Onthehouse founder Michael Fredericks is disappointed that the online property company’s board did not back him in a legal battle.
The founder of real estate website Onthehouse says he quit as chief executive after the company’s board failed to support him during a legal battle with an investor.
Michael Fredericks quit as Onthehouse chief executive on Wednesday after one of the company’s first investors, Brisbane lawyer Phil Heraghty, took legal action against him for failing to hand over financial documents relating to a private trust.
He says the civil action never alleged impropriety and was not linked to his role as the head of Onthehouse, but media attention and the board’s reaction led to his resignation.
“Given the level of commitment I had in the company, I was extremely busy and much slower than what I should have been in finishing some documentation around the trust,” he told AAP on Thursday.
“There was never any issues of dishonesty, impropriety or misappropriation of monies.
“However I felt it was in the interest of shareholders to remove the noise by stepping aside as the company’s chief executive.”
Mr Fredericks, who is the company’s biggest shareholder with an 8.6 per cent stake, said he was upset with the way the board handled the matter.
“It was very disappointing. I felt it would have been better for the board to have been supportive of me while the matter was being addressed,” he said.
“There’s a lot that goes into building a company from scratch to a company of about 150 people and churning over $26 million a year.”
He founded the company in 2007 and oversaw its listing on the Australian share market four years later.
Onthehouse provides a raft of free property information for home owners and real estate agents and is worth about $42 million.
Mr Heraghty said in a statement he accepted Mr Fredericks had fallen behind with the trust’s paperwork while he was heavily committed to Onthehouse’s success.
“I am satisfied that steps are being taken to bring the trust’s affairs up to date, and as such, the matter is resolved,” he said.
The company’s board released a statement on Wednesday saying its investigation had found the dispute was a private civil matter not linked to Onthehouse, however it said Mr Fredericks’ had agreed it was time for a new chief executive to drive future growth.