Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Crisp of death

Crispin Odey is an interesting character. The hedge fund manager and Tory, then Christian Party, then Libertas, then UKIP, then Tory again funder often seems to crop up on the wrong side in corporate governance fights. But perhaps he's also a bit of a counter indicator.

To take just two examples, he was very public in support of James Murdoch's continuing chairmanship of BskyB after he was caught up in the NOTW hacking scandal:
"James is a great strategist and should remain chairman, but at the moment BSkyB has got too many News Corp appointees. They need to take one of the News Corp appointees off," Odey told the Telegraph.
A few months later this happened:
James Murdoch, once thought of as corporate heir apparent to his father Rupert, is stepping down as chairman of BSkyB after concluding it would be too damaging to stay on and risk a critical verdict from a British parliamentary inquiry into phone hacking.
He's also been a high-profile supporter of the efforts of the board of Sports Direct to give more money to Mike Ashley.

Here he is in 2012:
Speaking to City A.M., Odey said of Ashley: “He’s a genius. If only there were more entrepreneurs in the country then it would be a better game.” 
Sports Direct subsequently abandoned attempts to introduce an incentive scheme for Ashley in 2013, and pulled another this spring before it got to a vote.

Still, you can't keep a good man down, and Crisp was again public in support of a new incentive scheme that would give Mike Ashley... well... we don't know because the company wouldn't disclose who would get what. But here is Odey again:
Founding partner Crispin Odey told the Evening Standard: “I just think he is a genius but he is also someone who needs motivating and that is what we are happy to do.”
And you can guess the subsequent outcome:
Sports Direct International plc ("Sports Direct" or the "Group"), the UK's leading sports retailer, announces that Mike Ashley, Executive Deputy Chairman of Sports Direct, after discussion with the Remuneration Committee, has informed the Board that he does not wish to be awarded any shares under the 2015 Bonus Share Scheme.
Here's hoping he backs the Tories next year then.

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