Controversial former Xtra chief Chris Tyler has resigned as CEO of Solution 6, after embarrassing press revelations about his past.
Among those revelations was the fact that when he was hired to work at Xtra in 1995 he may still have been serving a 10-year suspended sentence imposed for possession of more than 20 kilograms of marjiuana in 1985, along with a $US5000 fine.
Tyler had not disclosed the conviction to his employer or shareholders, nor his involvement with the spectacularly failed Vancouver company Lessonware. Last week he held a press conference to confront those reports and others.
BRW, the Australian business magazine which began the furore by revealing details of Tyler's past, is to publish a follow-up this week, covering Tyler's time in New Zealand. It appears the events of Tyler's brief but exciting reign at Xtra - the time of what became popularly known as "the ISP wars" - have not been well known to his Australian employers. Tyler went to Solution 6 in early 1997 with a glowing endorsement from Telecom.
Although he has faced questions about Lessonware, and about his public promise to take Solution 6 shares to $A100, It appears to be the drug conviction that has harmed Tyler's position most. Telstra, which is still majority government-owned, holds a quarter of Solution 6.
In a statement to the ASX yesterday morning, Solution 6 said Tyler and the board of the company had "mutually agreed that in the light of recent events it is now in the best interest of shareholders" for Tyler to resign.
At a press conference last week Tyler claimed that he had no intention of leaving Solution 6 and ridiculed rumours that his chief operating officer Lindsay Yelland would be offered his job. But yesterday Yelland was appointed as acting CEO and MD.
It is not yet known whether Tyler will retain his 10% option in the company, valued at close to $A50 million, but he will continue to receive his $A700,000 salary for acting as an advisor for the next six months.
Solution 6 shares rose strongly on the ASX yesterday and at one point were trading at $3.89, up 30% on the day.