Lark Distilling CEO steps down after video emerges

February 16, 2022
By Ioni Doherty

Lark Distilling’s CEO and Managing Director, Geoff Bainbridge has stepped down from his post with immediate effect after a video has emerged of him smoking a methamphetamine pipe.

Laura McBain (pictured below), current Non-Executive Director of Lark has assumed the role of interim Managing Director, with fellow Directors David Dearie and Warren Randall continuing as Chair and Non-Executive Director immediately.

Mr Bainbridge has expressed deep regret about the incident which took place prior to his appointment as CEO of Lark Distillery and which saw him become the victim of extortion.

In a statement, Mr Bainbridge said, “I attended a gathering with people I didn’t know and don’t remember much more about that night. However, the next morning I was played footage which made it clear I had been set up as part of a shakedown,” he said.

“Following the incident, due to this captured content I have been the subject of a sophisticated, continuing and recently escalated extortion.”

At the advice of a London-based threat assessment agency, Mr Bainbridge ceased paying his extortionists which he says prompted the release of the video.

“Although I consider myself a victim of a crime, I accept that I am also responsible for the circumstances I find myself in. Ultimately, I put myself in a situation I shouldn’t have been in. I’m a victim of extortion but that wouldn’t have occurred without my poor judgement. I am deeply remorseful for my own actions,″ said Mr Bainbridge.

The ASX announcement from Lark Distilling says that Mr Bainbridge’s departure from the business is “to enable him to manage a personal matter that was brought to the attention of the Board” on Tuesday night.

The video was published by The Australian on Wednesday.

The company’s last annual report included the advice that in its 30th anniversary year, Lark was in the throes of a “CEO/COO Succession plan”. This will now be accelerated, says Lark.

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