Wednesday 21 February 2018

The Punt: Business and religion not always a match made in heaven

The former chairman of Britain's Co-operative Bank, Paul Flowers
The former chairman of Britain's Co-operative Bank, Paul Flowers

When business brains and religious aspirations collide, things don't always end well.

CNN's respected business presenter Charles Hodson discovered he had a "higher calling" and was ordained a Church of England curate just over a year ago.

Unhappily, he has now been dismissed from his church post having admitted an affair with a parishioner.

A highly regarded business broadcaster, and known for his forthright interview style, Hodson is a son of the economist and former 'Sunday Times' editor Henry Hodson.

His brothers Anthony and Daniel are a former deputy chief executive of the Nationwide Building Society a former chief executive London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange.

In a speech given to leading figures in London's City last January, he urged his audience to confess their wrongdoings and repent.

Last week, another man of the church ran into difficulties. Paul Flowers (pictured below), the former Methodist minister and boss of Britain's Coop Bank, which collapsed with €840m losses, was quizzed by police investigating alleged drugs offences and released on bail.

Video footgage of him allegedly purchasing cocaine in Leeds led to his suspension from the Methodist church and his being dubbed, perhaps inevitably, the 'crystal Methodist' by the 'Daily Mail'.


Our firms prove a hit in Europe

These days we Irish are used to returning from competitions in parts of the newly extended Europe without Eurovision medals.

But there was a reversal of fortunes, of sorts, at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in Vilnius this week as part of the 2013 SME Assembly organised jointly by the European Commission and the Lithuanian presidency of the Council of the European Union.

'Senior Enterprise', a joint submission from the Mid East Regional Authority and Fitzsimons Consultancy, won the Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills category at the glitzy ceremony.

The initiative is designed to encourage start-ups and involvement in business for the over-50s.

Project manager Paula Fitzsimons told us that 4,400 over-50s started a new business in 2012, while 10,000 of those in the same category invested in a business started by someone else in the same period.

A runner-up award went to the Student Enterprise Awards Programme as submitted by the city and county enterprise boards for the Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit category.


Moloney makes move to Coillte

COILLTE has quietly, with little fanfare, appointed John Moloney (pictured) as its new chairman. But the Punt doesn't miss a thing. And reading back on the highs and lows of his career, we've realised that the national forestry guardian couldn't have picked better. The former Glanbia managing director was made for the job.

After starting his career at the Department of Agriculture in 1987, Moloney joined a very different Glanbia than the thriving business we know today.

Following a path pioneered by Kerry Group, he transformed it from a domestically-focused dairy business into a global ingredients giant. It is now the biggest supplier of Italian-style cheese in America and its nutritionals business supplies protein supplements to the likes of Ireland rugby player Rob Kearney.

Coillte, which is facing a probable merger with Bord na Mona, is in real need of that type of innovative thinking.

And thankfully the Government has shelved plans to sell off harvesting rights concerning about one million acres of trees – so at least Moloney will have something to work with when he takes the reigns at its board.

Irish Independent

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