Lai See

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 September, 2010, 12:00am

Hot favourite for HSBC top post gets hot under the collar

We all know that 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned', but it seems the same can be said of HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan (below), who, according to the Financial Times, is exceedingly displeased at the prospect of being passed over for the vacant post of chairman.

According to the newspaper, he was so angered after being told the board was not prepared to give him the chairmanship that he threatened to quit.

He was reportedly particularly niggled at the prospect of former Goldman Sachs banker John Thornton getting the job, which is unfortunate since he is the hot favourite. People close to Geoghegan attempted to play down the outburst, saying he had a 'famously hot temper'.

Just what you need in a chairman.

Ogilvy to the rescue

The reputation of the Hong Kong Real Estate Developers Association (Reda) has taken a beating in recent months, with accusations that the body lacks transparency and rubber-stamps its members' activities rather than actually regulating them.

This has finally dawned on Reda which had the bright idea of hiring Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, according to Asia Property, to clean up its image along with that of the real estate industry. We know Ogilvy is good but is it that good?

Disney characters

Now this really was a Mickey Mouse crime: Bonnie Hoxie, a former assistant to Walt Disney's corporate communications chief, Zenia Mucha, has admitted in court that she tried to sell confidential earnings information in a scheme with her boyfriend. Hoxie, who was employed as Mucha's secretary, admitted to passing information about Disney's quarterly earnings to her boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag, who planned to sell the information to investors.

Prosecutors said Sebbag sent letters to at least 33 investment companies, offering to sell confidential earnings information about Disney. 'Hi, I have access to DISNEY'S quarterly earnings report before its release on 05/03/10,' one of the letters said, according to prosecutors. 'I am willing to share this information for a fee that we can determine later. I am sorry but I can't disclose my identity for confidentiality reasons but we can correspond by e-mail if you would like to discuss it.'

Unfortunately for Hoxie and Sebbag, the hedge-fund traders they met turned out to be undercover FBI agents. Disney co-operated with the investigation.

What makes a good banker

When asked to tell an interview board 'something remarkable' it pays to be circumspect. tells the story of a candidate at a third-round interview for a US investment bank who was asked, 'Tell us something remarkable.'

The candidate blurted out, 'I have been dating my girlfriend for three years at university and have never been faithful, and she has never once found out. That is remarkable.'

This did not go down as well as expected with the head interviewer responding, 'I cannot put this simpler: banking involves trust and integrity. You have just blown this interview.'

However, as one wag pointed out, if the candidate had simply told the head interviewer rather than the whole panel he would probably have been hired instantly for possessing exactly the qualities the industry has long relied on - behind the carefully cultivated facade of trust and so on.

All in the family

We see that Michael Wu, chairman and CEO of Maxim's Caterers, has joined the Hang Seng Bank board as an independent non-executive director, for which he receives the sum of HK$280,000 a year. Such is the tightness of the non-exec club in Hong Kong it's hard to avoid bumping into family connections. Wu's wife is the niece of Dr Vincent HS Lo, who is also on the board as a non-executive director.

Wanna bet?

Michael O'Leary (below), the man constantly thinking of new ways to shave costs at 30,000 feet, is back in the news again. This time, he's moved to allay concerns - or dash hopes on the part of Aer Lingus - that he might be moving on.

O'Leary said he expects to remain chief executive of Ryanair until the next dividend is paid. 'If I was a betting man the next dividend won't be for a number of years yet,' he told investors at the company's annual meeting in Dublin yesterday.