02 October 2017 0 Comments Posted By : Tyler Orton

B.C. boardroom battle nets defamation suit against directors

Three B.C. investors face a potential boardroom booting later this month in a dispute with the co-founder and CEO of Vancouver-based Payfirma.

The boardroom battle has already resulted in a defamation suit and legal efforts to stop a special shareholders meeting. 

“How did it come to this?” asked Richard Powers, a corporate governance expert at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, after poring over a stream of heated public statements exchanged between the CEO and his board.

It’s a case that amounts to a classic “clash of personalities,” according to Powers.

Payfirma CEO Michael Gokturk, who co-founded the payments processing company in 2011 and owns 9.29% of its shares, told Business in Vancouver he’s been inundated with calls from shareholders since launching a campaign to remove three early investors from the board.

“Your investment in Payfirma is at risk,” Gokturk wrote in a September 20 letter to shareholders. “Three of our six directors, [Coastal Contacts Inc. founder and former Shoes.com CEO] Roger Hardy, [Mosam Ventures founder] Marc Levy and [Peer 1 Hosting founder] Lance Tracey, have drawn a line in the sand and obstructed our efforts to advance a transaction that would move Payfirma toward liquidity.”

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