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CSIRO CEO, Facing Questions About His Past + Laser TV Technology

Dr Larry Marshall, the executive who back in 2006 told the world that Laser TV technology was set to replace plasma, and that his Company was at the cutting edge in display technology is today the CEO of the CSIRO despite a questionable past working for a Company called Arasor that went belly up.

A visit to the CSIRO web site today, reveals a stellar past for Marshall who was appointed to the top job at the CSIRO in January 2015.

Missing from his resume is the fact that Marshall and his prior employee Arasor are now being sued over the collapse of a Company that SmartHouse challenged over questionable claims back in 2006.

Back then Marshall hired a group of spin doctors called Professional Public Relations (PPR) this is the same Company who are currently having to re pitch the McDonalds Account.

Here are two prior smartHouse stories.


Story 2

At the time, Marshall was telling anyone who would listen that his Company was set to revolutionise TV viewing by launching Laser TV technology.

I was the only journalist at a packed press conference who challenged Marshalls claims.

He said that Mitsubishi were set to roll out Laser TV’s with Arasor developed technology.

It never happened and Mitsubishi locally denied any involvement with Marshall or Arasor.

Marshall refused at the then press conference to let SmartHouse look at the rear of the so called Laser TV’s.

He refused to say how much capital manufacturers would have to put up to manufacture volume production of laser TV’s.

What he did say was that Laser TV technology would replace Plasma TV technology.

This also never happened.

Arasor claimed that they had revenue of $117m and claimed it was due to make a profit by the end of that year.

This also never happened.

Marshall and other Directors at Arasor claimed Arasor’s revenue “had ­increased by 295 per cent” and this would be largely derived from the sale of its products to Indian and Chinese telecommunications companies.
This never eventuated.

His involvement with Arasor and his chequered past is also missing from his glowing profile on Wikipedia.

Ten years on Marshall who even back in his Arasor days managed to extract funding from the Federal Government has a plum job running the CSIRO while shareholders in Arasor are still trying to sue Arasor that collapsed after a disastrous $81M float.

At the time that Marshall was spruiking his Laser TV Technology I put it to him that the press conference run by PPR was basically a PR stunt to raise awareness for his float.

He disagreed.

The Australian recently reported that a group of Arasor shareholders named Caason Investments claimed that Dr Marshall was a central figure in the company’s collapse, alleging he and other directors engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, as well as serious breaches of the Corporations and ASIC acts in relation to the company’s financial reports and a disastrous $81 million float.

Arasor investors can now argue the company directors were guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct under the Corporations Act despite having not read the prospectus or financial reports issued to the market.

Arasor listed on the ASX in late 2006, with three separate capital raisings between the initial public offering and August 2007 worth a total of $81m.

Despite initial investor interest in the laser technology, Arasor ended up being a financial disaster, with the company delisting in 2011 and going into liquidation shortly after.

In an ongoing claim before the Federal Court, it is alleged Dr Marshall, former Arasor executive chairman Simon Cao and other directors produced highly misleading prospectuses and financial reports prior to the three capital raisings.

It is claimed the documents hid Arasor’s disastrous profit outlook and falsely claimed the company was on track for millions of dollars in profit.

The group of shareholders also alleges that Arasor directors misled investors in the financial reports and prospectuses about tens of millions of dollars in contracts supposedly guaranteed by Indian and Chinese buyers for the lasers that, in reality, were not completed or never existed.

Back in 2007, Arasor recorded a 16.7 million losses on $117 million in revenue. Consequently, at its 15 May AGM, the company said that it is “terminating” employees and consultants, closing down locations and exiting businesses to reverse this trend.

This also never happened with the Company eventually collapsing.

Desperate for success, Arasor increasingly pinned its hopes on laser displays, in advance of Mitsubishi Electric’s US launch of its Laservue television which SmartHouse at the time was the only Australian publication invited to the launch.

Arasor has previously provided Mitsubishi’s light engine suppliers with lasers made by Novalux, whose purchase Arasor completed on May 8 2007.

Marshall was also the architect behind a $1.5 million government grant to Arasor’s Bandwidth Foundry subsidiary for the commercialisation of laser projection.

Arasor at the time said that that the funds will help it make the most of the Novalux acquisition and its ongoing joint venture with ZTE International for laser displays.

All of this came to nothing and Marshall m oved on to be appointed as the boss of CSIRO.

We have asked the CSIRO for comment but at the time of publishing we have not had a response.

The so called Laser Technology was eventually sold to Sydney University for $1.

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