Friday, March 13, 2009

Shane Ross's IN&M & BOI dilemma

Shane Ross is on the horns of a dilemma

Picture the scene: Shane Ross in front of the wife’s full-length bedroom mirror, for the umpteenth time practising his impromptu and unrehearsed verbal assault planned for the Bank of Ireland board at the banks EGM at the end of this month.

His climactic finale is a call for the Governor, Richard Burrows, and the entire board to publicly offer an abject apology to shareholders as a preamble to tendering their collective resignations.

Then, on Morning Ireland, he hears the dreaded news:
Independent News & Media - O’Reilly out, O’Brien's people in.

What to do?
Denis O’Brien will, as a director, be sitting at that Bank of Ireland top table. Ross has already used his poison pen in the Sindo to besmirch the reputation of the new power behind the throne. Will he risk attacking O’Brien for his role in Bank of Ireland?

On the evidence to date, Ross will do a major rewrite of that Bank of Ireland address.

After all, Ross has self-serving history in this regard. He’s always brown-nosed Sir Anthony, regardless of his many business failure (e.g. Fitzwilton, WW, now IN&M in danger) or scandal (e.g. Rennicks payments featuring in tribunal).

Ross has never mentioned that IN&M share price has collapsed by over 95% since the peak about 2 years ago – almost as bad as a bank.

Never a critical word about the perennially loss-making London Independent, another expensive Sir Anthony vanity project.

For a man who’s always rabbiting on about the incestuous nature of Irish boardrooms, Ross has never commented critically on the IN&M boardroom, where for a long period Sir Anthony was both Chairman & Chief Executive, with a bloated board filled with O’Reilly family members and old and faithful retainers who were never likely to ask an awkward question.

So I’m betting that the valiant Senator will do a major rewrite of his speech, removing from it any implied criticism of the independent directors, which would include Denis O’Brien.
Any attack will be focused specifically on Governor Burrows and the Executive directors.

Frankly, I hope O’Brien fires Ross and gets someone who actually knows something business and economics to replace the populist tosser.

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