Former Datalex CFO Dónal Rooney joins hostel chain Generator

Executive uncovered accounting irregularities at the Irish travel software company

 

Dónal Rooney, the senior executive who uncovered significant accounting irregularities at the Dermot Desmond-backed travel software company Datalex, has found himself a new job.

Mr Rooney, who uncovered the irregularities shortly after joining Datalex late last year, has been named chief financial officer (CFO) of Generator, a company with a chain of boutique hostels.

Generator, which was acquired by London-based Queensgate Investments for €450 million in 2017, has 14 hostels in total, including one in Smithfield, Dublin. The company opened its first US location in Miami last year.

Mr Rooney tendered his resignation as director and CFO of Datalex in February, just three months after joining the company. He stayed on with the business until the end of April to help see it through its crisis-management efforts.

Prior to joining Datalex in early December, Mr Rooney held similar roles over the course of the past six years in hotel investment and management company Amaris Hospitality and the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

Datalex warned in mid- January that its 2018 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) may come to a loss of almost $4 million (€3.58 million). It also disclosed the same day that it may have misstated revenues and earnings for the first half of 2018, mainly due to how it booked income associated with same project.

An independent review into the company subsequently undertaken by PwC concluded Datalex failed to correctly apply certain accounting standards and therefore incorrectly recognised about $3.5 million (€3.11 million) of service revenues.

The review also said that about $2.9 million (€2.5 million) of other revenue was incorrectly recognised in the first half of 2018, of which about $700,000 (€625,000) was deemed not to be recoverable.

Datalex, which was forced to resort to a €10 million equity-and-debt funding line from its main shareholder Dermot Desmond in March to shore up its finances, warned last week that 2018 losses will now be as high as $6 million (€5.3 million).

Niall O’Sullivan, who was recently appointed as Mr Rooney’s successor, is currently carrying out a “comprehensive review” of the business alongside acting chief executive Seán Corkery.