AADL CEO Stephen Porges engaged in ‘misleading and deceptive’ conduct, ordered to pay $1 million

The new CEO of ADMA’s parent body, the Australian Alliance for Data Leadership, Stephen Porges, has been ordered to pay $941,703 in damages and interest, plus costs, after his actions in selling shares in a tech startup led him to behave in a “misleading and deceptive” manner towards the buyer.

The court case, which concluded late last week, relates to Porges’ conduct before he joined the AADL. Porges was hired as the CEO of industry association network AADL back in June. Last year ADMA – the Association for Data-Driven Marketing & Advertising changed its name to AADL as the parent brand across a number of individual industry bodies.

Porges, former CEO of Aussie Home Loans, persuaded Adcock Private Equity (APE), an investment company controlled by Brook Adcock, to purchase $942,000 worth of his shares in British Virgin Islands-domiciled tech startup SecureOne.

The judge found that Porges was not actually the “reluctant seller” of the company he had presented himself as to APE: “On the contrary… he wanted to sell.”

According to Supreme Court of NSW court documents, Porges did not disclose to APE that Play LA was seeking US$10m worth of damages from SecureOne and its 11 major shareholders in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, for an alleged breached share purchase agreement.

“Mr Porges could not have failed to understand that if the Play Proceedings succeeded, SecureOne would be wiped out,” NSW Supreme Court Justice Robert McDougall ruled.

All parties to the litigation eventually agreed that “shares in SecureOne are worthless.”

Porges was not a ‘reluctant seller’

The AADL network includes the Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA), the Institute for Analytics Professionals Australia (IAPA), Data Governance Australia (DGA) and Digital + Technology Collective.

The court ruling is just the latest in a drastic period of upheaval for AADL, after CEO Jodie Sangster left her position as CEO of ADMA in March.

Former AdRoll boss Ben Sharp was then hired in the position of managing director of ADMA.  But Sharp dramatically left the role after just two weeks, declining to publicly discuss what issue had made him leave the organisation so swiftly.

Last month marketer Andrea Martens was brought into the role vacated by Sharp. At the same time, chief member officer Mandy Eyles departed the company.

And on Friday, it emerged that ADMA had abruptly cancelled its annual awards at the last moment.

Porges is one of nine directors of the AADL, which in the 2017 financial year had a turnover of $8.3m

AADL and Porges did not respond to Mumbrella’s invitation to comment on the legal proceedings.


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