were no Flaming Lamborghinis last night as Ziggy Switkowski and his
former chief of staff Bill Scales continued their roadshow of farewells
at a function for their favourite Sydney hacks at Telstra’s 400 George
St bunker.

There were a couple of interesting attendees
including Fairfax Business Publications boss Michael Gill, who stopped
being a hack almost a decade ago, and Mark Westfield, the feisty former
columnist on The Australian who now does PR for the likes of PBL and Warren Buffett’s embattled insurance arm.

clearly doesn’t hold grudges as even Channel Nine’s finance editor Ross
Greenwood, who spent the past 18 months prematurely predicting his
demise and successor, turned up, along with the man he succeeded,
Michael Pascoe.

Others who accepted Ziggy’s invitation included Jennifer Hewett and Tony Boyd from The AFR, Michael Sainsbury from The Australian, Chistine Lacy and Ian Verrender from The SMH, and Peter Ryan from the ABC.

gave a 10 minute talk which some hacks told Crikey was a little too
formal, almost as if it was just another results presentation.
Naturally, he felt Telstra was in good shape after his reign and he
confessed to be leaving with “a heavy heart.”

The event went
from 6.30pm to 8.30pm and Ziggy was straight out to the airport to get
home to Melbourne. Interestingly, Ziggy still hasn’t met his successor
Sol Trujillo, but everyone is bracing for the management meeting at
8.30am on Friday morning when the big talking American will formally
take charge.

The other major farewell in Sydney last night was
for veteran Network Ten CEO John McAlpine. It was also an interesting
affair with the likes of David Gyngell, David Leckie and Nick Falloon
(the sacked Packer CEO club) rubbing shoulders together for the first
time in a while. Throw in additional names such as News Ltd’s John
Hartigan, Sony’s Denis Handlin, Foxtel’s Kim Williams, Austereo’s Peter
Harvie and a range of advertising types and you have one of the most
power packed media gatherings Sydney has seen in a while.

Packers and Sam Chisholm didn’t front as they were probably too busy
distributing more pink slips across the Nine Network to expunge the
team assembled by the godson who wasn’t, David Gyngell.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey