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Revelation: Brien Holden chairman wrong

19/09/2018By Matthew Woodley
The Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) has now confirmed it did award a $1 million bonus to an employee last year, directly contradicting statements put forward by its chairman Professor Brian Layland.

The revelation comes after Layland had previously told Insight on numerous occasions that the bonus, awarded in August 2017, was “nowhere near” that figure. However, following last month’s report Insight contacted BHVI CEO Ms Yvette Waddell for further information, who subsequently confirmed the amount via email.

“In regard to Insight’s comments on the bonus awarded to a senior scientist, I can confirm that the bonus was for a gross sum of $1 million, from which taxes and deductions were made,” Waddell wrote.

Yvette Waddell, COO of BHVI
“I can confirm that the bonus was for a gross sum of $1 million, from which taxes and deductions were made.”
Yvette Waddell, CEO

During a lengthy recorded telephone interview undertaken ahead of the initial story being published, Insight afforded Layland numerous opportunities to correct his original assertions regarding the bonus payout but he declined. Importantly, he was also given until the following day to ensure his recollection of events, including the size of the bonus, was accurate, but he chose not to respond.

When the initial story was published, and prior to responding to Insight’s request for further information, Waddell emailed all BHVI staff saying: “You will no doubt be aware of the article published in Insight regarding a bonus paid to a long term senior staff member."

“To avoid further rumour: a substantial bonus was indeed paid to a long-serving scientist in 2017 … The board formally considered the bonus in both 2013 and 2017 and subsequently resolved to pay the bonus in 2017.”

Waddell’s staff correspondence also claimed that there were “numerous factual inaccuracies” in the story, however Insight has now confirmed this reference relates to Layland’s version of events, as outlined to Insight, rather than errors in the reporting.

The information originally supplied by Layland, which Waddell has now contradicted, has lead to further investigation and raised additional questions, including how the BHVI chairman managed to get important facts wrong.

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It’s also unclear whether the bonus was appropriately recorded in any of BHVI’s financial statements from the time it was purportedly approved in 2013 and became a $1 million liability.

This aspect of the story, as well as further revelations, will be explored in Insight's October issue.

More reading

Million-dollar bonus at Brien Holden sparks board governance concerns

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