CLAIMS: Ex-Waratah duo resign from Finsbury Green

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Two former Waratah Group execs caught up in a front-page World Vision print contract exposé, Stephen Kernahan and Brett Chalmers, have resigned from their roles at Finsbury Green. Monday was their last day.

Gone: Steve Kernahan and Brett Chalmers resign

Peter Orel, CEO at Finsbury Green said, “Stephen and Brett felt that Finsbury Green needs the freedom to operate without any potential concern or negativity related by association.

"We are grateful to Stephen and Brett for their contribution to our business during their tenure."

According to an investigation by The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald the duo were aware of, and in Chalmers case sighed off on, payments of $3000 a month to a World Vision printing advisor – the father of an exec there – and saw the $2.5m print contract for the charity awarded to Waratah Group as a result.

Orel said, “it is important to emphasise that whilst there was reference to Finsbury Green in the articles as we currently hold a printing contract with WVA (World Vision), there is absolutely no suggestion of impropriety by Finsbury Green. Finsbury Green is happy to co-operate with any investigation.”

“WVA became a customer of Finsbury Green on 9 December 2019. Whilst Finsbury Green had purchased the customers and contracts of Waratah Group from the administrators, WVA were not obliged to novate their contract across to Finsbury Green. WVA therefore chose to run a formal bid process that included bidders presenting credentials and capabilities. We understand that the ultimate decision to appoint Finsbury Green was made by a panel of senior executives at WVA.

“The articles allege that kickback payments were made by a printing company that formerly held the WVA printing contract. Finsbury Green was not aware of any such arrangements when we bid for and subsequently won the WVA contract.”|

Stephen Kernahan and Brett Chalmers were shareholders of the Waratah Group and have subsequently been employed by Finsbury Green for the past four months. Waratah collapsed with debts in excess of $22m four months ago after a year-long battle with cashflow issues.

The Waratah Group had five shareholders, along with Chalmers and ex-AFL star Kernahan were another ex-AFL player Craig Bradley, and the Aboughattas brothers Moody and Abby. Read the story on its demise and tangled history here.

World Vision CEO Claire Rogers was already due resign prior to the allegations 'to spend more time with her family', but the date was brought forward when the story was published. The charity faces difficult questions from donors over why it allowed a situation in which some of their donations were used to fund foreign holidays and $3000-a-month payments to an 'advisor'.

Last year World Vision spent 11.2 per cent of its $302m budget on fundraising, of which the printing of its direct mailshots, brochures and leaflets and other work is a crucial part of the sales and marketing mix.

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