Tuesday 6 December 2016

The Punt: Bertie must wish he was on Bill pay

Published 05/08/2015 | 02:30

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton listens to remarks of First Lady Laura Bush at the 2nd annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Wednesday, September 20, 2006. Photographer: Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg News.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton listens to remarks of First Lady Laura Bush at the 2nd annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York, Wednesday, September 20, 2006. Photographer: Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg News.

Bertie Ahern must wish he could command the earning power of former US president Bill Clinton.

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Both men are members of Dubai's cash-rich Varkey GEMS Foundation, which was established by businessman and philanthropist Sunny Varkey. The organisation helps to develop education resources for millions of underprivileged children around the world.

Clinton, right, was appointed chairman of GEMS Education in 2010, while Bertie Ahern also sits on the global advisory board of the Varkey GEMS Foundation.

Recent tax files released by the Clintons as Hillary Clinton chases the US presidency show that Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 by GEMS Education in 2011, $1.25m in 2012, $1.75m in 2013 and $2.1m in 2014.

GEMS operates more than 50 schools across 19 countries in the Middle East, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. According to 'Arabian Business', it generated $674.8m in revenue in the year to March.

Ahern told the Oireachtas banking inquiry last month that he had made mistakes during his time as Taoiseach and that "so does everyone who governs".

Just ask Bill.

Hurricane John blows into town

Its fair to assume John Hourican isn't gunning for the chief executive job at Ulster Bank, the only current vacancy at the top of the banking pile here.

In a blistering interview with London's 'Daily Telegraph', the Dublin-based banking troubleshooter lambasted the powers that be at his former employer, RBS, for their stewardship of the bank following its £45bn bailout.

"I think the board of RBS is utterly political and I don't think the minority shareholders are being well served by the agenda of the majority," Hourican, who used to run the RBS investment banking unit, told the newspaper.

The Irish banking whizz is on the look-out for a new job closer to his family home in leafy Ballsbridge, following a successful stint turning around Bank of Cyprus.

Jobs-wise, the 45-year-old appears to be open to just about anything as long as its reachable from Dublin. Hourican, who once described himself as an "accidental banker" said he'll look at leadership roles in any sector and isn't hung up on titles. Mind you, it is fair to assume the gig at RBS's local subsidiary Ulster Bank is not in his line of sight.

Not quite caviar and champagne

The definitive image of financial excess is probably Gordon Gekko telling the Teldar Paper AGM that greed was good, but there are plenty of other images: the (apocryphal?) tale of hedgies having a celebratory breakfast after they had driven Bear Stearns to collapse in 2008, the "food frenzy" Friday's of Liar's Poker.

Something tells us we won't remember the image of Tom Hayes, the former trader who has been sentenced to 14 years for manipulating Libor.

As recounted by industry website eFinancial Careers, Hayes slept under the same duvet cover that he had since he was eight years old, sat in a corner reading a book at the office Christmas party, and drank hot chocolate on nights out.

Like a lot of dealers though, Hayes, who had been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, had a superstitious streak: When he was on a winning run, he stopped washing. This sounds pretty awful, even by Wall Street or City standards. Reputedly he stopped attending video conferences because he looked more like a vagrant than a Master of the Universe. Not quite the Wolf of Wall Street we may have expected.

Irish Independent

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