Does the City never learn? Simon Fox to head up Trinity Mirror?! Unbelievable

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Simon Fox

News that the “wily” Mr Fox – the architect of a £1bn (yes that’s billion) decimation of shareholder value while at the helm of HMV for 6 years – the very same chap that bought Waterstones for £300m and sold it for £53m, the self same one that bought Ottakars for £63m and sold it as part of the Waterstones sale, who was part of the executive team that turned down a 195p bid by Permira in 2005 (that’s not a misprint) is to head up Trinity Mirror on a £2m one year package, has even a seasoned and jaded investor like me completely and utterley perplexed at the mentality of the City.

How on earth can an individual who so misjudged the music industry and its migration on-line, who made an acquisition of Mama Group in 2009 for £46m in cash and then was forced to go cap in hand to the bank 2 years later in order to save the company that was pushed to the brink of administration be given such a role and on such a pay packet? To me, this speaks volumes about all that is wrong with the City and the “old boy’s network” and the merry go-round of non exec directors feathering everybody’s nest. It almost makes you wish for a revolution. The entire situation illustrates very vividly how directors of many public companies get paid handsomely, for what I do not know, and when it goes wrong seem to walk away with impunity leaving shareholders to pick up the mess. JJB, Mouchel, Plus Markets et al… the list is endless it seems.

In what other business environment can you make such a monumental business failure and then walk into an inordinately paid new role? If I ran a business into the ground I would no doubt get short-shrift from the banks if I wished to start a new one and similarly if I have a CV akin to Mr Fox’s in recent years I very much doubt I would get a new job…

Just what does management have to do in order to be pilloried and made to suffer like their shareholders? I despair this morning at the City and question the sanity and wisdom of the Board of Trinity Mirror.

Mr Fox’s legacy in all it’s glory


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