More
talk around Sydneytown of changes to the PBL board
with Qantas CEO, Geoff Dixon, firming in the betting to join his fellow Qantas
board member, James Packer. PBL
revealed last week that UBS boss, Chris Mackay and Patrick boss, Chris Corrigan
were joining the board, replacing Robert Whyte and
Laurie Muir. Mackay has stepped down from active management at UBS, while Corrigan
remains CEO of Patrick – but for how
long, with Toll’s bid now revived after the ACCC withdrew its opposition?

Corrigan will fight, and
should he prevail and Patrick remain free, an
interesting scenario opens up: Patrick controls Virgin Blue, Qantas’ arch rival
domestically. Should
Geoff Dixon join (it will be decided only after his future at the airline is
established. He is due to quit at the end of this year but the decision could be
made by August) and Corrigan remain a director and chairman of Virgin Blue, then
the PBL board will be an interesting place. Something for the ACCC to keep a benign eye on
perhaps?

Corrigan’s move onto the PBL board raised eyebrows
given its timing and the defence against the Toll bid. A win
by Toll would remove any conflict of interest problems in aviation, at least from
the PBL board.

It is
widely thought the board offer resulted from the friendship with PBL CEO, John
Alexander. They have known each other for more than 25 years. Both
live in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney – Corrigan around Double Bay or
Paddington, Alexander closer to the city in Elizabeth Bay. But
there the similarities end. Corrigan rides to work on his motorbike, an Italian
(naturally) Ducati motorbike which is a pride and
joy. Alexander prefers a company car and driver.

With
PBL cutting back costs at the Nine TV network and about to start cost cutting at
the ACP magazines business (which Alexander used to run), the car and driver and
associated cost have raised eyebrows among Nine
employees in particular. One wag
suggested that as a cost saving, Corrigan could offer to give his mate JA a
lift on the Ducati when both are in
town.

Peter Fray

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