I have never commented on the reports relating to the demise of the Ward Evans Group, but wanted to respond to your recent article (Backchat, 2 June).
In November 1999 my son, then aged six, was diagnosed with cancer. He underwent chemotherapy treatment and spent almost a year in St James's Hospital. Business was obviously not my primary concern.
I passed operational control of the group to others at that time. When I returned to the business I remained outside operational control, but could not resist throwing the odd boulder into the water. Whether that constituted my acting as a shadow director is still being debated.
Obviously I cannot pre-empt the DTI report, but I can say that as Ward Evans was approaching its 10th anniversary in business, it was conservatively estimated to be worth some £10m and profits of some £1m were forecast.
Reporting errors identified following a major IT upgrade led to an estimated £750,000 shortfall in our accounts, but I and another director had a deal on the table to sell our errors & omissions business for £1m. Sadly, we were not given time for the sale to go through and the company was put into administration.
Most of Ward Evans' team of directors remain in the industry and are still making money for product providers - something Ward Evans always did. Many have increased their personal shareholding in the companies formed from the collapse of the group and I wish them all the best.
For my part, five years on my little boy has been in remission for more than the critical period for his particular form of cancer, so I am well blessed.
Loveable rogue? I preferred Champagne Charlie!
Former Ward Evans director