Business Irish

Saturday 18 November 2017

Fallon transformed 'Euromoney' magazine -- and business journalism

PADRAIC Fallon, who has died of cancer aged 66, was renowned in the world of financial journalism for transforming the magazine 'Euromoney' into the most authoritative and lively voice on international banking and finance, and the centre of a publishing empire with a current market value of £800m (€986m).

A former journalist at the 'Daily Mirror' and the 'Daily Mail', Fallon was appointed editor of the fledgling title in 1974, when the magazine was making just £20,000 a year, and played a key role alongside its founder, Patrick Sergeant, in building its circulation.

By judicious flattery of the leading players of the emerging Eurobond market, by making itself a journal of record for their deals, by attracting acres of "tombstone" (bond-issue announcement) advertising -- and through sheer hard work -- 'Euromoney' grew into a spectacular financial success.

In due course it spawned subsidiary titles and information services, as well as an international conference arm.

It won two Queen's Awards for export achievement, and its cachet was further enhanced by the invention of 'Euromoney' awards such as "Finance Minister of the Year" and "Central Bank Governor of the Year".

Fallon was, successively, 'Euromoney's' managing director, chief executive and, from 1992, chairman.

The empire he built up under the title 'Euromoney Institutional Investor' now publishes 100 specialist magazines in law, finance, aviation and pharmaceuticals.

Though engagingly old-fashioned and courteous in manner, Fallon always kept abreast of the latest technology. In recent times he embraced the digital revolution and developed what has become known as "data mining" -- websites with unique access to business information.

Although he pulled off the rare trick of making a successful transition from journalism to running a business, Fallon remained a writer at heart; and it was the magazine's reputation for lively and provocative journalism that underpinned 'Euromoney's' success.

A stickler for good writing and with a copy editor's eye for detail, he believed that financial journalism should be just as readable and exciting as any other form of journalism, and his key insight was that financial markets are driven not by impersonal economic forces but by personalities.

It was his ability to make individuals tell their own stories that made his own writing so compelling and which won him, in 1981, a Wincott Special Award for outstanding financial journalism.

As well as his roles on the management side of 'Euromoney', Fallon was also editor-in-chief of the magazine, a role he took extremely seriously.

Although intolerant of sloppy or careless reporting, he would always stand by a writer and a story as long as it was fair and accurate. The 'Euromoney' "style guide", which he created, was required reading for all employees, and because many of today's leading financial journalists have been through the magazine's graduate trainee scheme, his influence on financial journalism has spread across a wider canvas.

The youngest of six sons, Padraic Matthew Fallon was born in Co Wexford on September 21, 1946 into a family of writers, journalists and artists. He was educated at St Peter's College, Wexford, and Blackrock College, Co Dublin.

His father, also called Padraic, was a well-known poet and playwright, and it was he who urged his two youngest sons (the other is Ivan Fallon, former Independent News & Media executive) to consider a career in business.

"He told my brother and I: 'We have got enough artists, writers in the family. Why don't you go and become more business oriented?'," Padraic recalled in an interview.

Trinity

"So both of us went to Trinity College in Dublin and instead of reading English or history, we did business studies."

After graduation, Padraic Fallon began his career as a sub-editor in Dublin before moving to London in 1969. He worked first as a financial journalist at Thomson Regional Newspapers and then moved to the 'Daily Mirror', leaving after a couple of years to join the 'Daily Mail', whose City editor, Patrick Sergeant, had founded 'Euromoney' in 1969.

Sergeant later described his decision to appoint Fallon to the editor's chair as "the best thing I ever did for Euromoney".

Fallon served as a director of Daily Mail and General Trust , and as a director of Allied Irish Banks from 1998 until May 2007, when he resigned, having become increasingly alarmed at the lending policies of Irish banks.

A lover of fine cigars, good food and good wine (his favourite restaurant was the Savoy Grill -- until it was taken over by Gordon Ramsay), Fallon was held in great affection by his colleagues for his kindness and boundless energy.

He would show the same courtesy to a junior clerk or rookie reporter as to a captain of industry, and his conversation would skip merrily from business to Irish poetry and from office gossip to fly fishing.

Fallon was the author of three novels, including 'Hymn of the Dawn', based on fond memories of a childhood summer in Wexford, and 'The Circles of Archimedes', inspired by the life of the great scientist, which won praise for its "striking boldness and genuine originality".

Padraic Fallon married, in 1972, Gillian Hellyer, who survives him with their son and three daughters.

Padraic Fallon, born September 21, 1946, died October 14, 2012 (Telegraph)

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