Pembroke: Paternal concerns

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The Independent Online
YOU MAY recall reading of the enviable position of Tony 'Heinz' O'Reilly's sons, who enjoy executive positions in companies where Dad is a large shareholder. But, as a cautionary tale from America warns, this does not mean they are assured of a job for life with the family firm.

A newspaper interview recently granted by Robert Haft, president of the Maryland-based publishing-to-car parts outfit Dart Group, was deemed over-ambitious by his father, Herbert, Dart's chief executive. The catch for Robert, Herbert's heir-apparent, was that Mr Haft senior, 72, owns 57 per cent of Dart's shares. He duly changed his mind about the succession and decided to remove not only his son from the board, but also two other directors and his wife Gloria for subversive pro-Robert tendencies.

JOSTLING with Lynn Franks for the new radio licences is the Wall Street success Michael Bloomberg, chief executive of his eponymous financial and business news organisation, and workaholic: 'Sunday is the happiest night of the week. I can't wait to get back to work.'

Mr Bloomberg has joined the City Talk Consortium, which plans to provide London with a 24-hour business radio station. Offices in the City are promised if the bid is successful; we feel prospective employees should know what they're letting themselves in for. There are virtually no private offices in Bloomberg operations. The odd conference room has clear glass walls. The only facilities accorded privacy are loos and photocopiers. Goldfish abound.

If you join Bloomberg and decide to leave, don't expect the chief exec to roll up with a cheesy grin and the Dartington crystal. In 1991, Mr Bloomberg told Forbes magazine that leaving employees were considered deserters. 'I will not wish you the best,' Forbes quoted. 'I will not go to a farewell party for you. You're a traitor, you're out to hurt everybody else in this company, and take the bread out of their kids' mouths.'

ANOTHER victim of an American corporate coup, Martin Emmett - until last week chief executive of Tambrands - faces a new spate of charges over his tenure at the consumer-products giant. Tambrands directors are now saying privately that one reason for his dismissal was lavish spending on personal perks.

Mr Emmett says the allegations are malicious rumours that are 'absolutely untrue' and that it was he who eliminated Tambrands' company cars and sold the corporate jet. Indeed, in a previous existence, he is said to have left RJR Nabisco, where he was chairman of Nabisco Foods in Canada, in disgust over its free-spending ways.

At Nabisco, Mr Emmett was, for many years, right-hand man to Ross Johnson, notorious for trying to pay himself dollars 1bn as part of an unsuccessful attempt to take RJR Nabisco private in 1989. Mr Johnson was known for operating the 24-plane 'RJR air force' deployed for key corporate functions. These included his wife's shopping trips to New York and his German Shepherd's trips to the vet.