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Rivals have started to reach out to staff at UKFast to offer them alternatives if they plan to leave following the decision by the firm’s CEO to step down.
Lawrence Jones has chosen to step down from the cloud hosting specialist a week after the Financial Times started an investigation which centred on allegations of sexual misconduct. The paper spoke to a large number of former employees to put together an article that made several claims against the founder of the cloud player.
His wife Gail Jones, managing director and co-founder, is taking over the helm while her husband take a “leave of absence”.
In a statement, Jones refuted the claims made against him and indicated a determination to clear his name.
"A number of false and malicious allegations have been made against me and I am absolutely determined to ensure that they are fully investigated so that my name can be cleared. The interests of the employees, clients and investors in the business are paramount and much more important than any one individual,” he stated.
"In the meantime, I am confident that the business will continue to grow and prosper,” he added.
UKFast has won awards as one of the best places to work and has a track record of investing in apprenticeships and banging the drum for the strength and attraction of Manchester as a tech hub.
A brief statement from UKFast confirmed that Jones had stepped down: “The company acknowledges the serious allegations recently made in a national newspaper and is conducting an internal investigation.”
That decision by Jones to distance himself from the business he founded left social media awash with comments, many of them coming from those that work in the Manchester tech community.
One rival tweeted an appeal to UKFast staff and customers that might be looking for an alternative in light of the events of the last few days.
“If you are dependent on UKFast to pay your bills and want out, DM me. I work in tech in Manchester for a company that hires frequently, and can advise on other companies too. Same if you use them as a provider and want to get off the platform,” posted one twitter user.
Other twitter users expressed disappointment that at a time when the industry was working hard to attract more female employees and encourage women to work in IT this case had emerged.
There were other reports that some of the customers that had been used as case studies on the UKFast website had moved to get those references removed to put some distance between the brands.