Tuesday 24 April 2018

The Punt: Campbell  Vs Roberts

Alastair Campbell
Alastair Campbell

IBEC's annual CEO conference got very interesting yesterday as two of its main speakers got a little tetchy with one another. 

There was noticeable friction between US journalist and commentator Cal Roberts, who decried big government and the US's in particular, and former Tony Blair spindoctor, Alastair Campbell (pictured).

Roberts, who took to the podium after Campbell, was quick to take umbrage with the latter's dismissive assessment of Boris Johnson. Then when the two men sat side by side for a panel discussion, proceedings got a little more interesting.

Campbell dismissed Roberts' argument against big government, and talked about how "scared" he was about the nature of politics in the US.

Campbell is a fan of Hilary Clinton, who Roberts said "has not achieved anything". This irked Campbell who asked whether Roberts was supporting Donald Trump.

"That's the choice. You've got to make a choice," Campbell exclaimed.

To which Roberts replied: "Let's not get into Tony Blair's record".

Unfortunately, moderator Gina London shut the back-and-forth down, as while interesting, it didn't have anything to do with the topic of business.

For the record, Roberts went on to dismiss Trump also, so it's not clear who he'll be backing.

The Punt: Ex-CRH exec eyes IPO

Siteone Landscape Supply, the largest wholesale distributor of landscape supplies in the US, is continuing to gear up for a New York stock market flotation. It signalled the move last year with a filing, but has amended it this week, adding further underwriters.

The company, formerly John Deere Landscapes, is headed by Doug Black, the ex-chief operating officer of Oldcastle, the US unit of Irish building materials giant CRH. Black joined Siteone as chief executive in April 2014, having announced his departure from Oldcastle in September 2013. He had joined Oldcastle in 1995, and had played an instrumental role in expanding CRH's US operations. Siteone says that Black helped grow net sales at Oldcastle over 10-fold, and oversaw more than 100 acquisitions during his time there.

Another former CRH executive is also working at Siteone as its executive vice president of strategy and development. Pascal Convers was also senior vice president of strategy and development at Oldcastle from 2009 to 2014, and also served as CRH's managing director for its concrete operations in France.

And just to keep it all in the family: Among Siteone's biggest suppliers in the United States is Oldcastle.

Did you get the press release?

The Punt's former colleague Sarah Stack has washed up on the media dark side. The veteran journalist has taken up a new role as account director in corporate public relations at Gibney Communications.

Stack worked on the Business desk at INM at one stage, reporting for the Irish and Sunday Independent, and was most recently assistant news editor at the Irish Independent

With more than 15 years' experience in busy roles across both print and online Stack knows the pressures of the modern news industry. That's why the Punt is confident she won't become one of that army of flacks who for reasons unfathomable can't keep themselves from calling up to enquire whether or not the Punt got their press release?

Hint: we did, but it bored us. And we were in the middle of something. And now we're distracted and its your fault, and now we hate you for it.

Gibneys has also announced the promotion of Karen Jones to PR account director. An experienced public relations consultant Karen advises clients in the corporate and financial services, semi-state, retail and transport sectors.

Prior to joining Gibney Communications in 2007 she worked in-house with German telecommunications provider Mox Telecom, and worked with Tourism Ireland in Stockholm as part of an IBEC graduate placement programme.

Irish Independent

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business