Walker 'a bulldozer' in the boardroom, says ex-director: Court told of autocrat with a unique management style

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The Independent Online
GEORGE WALKER was a 'bulldozer' of a man who often intimidated directors at Brent Walker, but he never used or threatened violence, a court was told yesterday.

The former boxer ran his property and leisure business like a one-man company but was often told by his advisers that he was an autocrat and should listen more to his directors, said a former colleague.

But Norman Lonsdale, whose statement was read out in court because he is seriously ill and could not attend, added: 'When he (Walker) was charged with serious criminal offences it was the biggest shock I had ever had.

'While Mr Walker had rough mannerisms, I had never seen anything that gave me feelings that something untoward was going on. I think that he always played it straight.'

Mr Lonsdale, former director of Brent Walker's film and television division, said in his statement to the court at Chichester Rents, Chancery Lane: 'Mr Walker had a unique management style. He was a bulldozer when making decisions. He asked for opposition but did not like it when he got it.'

But he added that Mr Walker eventually learned that he should listen to others. 'He sometimes intimidated the board. But I had never known him to use violence or the threat of violence.' It would be laughable, he said.

Mr Walker and Wilfred Aquilina, former Brent Walker finance director, deny charges of theft, false accounting and conspiracy. Mr Walker is accused of stealing pounds 17m and of faking deals in the film and television division to boost profits.

Mr Lonsdale was questioned about allegedly bogus film rights sales that the prosecution said gave the company more than pounds 10m in fictitious profits.

He said he had known nothing of the deals, and was 'very surprised' such a significant sum had not been brought to his attention. 'It was uncharacteristic of Brent Walker to keep their successes quiet.'

He said he learnt of the deals after their bona fides were questioned in an article in the Independent.

'I saw Mr Walker after the article and he assured me everything was above board . . . Had I known anything untoward was going on I would have been the first to have left the company.'

The trial continues today.

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