Saturday 29 July 2017

Unhappy families can be torn apart in the cut-throat world of business

Ben Dunne was sacked as chief executive of Dunnes Stores
Ben Dunne was sacked as chief executive of Dunnes Stores
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Shaws: A family bust up between the Shaw family behind the Irish department store chain threatened to rip the dynasty apart six years ago. Relations between two sides of the family soured as a dispute rumbled on over the valuation placed on the business.

Some shareholders threatened to sell their entire holding, raising the prospect of an outside investor coming in. But the downturn helped to focus minds, with a ceasefire in hostilities eventually reached. Last year, the rift was apparently sealed for good as a new generation of Shaws took control of the business, with four long-standing directors resigning.

Ward Anderson: It could have been a movie. The two families involved in the Dublin Cinema Group had a long-running dispute regarding their joint ownership of some of the country's best-known cinemas, which included the Savoy in Dublin. The dispute between the Ward and Anderson families stretched back to 1997 and a judge hearing the case in 2012 described it as "extraordinarily bitter". The epic relationship between the families - which stretched back about 70 years - was terminated in 2013 when they agreed to split about €31m of cinema assets.

Dunnes Stores: Cocaine, call-girls and a run-in with the local police. Hardly the kind of publicity the Dunnes family wanted when Ben Dunne - son of Dunnes founder Ben Snr - went off the rails during a stay in Orlando in 1992. He threatened to jump from the 18th storey of his hotel, was arrested and later paid a $5,000 fine for cocaine possession. It was an extraordinary fall from grace for Mr Dunne, who was sacked as chairman and chief executive at the business, now headed by his sister Margaret and brother Frank.

Irish Independent

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