U.K. Soccer Promoter Halted as CFO Claims Prompt CEO Suspension

  • BNN Tech CFO quits after making accusations against CEO, COO
  • Company distributes content for Barcelona, Arsenal, Man City

BNN distributes content for Spain’s Barcelona and England’s Arsenal and Manchester City soccer clubs via China’s Xinhua News.

Photographer: Javier Soriano/AFP via Getty Images

BNN Technology Plc, a British firm that helps top European soccer clubs expand their web presence in China, has been left without executive leadership after its finance chief made “serious allegations” against the company.

Scott Kennedy resigned after making the claims against fellow board members, Chief Executive Darren Mercer and Chief Operating Officer Wei Qi, according to a statement from the company on Monday. Mercer and Ki, who is also BNN’s China CEO, have been suspended following a review by an independent committee.

Trading in BNN was halted in London as it now has insufficient senior management “to provide appropriate oversight and control” of operations, the company based in Knutsford near Manchester, U.K. said.

“The decision to suspend two of our senior team was not taken lightly and should not be taken as an assessment of the validity, or otherwise, of these allegations,” Non-Executive Chairman Harry Keiley said in the statement. The independent committee will commission a “thorough review” of the allegations.

Barcelona, Arsenal

BNN distributes content for Spain’s Barcelona and England’s Arsenal and Manchester City soccer clubs via China’s Xinhua News. It also facilitates soccer coaching camps for the three clubs in the country and signed a contract with Arsenal in July to develop an online store through Alibaba Group Holding unit Tmall.

BNN shares have fallen about 75 percent from the record high reached a year ago. It cited investment in technology for a first-half net loss of 15.5 million pounds ($20 million) in August.

Spokesmen for BNN and the company’s nominated adviser Strand Hanson Limited were unavailable for comment when contacted by Bloomberg. Scott Kennedy didn’t immediately respond to a LinkedIn message.

Financial controller Patrick O’Connor will assume Kennedy’s role of chief financial officer on an interim basis.

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