Boo exposes cost of CFO

Boo exposes cost of CFO

The KPMG partner who served as interim chief financial officer at notorious dotcom failure boo.com charged the doomed startup £1,750 a day for her services.

Rachel Yasue, who is still with KPMG, remained with boo until the end as thecompany’s efforts to find a permanent CFO foundered and finally failed.

Details are revealed in a new book about the short and disastrous life of boo by the company’s former CEO and co-founder Ernst Malmsten.

The book reveals that the profound problems that blighted boo were exacerbated by a failure to take control of finances early in the company’s life.

In a revealing account Malmsten, points the finger at fellow founder Patrik Hedelin who had ‘overall responsibility’ for finance issues.

Malmsten writes that he and his other co-founder Kajsa Leander ‘suspected’ Hedelin’s handling of the finances.

‘What continued to trouble me as time went on was the extent to which his courting of other banks took time away from what I had always felt his main job should be – handling our daily finances and running the finance team,’ he writes.

Boo, founded by the three Swedes in 1998 as a global brand to sell sportswear and fashion, became emblematic of the huge unfulfilled potential of dotcom start-ups when it went spectacularly bust in May last year.

When KPMG liquidators were called in the company had burned through nearly $100m (£70m) and had outstanding debts of around $20m.

Hedelin, a investment banker, was forced aside following complaints from investors and Yasue came in.

At one stage Australian Dean Hawkins, who had been a CFO for Adidas, was appointed. Hawkins agreed a salary of £280,000 plus share options. But, he was horrified on his arrival to find a $40m round of funding was incomplete and insisted the only way he could continue with boo was if he became chief operations officer.

He did but within days Hawkins announced his departure to pursue a ‘better offer’.

KPMG finds boo buyers www.accountancyage.com/Business/1102406

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