Dubber
Dubber's ex-CEO Steve McGovern
The board of ASX-listed Dubber has fired cofounder Steve McGovern as CEO over $26.6 million in missing company funds.

In a statement to the ASX late on Tuesday night, the company said they terminated McGovern’s employment yesterday after investigations over the last five weeks into the missing cash alleged that “McGovern and the trustee were likely involved in the unauthorised use of those funds, including for purposes which were not for the Company’s benefit”.

McGovern was stood down and Dubber (ASX: DUB) shares suspended  in late February as the voice data tech company prepared to release its half-year results and revealed $30 million, supposedly in a term deposit, had gone missing and “may have been misused by either or both” McGovern and the trustee.

While $3.4 million was recovered, $26.6 million is still missing. Attempts to recover the balance are ongoing.

Corporate regulator the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is investigating and McGovern, a British national with permanent residence in Australia, and lawyer Mark Madafferi, principal of North Melbourne law firm, Christopher William Legal, have been blocked from leaving the country at ASIC’s request.

Existing investor Alex Waislitz’s Thorney Investment Group, had increased his stake in Dubber to 14.37% just weeks before details on the missing funds emerged. He’s subsequently came  to the company’s rescue with a $5 million bridging loan and increased his shareholding to 19.9% – the edge of the takeover threshold.

Dubber is now looking to raise $24 million to steady its balance sheet. Last July it raised $10.25 million at $0.14 cents a share. The half-year results have yet to be released and Dubber shares remain suspended, having last traded at $0.22 cents. McGovern holds more than 12.5 million Dubber shares.

Executive director, Peter Pawlowitsch, a former partner of listed tech startup, Volante Group, is Dubber’s acting CEO as the hunt for a permanent replacement gets underway.

Dubber uses AI to analyse call recordings for what it calls “moments” for customer insights.

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