Sunday, 8 January 2012

Entrepreneuricus Hibernicus turns toes up

A titan of Irish business passed away this week. Alex Spain, for it was he, headed up many of Ireland’s top companies in a long and richly-rewarded career. He was famous for his decisiveness and didn’t tolerate fools gladly. He drummed his fingers impatiently on the boardroom table as his quaking underlings, fixed by his cold gimlet eye, delivered their spiels.

The ensuing instructions were invariably rapid, decisive, clearcut. And catastrophically wrong. His first major task was to take over Irish Shipping in the eighties. His fees for this were so enormous that a special ‘vehicle’ (Zeus Management) was set up to get around awkward pay restrictions. His impact on Irish Shipping was like that of a fleet of German submarines, and soon the company had gone to a watery grave.

Fresh from this accomplishment he was snapped up to take over Xtravision, Ireland’s largest video rental company (which also had a huge property portfolio). Same result, company down the tubes within a few years. And so it went, Alex headhunted to take over company after company, as one after another they bit the dust and/or or ended up in all sorts of legal trouble.

But it never held the bold Alex back. He retired, a wealthy man, feted by all and sundry for his ‘services’ to Irish business. And the mourners at his funeral represented the great and good of Irish business, the people who ran the banks into the ground, financial regulators and all the rest. I bet they took time out to congratulate one another on their ‘contributions’ over the years.


Entrepreneuricus Hibernicus: We fail, you pay .

22 comments:

Franz said...

So you have that type of "entrepreneur" in Ireland as well, huh?

Ditto over here in Germany. Guys who reliably run companies into the ground command a huge premium. The MSM tells us that they need to have those bonuses or else these titans of industry would leave to ruin somebody else's econonmy. The horror!

kulak said...

Heh heh. A sinking toy boat.

Corkonian said...

You know savant I was thinking exactly the same thing looking at the photo of the 'mourners' at his funeral. One fucking disaster after another, and all now retired in great comfort.

Anonymous said...

Al "Chainsaw" Dunlop

Stan O'Neal turned up some place else after his Merrill Lynch exploits did not put anyone else off hiring a guy whose respose to be told being his company was in trouble was to go off golfing!

SIR Peter Davis proved the rule that when the CEO goes about using the advertising budget to promote themselves rather than the company it is going down the tubes.

Carly Fiorina proved the rule that when the CEO goes about using the advertising budget to promote themselves rather than the company it is going down the tubes.



It only took two failures to show that Roy Keane was not up to managing a football club which begs the question "why do football clubs have higher standards for their management than multi-million companies?"

Piet said...

"why do football clubs have higher standards for their management than multi-million companies?"

Actually that's a great question. And it's true. In football management you succeed or you're out. That's why you don't see any porch monkeys in that role.

Anonymous said...

Have to disagree re the football chaps. Nowadays Sir Alex would have been sacked before he got the chance to win the 1990 FA Cup.

Anonymous said...

I was involved in two of these scenarios as an employee and one as a partner. Very much a South African phenomenon.

Discretion (and a possible lawsuit) prevents me from naming a guy called Alan Tiley in the advertising game in South Africa.

Like Lincoln's most incompetent general, Ambrose Burnside -- removed from command after the Battle of Fredricksbrug -- he was renowned for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

I personally sat in three presentations, watching this dolt not only lose the campaign presentation ... but the client as well.

The amazing thing was that he had already driven two ad agencies into bankruptcy and brought a third to its knees -- before being hired by the senior partner.

When I asked the senior partner why ... his response? "The man has contacts. Don't ask me how."

I have not figured it to this day.

UN
.

Anonymous said...

Quick query, Savant.

I have had several posts vanish into the ether over the last week or two.

Anyone else have this problem?

Cheers.
Uncle Nasty
.

SAVANT said...

UN - can assure you that I published any I got. But wouldn't surprise me. I feel that the site is being continually sabotaged, posts deleted, indexing screwed up, numerous editing features disabled etc. Can't prove that any of this is deliberate but don't knw any other sites suffering the same problems.

Croesus said...

I knew Alex Spain, Savant. He wasn't a bad guy really. You make him out to be an ogre. He wasn't. But yes, he screwed up several companies and it never held him back.

Rob said...

Anon 18:17:
It only took two failures to show that Roy Keane was not up to managing a football club which begs the question "why do football clubs have higher standards for their management than multi-million companies?"

I think one reason is the government will never bail out or otherwise subsidise a football club. They sink or swim on their own merits. No football club is too big to fail.

Corkonian said...

Excellent writing Savant, once again.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of Alex Spain until he died,but,as with Corkonian,I too noticed the number of Titans of Industry amongst the "mourners".

Incidentally,a couple of years ago,the wife of one of the most prominent "mourners" presented a forged prescription at my daughters pharmacy.

Mental confusion apparently.

mr.a

get whitey! said...

Vicious Nazi cell operating within Fine Gael, scandal!!

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/fg-councillor-removes-wifes-nazi-salute-from-facebook-2983168.html

This is the headline news in today's Irish Independent. I kid you not!

Anonymous said...

Antony Worral Thompson arrested for shoplifting? eady Steady CRook.

He gets a caution however were he to refer to a Black pudding and someone thought he was racismly sexismly referring to Dianne Abbot as anyone can deem anything racist should they feel fit to be offended he would be doing porridge.

And I do not mean a remke of Ronnie Barker's sit-com!

kulak said...

OT

So I sent the wife the C|Net article about Microsoft's "Avoid Ghetto" patent.

Wife: Is it really called that?

Me: No, but everybody knows what it means.

Wife: You just say that because you didn't grow up in an all-white really bad neighborhood.

Me: Like Manhattan?

Kevin Rafferty said...

@get whitey - the Indo shows again what noble anti-racist they are. As if they needed to.

Franz said...

Totally unrelated, but astonishing nonetheless:

Poland.

In 2010, Polish eurosceptic and "populist" politician Andrzej Lepper allegedly blew his brains out.

The same year the President of Poland Lech Kaczynski and 95 members of the conservative polish elite perished in a plane crash.

Accident or accidented?

Today, the prosecutor Mikolaj Przybyl, charged with answering this very question holds a press conference.

In the middle of it, Przybyl politely asks reporters to leave the room for a quick break and then proceeds to blow his brains out.

Cameras were still rolling, so audio of the fatal shot was recorded.

Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20jFds-rfgs

Funny, so many prominent Poles perishing lately. And every time it is just so convenient for our Brussels overlords.

This is truly beyond surreal and I bet not one in a hundred citizens of the European Union has heard of it.

The MSM doesn't want to confuse und frighten the poor dears.

Olda said...

Franz in fairness I do not think this events were conspiring. Lepper was known to be in a poor state of mind and even the Russkies don't think anything was done to make the plane crash an accident.

Franz said...

@ Olda

Are you from Poland? It would be reassuring to hear that the EU hasn't yet started whacking its oponents in the periphery.

At this stage, I wouldn't put it past them.

kulak said...

Franz,

In the middle of it, Przybyl politely asks reporters to leave the room for a quick break and then proceeds to blow his brains out.

He survived. Bad aim.

'Bounty'

He told the agency that threats had been made against him in connection with past investigations, although he did not specify who he thought was behind the threats.

"I could accept that they destroyed my car, loosened my wheels so I would kill myself. There was a million zloty ($300,000; £194,000) bounty on my head. They killed my dog," he said.

"I could not deal with the attacks related with accusations of illegal actions."

Olda said...

Franz - I am Czech! I have now changed my mind a bit since the suicide of that prosecutor. WHat's going on????