Crikey has put together a stack of Terry McCrann’s first pars from the Herald Sun from 1995 and 2002. See if you can spot the difference in his pre and post millennium coverage.

5 Sept 1995
PHILIP BOWMAN has ripped the scab off the running sore which has plagued Solomon Lew for six years since he saw his opportunity – and grabbed it – to take control of Australia’s premier retail group Coles Myer. At the very least, when the chief finan…

6 Sept 1995
COLES MYER and its newly appointed executive chairman Solomon Lew have a very simple choice. They can continue down the lacerating path of the past six years, lurching from one controversy to the next. Or they can resolve to end the points of confli…

6 Sept 1995
COLES Myer yesterday was urged to clear up any doubts about its dealings or risk its reputation as the Australian Securities Commission launched an inquiry into the company. The warning came despite Coles Myer’s revelation that a Queen’s counsel had …

7 Sept 1995
YANNON – the mystery company at the centre of the shock departure of Coles Myer’s chief financial officer Philip Bowman – was part of a $40 million bailout of Coles Myer chairman Solomon Lew in 1990. In late-1991, at the annual meeting of Premier Inv…

7 Sept 1995
COLES Myer’s finance chief Philip Bowman was sacked for “serious and wilful misconduct” and was suing Australia’s biggest retailer to extract an exorbitant payout, the Supreme Court heard yesterday. The latest allegations in the intriguing corporate …

8 Sept 1995
SOME time in July 1989 then-chairman of Coles Myer Brian Quinn picked up the phone to call current chairman Solomon Lew. And set in train the events which led to this week’s eruption around the company. And in particular, to the so-called Yannon tra…

12 Sept 1995
THE Goldberg report has taken the monkey off the back of Coles Myer – and replaced it with a big, hairy gorilla. Inadvertently, it damns the executive chairman Solomon Lew, the chief executive Peter Bartels, and the head of the company’s so-called co…

13 Sept 1995
DAY TWO of the Goldberg report, and you wouldn’t want to be trying to sell it in a fish market. Alan Goldberg is a highly respected Melbourne QC with a reputation of impeccable integrity. But he has made a huge mistake in participating in the events…

13 Sept 1995
SOLOMON LEW spent Tuesday digging himself into a deeper and deeper hole, and dragging Peter Bartels and Will Bailey in behind him. In the wake of his own comments about the `Lew Affair’ it becomes even more untenable for him to remain chairman of Col…

14 Sept 1995
YANNON – and chairman Solomon Lew – continue to hang over Coles Myer like a huge black cloud at an utterly key point in the company’s history. Yesterday’s profit report should have signalled a seminal turning point; broad confirmation that the countr…

20 Sept 1995
COLES MYER. And now for something NOT completely different – Ampolex and the vexed issue of its convertible notes. Not completely different, because of a 10-letter word that needs to be burned into the soul of every company director in the land. D-I…

27 Sept 1995
THE role of investment bank CS First Boston in Coles Myer’s now notorious Yannon transaction deserves considerable scrutiny – and probable condemnation. For CS First Boston made the whole exercise `work’ in putting it together in August 1990. On two…

16 Oct 1995
COLES Myer chairman Solomon Lew today dimissed the call by Coles family members for him to step aside. Mr Lew said the Coles family no longer carried any weight in the company. He said they were a “very nice bunch of people but the ancestors would ha…

16 Oct 1995
AN extraordinary war of words erupted between Rupert Murdoch and Solomon Lew yesterday after the media mogul accused the Coles Myer chairman of “thuggish” behavior. The News Corporation chief claimed Mr Lew had threatened to cancel almost $90 million…

17 Oct 1995
COLES Myer chairman Solly Lew went public in a big way yesterday. Mere journalists have had trouble flushing out comments from Mr Lew for many months, but a word or two from newspaperman Rupert Murdoch on Sunday found the normally reticent retailer …

17 Oct 1995
Solomon Lew’s latest barrage in the Coles Myer row is a fizzer, says TERRY McCRANN. There is no media conspiracy Yannon would not have come to light SOLOMON Lew’s allegations about me and Rupert Murdoch are outrageous, and more simply, plain wrong. …

18 Oct 1995
HOW far will Paul Keating go to achieve his newly stated desire – shared with Coles Myer chairman and Reserve Bank board member Solomon Lew – for breaking up the Coles Myer colossus? Will he deliver his `advice’ directly to the major institutional sh…

24 Oct 1995
SOLOMON Lew’s long-standing bete noire, Laurence Gruzman, has come up with an interesting proposal to make last week’s `deal’ to restructure the Coles Myer board of directors `work’. That’s `work’ in terms of actually addressing, and hopefully solvin…

8 Nov 1995
SOLOMON Lew dumped a parcel of shares on which he was losing $6 million into the publicly listed Premier Investments after the stockmarket crash in October 1987. This secret deal, which we reveal today for the first time, was highly improper, breache…

8 Nov 1995
SOLOMON Lew dumped a parcel of shares on which he was losing $6 million into the publicly listed Premier Investments after the stockmarket crash in October 1987. This secret deal, which we reveal today for the first time, was highly improper, breache…

8 Nov 1995
SOLOMON Lew dumped a parcel of shares on which he was losing $6 million into the publicly listed Premier Investments after the stockmarket crash in October 1987. This secret deal, which we reveal today for the first time, was highly improper, breache…

14 Nov 1995
IT IS extraordinary that a business columnist in a `quality’ newspaper should choose to defend Solomon Lew’s secret 1987 deal to dump a parcel of shares in his then newly listed Premier Investments. At a more basic level, it is astonishing that any j…

5 Dec 1995
JUST under six years ago, in mid-February 1990, Rodney Adler woke up with a hundred million dollar headache. The 30-year-old’s first big deal since he took the reins of the FAI Insurance group on the death of his father Larry, barely a year earlier, …

5 Dec 1995
SOLOMON Lew was intimately and personally involved in negotiations over a $40 million parcel of shares which ultimately led to the infamous Yannon transaction. His involvement is shown in a series of confidential faxes and letters between him and Rod…

6 Dec 1995
THE story so far in Solomon Lew’s countdown to Yannon: In July 1989 Lew makes an audacious play for control of Coles Myer. He spends $450 million to buy a 10 per cent stake in the giant retailing group. The shares go into his listed investment vehic…

6 Dec 1995
THE confidential Solomon Lew letters indicate he was on a financial knife-edge right through 1990 after committing $450 million to buy a strategic parcel of Coles Myer shares. He was unable to deliver on his secret promise to Rodney Adler, the chief …

7 Dec 1995
COLES Myer yesterday failed in its final court bid to have claims for wrongful dismissal against it by former finance chief Philip Bowman struck out. The blow came as the latest revelations about Solomon Lew’s apparent knowledge of the Yannon transac…

McCrann’s Solly Lew Conversion

10 Sept 2002
IN SEPTEMBER seven years ago, Philip Bowman publicly ripped the scab off the running sore which had secretly plagued Australia’s premier retail group, Coles Myer, for half-a-dozen years or more. Yesterday, the chairman of Coles Myer Stan Wallis showe…

11 Sept 2002
SOLOMON Lew and Stan Wallis are at war. They will meet in head-to-head combat, across the board table, inside `Battlestar Galactica’ in suburban Tooronga, at three o’clock today. If there’d been any doubt after Wallis’s bizarre exit on Monday, that w…

11 Sept 2002
COLES Myer’s normally secretive boardroom battles yesterday turned into a nasty public spat as war was openly declared between two directors. Insiders believe there will be further fireworks today. A boardroom meeting at the group’s Tooronga headqua…

12 Sept 2002
THE overwhelming majority of directors of Coles Myer have revealed themselves as a bunch of corporate rabbits frozen in the glare of the spotlight. They seem to think they have cleverly doused the beam, so they can scurry back to their burrows. In tr…

12 Sept 2002
THE battle inside the Coles Myer boardroom will now settle into a “phony war”. But only for two weeks — three at the outside — as the next formal board meeting at the start of October sets something of a deadline. By then the all-important notice…

13 Sept 2002
THE behaviour of Coles Myer over the past week has been absolutely appalling and completely unacceptable. The company has treated shareholders as proverbial mushrooms, keeping them totally in the dark. The only `saving grace’ is that it can’t be accu…

13 Sept 2002
THE bitter boardroom brawl which has suddenly erupted at Coles Myer can be traced back to a bizarre drawing of lots at the board meeting on August 22. The names of three directors were placed in a hat — actually, a more practical if less traditional…

17 Sept 2002
DAVID Knott’s timely intervention in the Coles Myer boardroom brawl made a powerful — and importantly, forward looking — statement. Simply, shareholders must be informed — not only about the brawl, but what it signifies for the future of their com…

1 Oct 2002
THE governance at both Coles Myer and the AMP staggers from bad to worse, and on to the utterly surreal. The decision to appoint Andrew Mohl to the CEO’s position at AMP was exactly right — but he might not be the right person for the job. Worse, we…

4 Oct 2002
ON Wednesday the board of Coles Myer voted 8-2 to elect Rick Allert chairman, in succession to Stan Wallis. Wallis in turn announced he would step down as chairman next Thursday, the date of the next board meeting, and not, as he originally announced…

15 Oct 2002
THE Coles Myer board meeting descended into high farce yesterday — and farce extended through the morning, the afternoon and into the evening. And unlike a late sitting of a parliamentary upper house, to shovel through dozens of bills before a sessi…

24 Oct 2002
THE brawl that has erupted over the Coles Myer discount card raises further serious questions about the behaviour of CEO John Fletcher and former chairman Stan Wallis. The more easily led sections of the financial media have been, well, led to focus …

29 Oct 2002
IT IS absolutely unacceptable for a CEO to campaign to sack a non-executive director, as John Fletcher is doing with Solomon Lew at Coles Myer. If Rick Allert as the new chairman, doesn’t understand that — and it would appear, he does not — perhaps…

31 Oct 2002
GARY Weiss, aka Solomon Lew (with Afro), made Coles Myer chairman Rick Allert an offer he had to refuse; and he promptly did. However, that cannot – and won’t be – the end of the matter. Coles Myer must make full disclosure of the circumstances of P…

7 Nov 2002
A STATEMENT of the obvious: 1995 was then, and this is now. A statement, though, apparently not obvious to certain institutions like the AMP and QIC; the Myer Family; or certain commentators with a stunning ability to see things only in simplistic te…

13 Nov 2002
FINALLY the story behind Australia’s most explosive boardroom split can be told. A lacerating nine-page, no-holds-barred letter from Solomon Lew to Coles Myer’s then chairman Stan Wallis, sent in May, appears to have sparked the board battle. Mr Lew …

13 Nov 2002
SOLOMON Lew’s letter to Stan Wallis — importantly, back at the start of May, not rewriting history in November — raises some fundamental issues. Issues that can no longer be pushed under the table under the cover of `board confidentiality’. And wh…

15 Nov 2002
RICK Allert’s refusal to tell Coles Myer shareholders what has been going on inside the company is appalling, if understandable. David Knott’s refusal was just silly. And embarrassingly so. Now Allert, as chairman, is hardly likely to want to releas…

21 Nov 2002
SOLOMON Lew has lost the battle, but will almost certainly win the war, if he’s prepared to spend the money. Assuming he is, my prediction is that John Fletcher won’t be CEO at next year’s annual meeting, and Rick Allert probably won’t be chairman. A…

Peter Fray

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