Crikey loves a bit of lively debate so when Stan Beer took a special interest in David Koch and Seven’s Sunrise program, Crikey thought it was only fair to give Koch a right of reply. See the full stoush here:

David Koch and the Morgan and Banks plugfest

Sealed section – April 21

What is it about David Koch and Australia’s richest recruitment entrepreneurs Geoff Morgan and Andrew Banks?

The lads cashed in big time a few years back selling their recruitment business to London-based TMP but now they are trying to do it all again through the search firm Talent2.

Stan Beer had an interesting column about the Koch connection in the IT section of the SMH: Look out Kaz! Is this the end?

The key paragraphs were as follows:

“One could forgive rival recruitment agencies for getting a little irritated at the free ride Talent2 has been getting on the Channel Seven Sunrise program over the past few weeks.

“The latest face from Talent2 to appear in front of presenter David Koch last week was Andrew Banks. This follows appearances last month by Geoff Morgan and Talent2 ICT manager Jonathan Morse. But unlike those previous appearances, which occurred under the pretext of discussing some workplace issue, the interview with Banks was centred on the man himself and his story of success.

“Koch, who was master of ceremonies at the Talent2 launch in Sydney, mentioned the startup of Morgan & Banks and its successful sale to TMP during the interview. Banks, looking a million dollars on camera (or more accurately, a couple of hundred million), dutifully eulogised about what it takes to succeed in the workplace.

“As one recruitment agent put it to us with tongue firmly in cheek: ‘They have an outstanding reputation for who they know.’

“Market pundits have been watching to see whether Geoff Morgan and Andrew Banks can pull off yet another multimillion-dollar business coup similar to the mammoth deal they struck with TMP.

“The 45 per cent stake of the two partners’ company Morgan & Banks Investments held by CSI, the listed holding company of Talent2, is now worth more than $46 million, compared to $9.25 million when they backed Talent2 into the company less than a year ago.

“All that needs to be revealed is the exit strategy.”


The Channel Seven management with the newly-wondering David Leckie should keep and eye on this sort of comment. It will detract from the popularity of Koch on Sunrise, if not nipped in the bud.

And Stan Beer has missed the most obvious connection of all. Crikey owns a miserable $12 worth of shares in the struggling listed Koch vehicle Palamedia. The 2002 annual report in our office reveals that Geoff Morgan was then the chairman of Palamedia who owned 141,135 ordinary shares and 100,000 unlisted options.

It’s not Alan Jones and Telstra, but Koch needs to watch this sort of thing very carefully. Seven feel obliged to support Koch corporately because they encouraged Palamedia to take over the disastrous Channel E after the dotcom crash. This almost sent Palamedia to the wall.

Crikey has also spotted the Morgan and Banks duo on Koch’s Sky Business Report. They are certainly good talent to get but at some point you have to draw the line when it gets into blatant spruiking of commercial interests that attracts adverse media comment.

David Koch sprays Crikey

Sealed section – April 22

Sunrise host David Koch responds to yesterday’s item about apparent plugs on Seven for the Morgan and Banks founders:

For Goodness sake Crikey, what the hell are you on about? I hope Crikey isn’t unwittingly being used as vehicle for dodgy allegations.
And what the hell are you inferring about the Telstra/Jones issue. You’re not remotely suggesting by innuendo that the use of Andrew Banks on Sunrise is a quasi cash for comment situation. What sort of slur on my reputation is that?

Lets just look at the basis of your inference. Andrew Banks has appeared on Sunrise twice in recent weeks. One story based on a Talent 2 survey on the brain drain out of Australia which was covered extensively elsewhere in the media (do we get another recruitment firm to comment on Talent 2’s research?) and the other one on being a success.

Did I have anything to do with those two story selections? No.

Did I suggest Andrew as a guest? No.

In fact the Sunrise producers rang my producer Kylie Merritt for suggestions on success stories and she suggested Janine Allen of Boost Juice. No mention of Morgan or Banks.

Did I inform the Sunrise executive producer on our 5pm daily conference call (a preview of the next day’s show) that Andrew was an associate of a director of the company which employs me? Yes.

Is Andrew Banks well credentialed to discuss the topic? Yes. He and Geoff Morgan revolutionised the recruitment industry in building Morgan and Banks.

Did we pay him for appearing? No.

What more do I have to do? Send you a Stat Dec concerning every guest we use on Sunrise to make sure I don’t know them?

My youngest daughter is in the same church fellowship as Bob Mansfield’s daughter. Should I not interview Bob because I know him?

Should Fred Hilmer be informing all Fairfax journalists they cannot use any of his business associates, friends or relatives in any story?

By the way did I mention that Julia Ross has been on the cover of My Business Magazine. Did I mention that Manpower, Hudson TMP, Olivier and a raft of other recruiters have been used on Sky Business report, in our magazines and on Sunrise?

I can just imagine a whole bunch of recruiters nervously watching Geoff and Andrew launching Morgan and Banks Version 2 and wondering how they can take early pot shots. And you run these pot shots and drag me in to it.

It’s also fascinating the extra attention this sort of thing is getting since Sunrise started to challenge The Today Show. Nationally we’ve won the last 6 consecutive weeks.

By the way, I promise I won’t ever do commercials promoting a financial institution. I promise I won’t be a director of a funds management company while a journalist. I promise I won’t start a financial planning company and interview fund managers, who support me in the business, on my show without declaring it.

I’ll just get on with my job.

David Koch

CRIKEY: Interestingly, a subscriber has just pointed us to this flyer promoting an upcoming lunch where Koch is the MC and Geoff Morgan is one of the speakers. Check it out here.

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