Ian Wardle, former chief executive of collapsed charity Lifeline Project, has been disqualified from holding a company directorship for seven years by the Insolvency Service.
Lifeline Project was a £60m drug and alcohol charity that went into administration in June 2017. The vast majority of its work was taken on by another charity, Change, Grow, Live.
According to a document filed with Companies House by the joint administrators, David Thornhill, Russell Steward Cash and Geoffrey Lambert Carton-Kelly of FRP Advisory LLP, the charity owed nearly £4m to unsecured creditors and an estimated £280,000 in pension contributions. It had a deficit of £1.4m.
In the document, administrators said: “It appears several key contracts have been entered into without proper consideration of the cost structure and longer term financial implications”. They said some of these were payments-by-results contracts which did not generate enough income.
The Insolvency Service said that as the chief executive Wardle, aged 70 from Bolton, was a “de-facto” director.
It said that he had entered into three payment-by-results contracts between August 2015 and January 2016 “without undertaking the necessary due diligence and failed to realise that the targets set were unachievable”.
Robert Clarke, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “This case highlights the damage an irresponsible director can do even to longstanding charities and businesses that have served their communities well for decades.
“The lengthy disqualification is a warning to other directors who handle charitable funds that the Insolvency Service stands ready to take action to prevent the infliction of further damage to the charity sector.”