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Business Comment

Simon English: Was charmer McNeile sleeping on the job?


Outlook A few days ago, the charming and loquacious Lindsay McNeile was on the phone to assure me that rumours of anything untoward occurring at WorldSpreads were well off the pace.

The chief executive Conor Foley had moved on with immediate effect simply because he's an entrepreneurial guy with itchy feet. Otherwise, everything was tickety-boo.

Mr McNeile was stepping up from chairman to executive chairman with reluctance. It would be temporary.

He asked if I could help dispel one other rumour: that the word "executive" implied "full-time". He wasn't really expected to turn up every day, was he?

Mr McNeile is hugely likable (no one I've asked says otherwise). But in light of his firm's sudden collapse into administration, with rumours of fraud circling, his comments do take on a different identity.

Being relaxed and hands-off is an awfully appealing approach. The accusation against Mr McNeile is that he was also asleep at the switch.