The Business On: Charles Kirwan-Taylor, Chief executive, RAB Capital
Saturday 18 September 2010
Another rich City type?
Undoubtedly, but things aren't going all Mr Kirwan-Taylor's way. He only took over at RAB a fortnight ago, but now he has had to upset the City with a profits warning. His staff won't be too pleased either – a restructuring provision of £5.5m implies many of them are for the chop.
What's gone wrong?
Well, RAB is a hedge fund operator, which is often thought of as a licence to print money. Trouble is, some of the hedge funds it operates haven't been performing too well.
Really, I thought these things always made squillions?
Don't you read the warnings? Investments can go down as well as up you know – particularly if, like RAB's Special Situations fund, you take an 8 per cent stake in Northern Rock only to watch it collapse. RAB never seems to have recovered from that car crash, three years ago, and investors have deserted it. The mistakes have continued, too. This year, the same fund has taken a beating on a big holding in Falkland Oil & Gas. Mr Kirwan-Taylor is the third chief executive in two years.
Can he sort it out?
If anyone can, he can. Mr Kirwan-Taylor is a well-regarded City veteran, making his name at BZW and Credit Suisse First Boston and then co-founding his own hedge fund, Greyshrike Capital, in 2006.
Not very original.
Maybe not, but successful nonetheless. And we never claimed Mr Kirwan-Taylor was unconventional. Quite the reverse, in fact. He's an Oxford Blue who, like so many in the City, is competitive outside of work, too. His favoured outlets are skiing and endurance cycling.
No rebel streak at all?
Well, whisper it quietly, but the story in the City is that Mr Kirwan-Taylor did once get up to a spot of mischief. In his youth, he is supposed to have climbed the Eiffel Tower. Not via the tourist lift, you understand, but up the outside of the structure, very early one morning. We can't confirm the veracity of the tale, but taking on RAB will be another high-wire act.
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