Bankers split on plan for Brent Walker

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The Independent Online
THE BANKING consortium that lent more than pounds 1.5bn to Brent Walker is split over a proposal by the group's lead banker, Standard Chartered, to bring in a controversial firm of management consultants to run the troubled brewing and gambling group.

Standard Chartered is pushing for the appointment of David Hoare, senior partner of Talisman Management, as chief executive of Brent and for a team from Talisman to take over the running of the group.

Other bankers have questioned whether it is appropriate for Mr Hoare to be appointed. 'We recognise there is a need for new management, but we are not sure of these guys' track record and they are a bit expensive,' said one.

Ken Scobie, the group's chief executive, resigned last month and Sir Keith Bright, the former head of London Underground, became chairman. In addition, a number of the banks are unhappy with Nicholas Ward, Brent's managing director, who they say has not delivered promised disposals.

Talisman is made up of former partners of Bain & Co, the management consultants that advised Guinness during its bid for Distillers in 1986. Olivier Roux, the former Guinness finance director who last week gave evidence at the trial of Guinness lawyer Thomas Ward, is an associate of Talisman, though his name does not appear as a partner.

Mr Hoare has been running National Home Loans for the past year, though he was never formally appointed to the board.

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