Business Irish

Tuesday 10 December 2019

The Punt - Abington plans causing grief

Hugh McGee is leaving Barclays
Hugh McGee is leaving Barclays

Some residents of the Abington estate in Malahide – nicknamed Millionaires' Row – are up in arms about a proposed development there, the Punt spies. Abington's residents' association is run by a company called Savaron, and the estate is privately tended, not having been handed over to the local council (heaven forbid).

Last year, financier Ronny Maiti and Suzanne Donohoe applied to the council for permission to build a house on a plot of land they bought in the estate. The plans call for a home whose scale is in keeping with the expansive houses in the estate, where former residents include former Anglo Irish Bank chief David Drumm.

The council approved plans, but the Abington residents' association has just appealed to An Bord Pleanala through Savaron.

Derek Cullen, managing agent for Savaron, insists that Mr Maiti and Ms Donohoe aren't members of the estate's management company or party to a deed of covenant with the management firm.

Therefore, he argues, they don't have permission to connect to the estate's services. He "fails to see how the applicants can be granted permission to undertake a development in our private estate".

But Savaron is also irked that the plans include a copper-clad roof (Ye gads! What were they thinking?!) and other finishes that are "alien to Abington". As Charlie Brown used to say: "Good grief."


UTV shops in RTE's store


ALL'S fair in love and television. UTV isn't taking any prisoners with the appointment of its Head of Channel anyway who'll be responsible for leading the Northern Ireland broadcaster's much feted new Republic-only station launching in January.

Mary Curtis has spent most of her career at UTV competitor RTE.

The public service broadcaster is second only to TV3 in terms of who is likely to lose most from enhanced competition.

She boasts very well-established TV credentials and senior management experience, most recently as Director of Digital Switchover with additional responsibility for RTE Television's digital strategy. She was previously Deputy Director for Television Programmes at RTE with responsibility for commissioning and programming. She left RTE last year and set out as a consultant.

This will undoubtedly be quite a different experience for the veteran – especially as just a fraction of UTV Ireland's content will be original, with most bought in.

She's also working in an industry that faces huge international competition, as Irish users increasingly opt for Netflix and other streaming services rather than the old stalwarts.


Hugh skips off happily


The Punt had to stifle a tear as it was confirmed yesterday that Hugh 'Skip' McGee is leaving Barclays as shareholders push the bank to curb bonuses.

Poor Skip will step down as chief executive officer of the bank's Americas division at the end of the month where he will be replaced by Joe Gold who is currently global head of client capital management.

The 54-year-old Lehman veteran, who could pull in $15m (€10.8m) a year, was one of the world's great champions of high pay for bankers and refreshingly unapologetic for the failures of the banking sector in the United States.

One wonders whether he will miss the penny pinching Brits at all. Old Skip only joined Barclays when he became part of the team that sold Lehman's US units to the London bank in 2008 and then negotiated an agreement to stay.

He may miss good old Lehman but it was not all scraping and making do. In March, McGee received a further £8.87m (€10.8m) in shares.

Barclays' Chairman David Walker was forced to defend the bonuses paid to investment bankers as recently as last week when a quarter of the bank's shareholders voted at the bank's annual general meeting against pay packages awarded to executives for 2013.


Irish Independent

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