Caught in the middle of turf war between senior figures of biggest client. Getting conflicting instructions from each and both relationships deteriorating. What do I do?

Throwaway account because my main account can identify my business. This is going to be a long one as it's me blowing off some steam to some extent. If you get to the end, thank you for reading. This has the potential to destroy my company and I'm not sure what to do.

We're a software development company that caters mostly to fintechs, and our biggest client is a currency transfer company. We built their core platform which allows individuals and businesses to make payments in different currencies. About 6 months ago, they get a lot of funding and embark on a big new project: an entirely new version of their platform. It's a huge, exciting project for us and we made a couple of hires based on their budget. It's a huge stepping stone for us.

Things start to take a down turn when their managing director ends up in hospital having brain surgery. He is now less involved in the company, but we continue to have dev meetings with him. Their office is in chaos: their staff are trying desperately to maintain his client relationships (a significant % of their revenue are a few high net worth people that the MD knows personally), invoices get missed, some of their internal processes go down because only he knows how to handle it. Their Chief Commercial Officer takes over the day-to-day and to his credit pulls things together.

Here's the problem: he's a salesman, and the bottom line is everything. However, we're putting all our dev time into building a new platform – it's a huge project and isn't going to be ready for a few months. He needs results now.

He hires in sales and marketing. They're working with the old version of the platform, which is quite clunky. They bought the platform from another of our clients and they have different requirements – so it doesn't quite do what they need it to. In addition, the platform has a few quite serious issues over a couple of weeks due to no fault of ours (one of the providers we talk to is having issues). Their staff get discontented, we get tons of requests for new features.

I'm now having two meetings per week – once in their office, and once with their MD. Their MD says nothing has changed, and we stick with the plan of developing the new platform and doing no work whatsoever on the old platform. Our office meetings become increasingly tense – I'm telling their staff that we will not be implementing most of their changes, they don't see any new dev work, and the person running the office keeps getting our invoices at the same time that they're increasingly burning through cash.

I now have no idea who's actually in charge. The managing director's job title changes to "Head of Innovation". He tells us that the absolute priority is the new platform, that the budget is still the same (high) amount because we need to deliver as soon as possible, and that the investors back him up on this. The person in charge of the office tells us that we need to focus on improving the old platform so that they can sell it, that the budget needs to be much lower (£10k per month lower than the MD said) – and that the investors back him up on that.

At this point I'm getting directly contradictory pieces of information, and there's no way I can handle £10k p/m of uncertainty, so I confront the MD about this. From what I hear both of them had a serious confrontation. I have little information about this, but the result was that they are going to cut the running costs in the office – likely by letting some sales staff go.

How do I repair this relationship? I'm dreading the next office meeting. They already think that we are overpaid and deliver a poor product. That isn't the case but with a dysfunctional atmosphere, falling revenues and nobody there to fight our corner, we are becoming the scapegoat. Now we're the reason someone got fired. The MD and the CCO are fighting a turf war and we're getting in the middle of it. Losing this client would be a huge hit for us and I think if the office side wins that could become a reality.


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