After just six months on the job, Mike Mouat, Director of Finance and Administration for Equestrian Canada, has resigned, becoming the third Chief Financial Officer to leave since Eva Havaris became CEO in 2014.
Mike Arbour had been EC’s CFO for over 10 years, but resigned in March 2016. His resignation came just two weeks after Amie O’Shaughnessy, who held various roles at EC over 16 years and was High Performance Director when she left, had resigned after working at EC for 16 years. Neither have spoken publicly about their sudden departures.
Following Arbour, EC announced that Sandra Troster Diaz would be the new CFO, but she lasted just six months before she too departed the organization also under undisclosed circumstances.
Mike Mouat had originally been hired as EC’s Commercial Director in 2016, but had resigned that position shortly thereafter. He was re-hired by Havaris in June 2016 as the CFO and was charged with immediately:
– Completing the accounting system transition
– Completing the transition of EC’s financial framework and budgeting process
– Delivering timely and accurate month-end and year-end reports.
Mouat was recently at EC’s convention in Vancouver, BC, where he presented the 2017 board-approved budget to the voting members and noted that EC would have unaudited financial statements for this fiscal year ready this month for the EC Board’s review, with audited statements to follow for the EC Annual General Meeting in September.
Part of his presentation noted this year’s projected $483,000 deficit in the Restricted Fund – the largest in over 10 years, and just two years after EC reported a $468,000 overall loss in 2015. Category A voting member and a member of the Jumping Committee (a.k.a Jump Canada), Craig Collins asked to see a breakdown of the restricted fund budget, and Eva Havaris replied that she would provide that information. However, to date that information has not been shared and according to committee chair Pamela Law, the Jumping Committee is “unable to produce a comprehensive budget due to the lack of financial reporting from EC.”
Board members Terrance Millar, Al Patterson, Ross Millar, and Frédéric Pierrestiger resigned earlier in 2017, many of them citing concerns over the lack of financial information. “Finances are definitely a concern of mine,” noted Ross Millar after his departure. “In my nine months there, I could not get an understanding of where they were financially. We were shown a rough budget for 2017, but none of the details were forthcoming. I first wrote an email regarding this in November and I have yet to receive a satisfactory response. In fact, since joining, and despite many requests, the CEO wasn’t able to provide a balance sheet that would indicate our current financial position. Most concerning to me was that the board has not been getting monthly reports as outlined in the by-laws. Despite the fact that there have been three CFOs in the nine months I got involved, I really feel the board is owed financial transparency.”
Patterson, meanwhile, was concerned about the lack of transparency. “My concern is that we put a budget in place but the financial statements are supposed to be available to corroborate what’s in the budget. Without those, how are we to know if they are on the right track?”
Effective June 12, 2017, Robert Westgarth, who joined EC in the fall of 2016 as Senior Officer of Executive Services, took over the role of Financial Controller (see news item here).