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NAB boss Andrew Thorburn hoping it's Scotland the not so brave

NAB boss Andrew Thorburn hoping it's Scotland the not so brave

NAB's new broom Andrew Thorburn probably had enough on his plate already and didn't really need to think of a Scottish independence vote this week.

A Yes vote is unequivocally bad news for NAB and its Scottish subsidiary Clydesdale, which may then become part of a nation that won't have the financial clout to back its outsized finance industry.

It might be forced to join the banking exodus to London. Whatever the outcome, a solution won't be cheap for NAB, which is itching to bury its offshore adventures.

"It's not in Scotland or England's interest to have a catastrophic outcome, if it is a yes vote," was the parting comment of Thorburn's recent predecessor Cameron Clyne.

Thorburn isn't getting any help from our British expats either.

ANZ boss Mike Smith and Suncorp counterpart Patrick Snowball were not keen to share their views on Scottish independence with CBD.

Changing the guard?

News Corp's man in New York, Col Allan, is home apparently and already spreading rumours that he will be taking charge of Rupert Murdoch's local operations.

CBD is not sure whether current boss, Julian Clarke, needs to worry but local diners certainly should.

Laidback Crown

While most observers were distracted by the shiny new golden shackles James Packer has fixed to his consigliere - Crown executive deputy chairman John Alexander - CBD's attention was drawn elsewhere.

Your columnist is pleased to report that investors have needlessly worried about Crown's aggressive expansion plans in Sydney, Queensland, Japan and Sri Lanka.

Things are so quiet on the investment front that Crown's investment committee - consisting of Packer, Alexander, Crown boss Rowan Craigie and Ashok Jacob - did not even bother to meet last financial year, according to its annual report.

The closest the committee got to hard yakka was assenting to four written resolutions during the year - nothing significant obviously.

It meant there was no business to discuss for the finance committee either, which includes former Qantas boss Geoff Dixon and Macquarie whiz Ben Brazil.

Qantas has a win

Qantas has evicted a squatter from the @Qantas Twitter handle and can start tweeting as of today.

After an appeal to Twitter, Alan Joyce's flying machine has been allowed to gain the handle, which had been used by "CJ" who had tweeted just once in four years.

The airline will be shifting from @QantasAirways to @Qantas today, which is a big deal in the twitterverse where tweets are limited to 140 characters.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the shorter handle was better because most people referred to the airline as Qantas rather than Qantas Airways. "It also is much better for our Twitter followers as the new handle has less characters, which means they can fit more into their tweet."

Qantas did not have to hand over any cash to retrieve the Twitter handle.

So what was CJ's sole tweet?

"This is not Qantas the airline," CJ tweeted in July 2010.

Maverick spirit

Former BHP Billiton petroleum boss Mike Yeager might need some of his Texan preacher charm to get the believers back into Maverick Drilling and Exploration - and help justify his sizeable pay packet.

The stock may have picked up off its recent lows but it will still be exiting the S&P/ASX 300 this Friday.

The stock rose to heavenly levels when Yeager took charge in October last year - and boy can this former US Marine charge.

He gets a base salary of $1.3 million and an "annual retirement contribution" of $500,000.

He was issued 15 million shares for saying "I do" and will get another 10 million shares if he hangs around for the first wedding anniversary next month.

This stock is worth $7 million despite the share price halving since October.

According to the financial accounts released last month, Yeager pocketed $11.2 million last financial year, which is not bad given he didn't park his feet under the big chair until October 12, although it might not impress investors who watched the stock bottom at 15.5¢ last month from a high of 62¢ soon after Yeager's appointment.

But where else can you find a CEO who memorably told an energy conference in 2011: "We take a long-term view of how humankind will structure their lives, and natural gas, as it relates to shale, will be part of the solution."

Author: Colin Kruger
Source: The Age


Last modified onSunday, 14 September 2014 22:58

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