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Kemp’s company Everledger is not the first that was placed under Administration. Of the three similarly named Abosft companies, two were placed under external administration and one is not detailed in her appointed as Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and which was involved in a ‘bad faith’ finding.
Kemp’s company Everledger is not the first that was placed under Administration. Of the three similarly named Abosft companies, two were placed under external administration and one is not detailed in her appointed as Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and which was involved in a ‘bad faith’ finding.

Inconsistencies and oddities in Everledger CEO’s background

In the wake of the collapse of diamond-tracing company Everledger, questions have been raised about the business practices of CEO Leanne Kemp.

As previously reported, Kemp’s 2018 appointment as Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur makes for interesting reading, particularly when it comes to her work history and resume (see below). 

It raises many questions, not only for the jewellery industry, but also for Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Jeweller can now report that Everledger and Foreverhold Limited - its UK parent company - are not the first companies associated with Kemp that have been placed under voluntary administration. 

According to the 2018 government documents - which Palaszczuk approved – Kemp’s resume declares that she is Everledger’s founder and CEO from 2015 to the present.

Phenix Jewellery, the company where Kemp worked for nine years and which was determined to have acted in “bad faith” over a jewellery trade mark, does not appear on her extensive and comprehensive Linkedin profile.
Phenix Jewellery, the company where Kemp worked for nine years and which was determined to have acted in “bad faith” over a jewellery trade mark, does not appear on her extensive and comprehensive Linkedin profile.

Under the heading ‘Professional Experience’ on page 13, Kemp is listed as being ‘Director of International Strategy, Marketing and Operation’ at Phenix Jewellery from September 2007 to June 2016.

Phenix Jewellery specialises in insurance claims and is based in Queensland with operations in WA, NSW, and Victoria.

The company’s Linkedin page states: “Phenix Jewellery is a specialist master jeweller and retailer specifically established to provide exclusive one-on-one jewellery consultancy, in-house CAD design and handmade pieces for those who have experienced the loss of their jewellery”.

It is understood Kemp was a shareholder in the company during a trade mark legal dispute, and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) records show she was a director from May 2013 until June 2016.

For reference, the Trade Mark Office’s ‘bad faith’ decision against Phenix Jewellery was delivered on 11 October 2012.

Intriguingly, none of this information - covering nine years in the jewellery industry - is listed on Kemp’s extensive and otherwise thoroughly detailed Linkedin profile.

There is no mention of Phenix Jewellery on her personal Linkedin profile whatsoever, and yet Kemp records many other ‘positions’ - some honorary - of around 12 months dating back as far as 1996.

Even more intriguingly, there is an inactive Linkedin profile for a technical director at Phenix Jewellery for a person named ‘Leanne Michele’ (Kemp’s middle name is ‘Michele’).

Three companies named Absoft

Kemp’s work history dating back to 1996 shows that she has been involved with a number of similarly named companies called Absoft.

Not only do ASIC records show that two Absoft businesses were placed under voluntary administration, but government records raise many other questions.

»Absoft Group: The company involved in the jewellery trade mark dispute in 2012 was Absoft Group of which Kemp was a director and secretary.

ASIC records show that Absoft Group was registered in 1998, had a strike-off action, and was placed under external administration in 2003. The company was deregistered in August 2020.

Related story: Skeletons in the closet: Everledger CEO’s bad faith practices under the microscope

Interestingly, there is no mention of the existence of this company in Kemp’s resume for the Chief Entrepreneur’s position even though Absoft Group appears to have operated for 22 years.

However, the Queensland Government documents do record two other positions held by Kemp in similarly named businesses - Absoft Qld and Absoft Holdings.

» Absoft Qld: Kemp was a director and secretary of Absoft Qld and ASIC records show it was first registered in 1998 and was placed under voluntary administration in November 2012. (The company changed its name to Naughtsncrosses Pty Ltd in 2004.)

The reasons for the company’s financial difficulty is unknown; however, it was deregistered in 2015. 

Interestingly, and although Kemp was a director until 2015, her resume with the Queensland government states that she ended her involvement with Absoft Qld in 2003 - 12 years earlier.

The issue that needs clarification is whether Queensland Premier Palaszczuk was aware in 2018 that a company owned by her newly appointed Chief Entrepreneur had been placed under voluntary administration.

Jeweller has contacted the Queensland Premier’s Office about the matter; however, they refused to offer ‘further comment’.

» Absoft Holdings: The third similarly named company listed under ‘Professional Experience’ in the Queensland government documents is Absoft Holdings and this is where Kemp’s claims become tested.

According to the resume details, she is listed as Absoft Holdings’ Founder and Managing Director - from January 1996 to December 2014.

Her Linkedin profile details the same 19-year stint at the company.

There are a number of inconsistencies with the claims about this business, which might concern the Queensland Premier and the Office of Chief Entrepreneur.

While the Queensland Government documents show Kemp as the managing director from 1996 until 2014; ASIC records state that the company was first registered on 22 November 2012 - 16 years after Kemp claims she started the company.

Further, the government documents detailing Kemp’s ‘Professional Experience’ seem to indicate, or at least suggest, that she had no further involvement in Absoft Holdings after December 2014.

This claim also does not accord with ASIC information, which lists Kemp as a current director and secretary of the company.

Indeed, as recently as 28 April this year - four days after the collapse of Everledger - ASIC records show a ‘request for correction’ filing by Kemp to rectify the spelling of her name.

If ASIC records are accurate, then the information for the appointment of Queensland Chief Entrepreneur is incorrect on two counts.

Kemp did not start the Absoft Holdings in 1996 and, rather than ceasing to be involved in the company in 2014, she appears to have remained a shareholder, director and secretary throughout her time as Chief Entrepreneur, even though her resume indicates otherwise.

More questions raised

The Queensland Government document states: “With extensive experience in emerging technology, business, jewellery and insurance, Leanne [Kemp] is pushing boundaries with Everledger, addressing real-world challenges through driving transparency and trust along global supply chains using emerging technology.”

As previously reported, Kemp has avoided all questions about trust and transparency over her own business activities.

Intriguingly, an inactive profile for a person named Leanne Michele at Phenix Jeweller still appears on Linkedin.
Intriguingly, an inactive profile for a person named Leanne Michele at Phenix Jeweller still appears on Linkedin.

These include questions about the collapse of Everledger which managed to achieve $AU5 million in losses during her tenure as Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur.

Jeweller contacted Kemp to raise questions about the various and similarly named Absoft businesses - including the details of Absoft Qld and Absoft Group being placed under voluntary administration.

At the time of publication she had not responded.

And as previously reported, rather ironically, the website of Kemp’s Absoft Group, which had been placed under external administration and eventually ceased business in August 2020, is still live and features Phenix Jewellery as a “partner”.

Since the collapse of Everledger in April and her UK business, Foreverhold Limited was placed into liquidation in May, Kemp has not acknowledged any questions raised about the management of the companies, the validity of the jewellery business model, the alleged misuse of third-party logos on the company’s website, or the issues of ‘bad faith’ findings by IP Australia.

However, since the loss of jobs and at least $AU54 million being ‘burned’ in the Everledger start-up, Kemp has continued to author articles and post on social media about the importance of trust, ethics and transparency in the jewellery industry.

She has also continued to lecture at industry events, including only last month at JCK Las Vegas.

Background reading
Jewelscan Pty Ltd v Phenix Jewellery Pty Ltd - Australian Trade Marks Office
Skeletons in the closet: Everledger CEO’s bad faith practices under the microscope

 

‘QUEENSLAND CHIEF ENTREPRENEUR OCTOBER 2018-19’

In December of 2019, the Queensland Government published documents relating to the appointment and extension of Leanne Kemp’s tenure at the Office of the Chief Entrepreneur. Kemp’s resume does not seem to accord with records at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and omits mention of Absoft Group, a company involved in a trade mark dispute which resulted in a damning decision.


 

More reading
Skeletons in the closet: Everledger CEO’s bad faith practices under the microscope
Lust for trust: Everledger in hot water for misuse of third-party logos
Everledger collapse places Queensland Government in firing line, CEO faced bankruptcy in 2004
Everledger collapse: Questions raised around business model, management
Second collapse in Everledger saga; CEO denies ‘cash-burning’
Australian diamond tracing tech company collapses
New blockchain platform can track pearl provenance and ownership
Australian-led start-up launches new blockchain platform

 

 











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