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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
ANZ 'district officer' avoids bad Gunns pulp mill PR to manage Opes disaster
Mood:  bright
Topic: corporates

We would like to think ANZ bank declined financing Gunns Ltd disastrous pulp mill that would devastate natural forests in Tasmania. But somehow we think CEO Mike Smith pictured above in Australian Financial Review May colour magazine has responded both to the cost of global debt at the present and the PR problems around Gunns Ltd to best focus on managing litigation over the crash of Opes Prime share trading business:

 3 June 2008 It's $1bn or court, warns Opes litigator | The Australian

Opes Prime's crash, with ANZ as a priority creditor, has burnt alot of wealthy angry powerful people who are getting organised for a real fight. The "district officer" Mike Smith doesn't need Gunns as a PR millstone like this Get Up advert (as good as their word) in the Australian Financial Review yesterday June 3rd 2008:

One last comment about Mike Smith. He's experienced the sovereign risk of the Argentinian currency meltdown in 1999 onward (caused by leader Carlos Menem, with echoes of Paul Lennon?) in dramatic circumstances. It's quite a ripping yarn as per this reportage from The Standard press in Hong Kong:

Tempers flared and ordinary, yet enraged people took their household DIY hammers to the bank doors.

Buenos Aires was on the boil.

Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp chief executive Michael Smith remembers 1999 in Argentina, not the least for a bad experience.

I survive, he says, matter-of-factly.

At the time, he was CEO of the largest foreign bank in the country.

Amid the political tension in Buenos Aires, he says he became a target.

It was about seven years ago. I got ambushed on my way home one night and my car got shot at.

Smith had his own driver but he was off for the night, which was fortunate.

[If the driver was there] they would have gone straight for his gun and killed him and I would have left in the car without anywhere to go [and] they would have got me. I used my own car as a weapon and I smashed through them, says Smith.

But he was not unscathed. One bullet pierced through the car door penetrating his thigh.

Two years later, when the masses rallied and vented their anger against the countrys political class and the banking class, he was trapped in an HSBC branch, also in Buenos Aires. A mob waited outside.

But no one was hurt. It was amazing, he says.

Posted by editor at 11:06 PM NZT

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