Padraic Fallon: Financial journalist who went on to head a billion-pound business


Very few financial journalists successfully make the transition from writing about businessmen to becoming one. Padraic Fallon did so, brilliantly. He never forgot that while you can take the boy out of journalism, you can't take journalism out of the boy. Firstly as editor, and ultimately chairman and chief executive of Euromoney Institutional Investor, he also retained the title of editor-in-chief.

It was far more than a courtesy title. Throughout his career, he admired and practised good writing, producing the Euromoney style guide to reinforce his belief that even in the arcane reaches of the euromarkets, the prose should be clear, interesting and provocative. He once savaged a hapless journalist by pointing out that one could no more be absolutely unique than a little bit pregnant.

His restless sense of mischief and fun was fostered by his mentor, Sir Patrick Sergeant, for whom he worked in the City office of the Daily Mail. Sergeant had invented financial journalism as entertainment, and Padraic never forgot the lessons learned, even as he became the boss of a business with a market value of nearly £1 billion.

He was the sixth son of the poet Padraic Fallon. A typically mischievous suggestion for his bearing his father's name was that after five boys, his father had run out of names. After graduating in business studies from Trinity College, Dublin, he started at the Irish Times, where he learned the art of sub-editing. In 1969 he moved to London to work for Thomson Regional Newspapers, the Daily Mirror and then the Daily Mail.

Euromoney magazine had just been set up, with £6,000 of Associated Newspapers' money plus £200 from Sergeant and a small number of other Mail employees, and a stand-by credit of £6,000 at Hambros Bank. Padraic, then 27, applied to be editor. He was paid £2,000 a year, plus six per cent of the profits (if any). It rapidly became clear that "there was oil under our little patch of ground" as one of them put it. The oil turned into a cash gusher: the standby credit was never used, and aside from a small issue of shares (at a premium) after Euromoney plc went public in 1987, it was not until the takeover of Metal Bulletin in 2006 that any more permanent capital was needed.

Padraic's contract made him Associated Newspapers' highest-paid employee in the days when accounts merely had to state the numbers in each band of pay, with no names. The world assumed the employee was Sir David English, the Mail's editor.

From editor of a single monthly magazine, he became a director, in 1975 and chief executive and chairman in 1992, of an international publishing, events and electronic information group. in 1999 he joined the board of Euromoney's parent, Daily Mail & General Trust. The purchase of Institutional Investor in 1997 (with borrowed money) sealed the group's pre-eminence in its field by eliminating the competition, as Padraic readily acknowledged.

During times when conditions dictated that people had to be fired, he took the hard decisions, but Euromoney effectively ran what was served as one of the very few training schools for the next generation of financial journalists. Those who succeeded in a tough, poorly-paid environment could climb the ladder quickly.

His sympathy with aspiring journalists was matched by his generosity with his good fortune. He supported a school in Ghana, bankrolled an eye clinic in India, and made substantial donations to his alma mater in Dublin, becoming a director of its foundation in 2000. He joined the board of Allied Irish Bank in 1998, resigning in May 2007 because of his well-justified concern at the reckless lending policies of the Irish banks.

He took his off-work pursuits just as seriously as the day job, if with rather less success. His skiing was described as a terrifying mixture of bravery, brute force and ignorance, and his tennis-playing as "enthusiastic". When the Lawn Tennis Association threatened to sell Queens Club, a fabulously-valuable site in west London, for development, he encouraged the revolt from the members, and personally put up £60,000 to help save it.

He was a keen shot, and perhaps reflecting his childhood in County Wexford, he was hooked on fly-fishing. He owned a sliver of the Cork Blackwater and taught his ultimate boss, Jonathan Rothermere, to fish for salmon. When not attempting to catch them in Russia, Iceland and Scotland, he happily fished for trout on the River Kennet.

A member of the Garrick, he loved food, drink and gossip in equal measure. Lunch with Padraic was seldom short, and never dull. Reflecting his journalistic background, he could be splendidly indiscreet, always delivered with an impish grin and an overriding sense that life was too much fun to be taken seriously.

His childhood was also reflected in the first of three novels, Hymn of the Dawn, a romanticised version of a summer in an Ireland where it didn't rain. His second, The Circle of Archimedes, was an exploration of mathematics through a vision seen by a ghillie. The critics were mostly baffled. His third work was completed just weeks before he died.

He saw his brothers struck down with heart problems, and took great care to ensure his was closely monitored; he died of cancer. Only two of his siblings have outlived him. He leaves behind Gillian, his wife of 40 years, four children and four grandchildren.

Padraic Matthew Fallon, journalist, executive and author: born Ireland 21 September 1946; married 1972 Gillian Hellyer (one son, three daughters); died London 14 October 2012.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power