When it comes to conflicts of interest, Eddie McGuire still doesn’t get it. Never did and seemingly never will, if the events of last week are any guide.
Not content with poaching Gary Pert, his Channel Nine boss in Melbourne, to be CEO of his beloved Collingwood Football Club, Eddie has now landed a new deal that will create even more potential for conflicts.
For starters, who did Eddie thrash out his new five year, $20 million contract with? None other than his long-time manager Jeffrey Browne, the bloke he recruited to Nine to be his deputy and who will now lead Nine’s executive team.
PBL Media boss Ian Law was also in the room and James Packer presumably signed off on Eddie’s face-saving deal but you’d have to wonder what on earth the private equity barbarians make of all this. Does Browne still manage Eddie? Does he still secure a commission on his pay deals?
It does seem quite remarkable that Eddie has wangled himself yet another pay rise after administering all that cost cutting whilst CEO. Doesn’t he recognise that stepping down from the role of CEO perhaps warranted a slightly smaller pay cheque?
After all, he hardly shined in the role and his three most important on-screen gigs – The Footy Show, anchoring Nine’s AFL coverage and Who Wants to be a Millionaire – are all gone, so $4.7 million a year is a lot to pay someone for 1 v 100 plus a few specials.
Amazingly, $4.7 million a year doesn’t even get you Eddie full-time given that he’s strongly hinting about new commercial opportunities that will surface in the coming months.
Then’s there’s talk of Eddie and his brother Frank cranking up their old television production company McGuire Media to win a couple of Nine contracts. No conflict there, of course. Let’s hope Jeffrey Browne won’ be leading the negotiations on any such out-sourcing deals.
Eddie’s approach almost seems to be a case of “no conflict, no interest” because I’m not aware of anyone who has created a larger portfolio of diverse conflicts over the years.
Such conflicts often dog people who try to do too much and that is certainly the story of Eddie’s failed tenure as Nine CEO.