Jim Armitage: Why Northern Rock chief deserved to be bowled out from his new career
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Friday 18 October 2013
Outlook Adam Applegarth's batting average for the Sunderland Cricket Club second XI is impressive. At 25.5 runs a match, he was the second most prolific scorer in the squad this summer.
Not that the former Northern Rock chief executive didn't have plenty of practice – with 14 appearances, he played in more matches last season than any of his team mates by a long chalk.
An impressive workrate: but were his employers at the US private equity firm Apollo as convinced by his performance for them?
Reports suggest that Mr Applegarth, whose masterplan for Northern Rock involved flogging 125 per cent loan-to-value mortgages, has resigned from Apollo. His departure follows controversy over his involvement in attempted takeovers of the up-for-sale RBS branches and £450m of poorly performing Northern Rock loans.
It's not clear how serious Apollo was as a bidder in either case, but it seems obvious his involvement with the group can only have harmed its cause.
The idea that British taxpayer bailout institutions would sell assets back to the very group of people who ran them into the ground in the first place seems naïve at best.
In which case, one really wonders what Apollo was doing hiring him in the first place.
He left Northern Rock with a £760,000 payoff and a £2.2m pension pot, and earned many millions more over previous years. Shareholders were left with nothing.
Like RBS's Jonny Cameron and Fred Goodwin, and HBOS's James Crosby, he should accept that his corporate career is over, and should have been in 2007 when those queues started forming outside his branches.
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