Nominet blew six figures vanity-publishing ex-CEO’s book
Nominet spent £135,000 to publish an upcoming book by a CEO who has since been kicked out, to promote a business it has since divested, it has emerged.
Thoughts from the Big Chair: A Leader’s Guide to Digital Transformation, by Russell Haworth, is due to be published in April, after Nominet paid the hefty sum to publisher Forbes.
Haworth quit the company almost two years ago, just hours before he could be forced out in a member mutiny, but the publishing deal evidently pre-dates that chaotic period for the .uk registry by about a year.
Nominet chair Andy Green, who was installed months later as part of a broad institutional reform package, told members in late December that he was surprised to discover Haworth was going ahead with publication.
It was designed to help promote the company’s “Cyber business” in the US, but since that loss-making business has since been abandoned, the assets sold off for a dollar, the book currently has “no value to Nominet”, Green told members.
Judging by the Amazon blurb, it appears the focus of the book is now “digital leadership”, and one assumes it’s more about building the former CEO’s personal brand at Nominet’s expense.
On his LinkedIn page, Haworth said last month he decided to write the book during the Covid-19 pandemic and that it’s “written for senior execs and board members of meduim sized businesses who are looking to navigate their transformation journey, and what they should consider”.
Haworth is currently the UK CEO of Sweden-based Byggfakta Group, which makes software for the construction industry.
There’s no chance of getting the money back because there’s been no breach of contract, Green told members. Haworth owns all rights and liabilities to the book, so Nominet is not on the hook to buy “significant quantities” of it, he said.
Green added that he would be reluctant to approve such a deal had he been at the helm and was not aware of it until recently.
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