Sunday 19 November 2017

TH€ PUNT: No hurdle too high for Paddy

PADDY Power is bulking up its PR team. The gambling giant is seeking a new head of external relations for its London office, to join its newly formed corporate affairs team. The successful candidate will need communications and PR experience and will be tasked with networking, advising senior leadership and coming up with PR campaigns.

The Punt is already fond of Paddy Power's current PR team; among other things they have provided odds on such minority sports as who will be the new financial regulator.

But it seems this new appointment is directed more at establishing a relationship with the UK government than fostering ties with the press. "The requirement to understand and build political relationships in established, new or prospective markets is key," says the job specification for the role. Experience needed includes "excellent knowledge and understanding of the workings of UK and European institutions".

One of the aims of the job is to deepen Paddy Power's relationships with UK government departments and with influential MPs and ministers.

We must say, a massive gambling company trying to lobby some of the world's most powerful governments smacks of the heady days of the boom. But Paddy Power is nothing short of an employment power-house – it employs more than 1,000 people in this country alone. It makes sense that a company of this size would seek a relationship with government.


Blackstone's deep 'green' links

Has Blackstone chief executive Steve Schwartzman, below, had his fill of Irish investments?

The US billionaire's global business empire has the dominant stake in Eircom, owns one of Ireland's most successful finance houses in the shape of Harbourmaster and recently bought the Burlington Hotel for a neat €67m.

Surely that's enough to keep any mogul happy for the time being, you might be inclined to think?

Perhaps not. The Punt understands that Blackstone's GSO unit, which happens to be the world's biggest property investor, will name its latest vehicle after Dublin's poshest green space, Herbert Park in leafy Dublin 4.

The €410m Herbert Park collatoralised loan obligation (CLO) will be used to bundle up masses of loans held, or indeed bought, by GSO. If the name is anything to go by we can anticipate some high-end Irish assets in that mix.

Of course, Blackstone's Irish links go much deeper than just its acquisitions.

One-time Greencore boss Gerry Murphy is the chairman of the Blackstone Group International Partners, the firm's main European arm, and a native son of these shores.

London-based Murphy keeps a low profile, but his Blackstone gig and a string of international directorships as long as your arm makes him one of corporate Ireland's great export success stories.


Tighe on crest of a radio wave

THE broadcasting industry is so hot at the moment it's radioactive. Hours after Newstalk announced the appointment of a new chief executive, Independent Radio Sales has done the same. David Tighe will now head up the agency, which sells itself as a one-stop-shop for independent Irish radio stations that want to bulk up their stream of advertising. He joins at a promising time for such stations.

Research shows RTE broadcasters such as Marian Finucane and Derek Mooney are losing listeners, while local and regional stations are keeping their audiences.

Mr Tighe is a veteran of the industry. Prior experience includes stints as chief executive at Radio Nova and Limerick Live 95FM. He is a former chairman of the Independent Broadcaster of Ireland, an organisation that has long fought for the rights of independent broadcasters, particularly in terms of access to funding from the TV licence fee. He has also managed teams that have won multiple PPI and World Radio awards.

Irish Independent

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