Fresh from her role as chairman of the collapsed Commander Communications, Babcock & Brown stalwart Elizabeth Nosworthy has been promoted to chairperson of the struggling investment bank. Nosworthy will replace BNB founder and Ted Danson look-alike, Jim Babcock, who has resigned.

Meanwhile, the face of Babcock, Phil Green, has been pushed aside for CFO Michael Larkin. Larkin was formerly a director at Coopers & Lybrand (now part of PwC) and was a financial controller at Lend Lease. BNB announced Green’s departure this morning and noted that:

Everyone at Babcock & Brown thanks Phil [Green] for his enormous contribution to the development and success of Babcock & Brown over so many years. We recognize in particular his leadership and vision in building the business since the float in 2004. Phil is greatly admired by his board colleagues, by employees across the Babcock & Brown world and by many shareholders and co-investors.

We aren’t sure whether BNB were talking with their tongue firmly in their cheek, but to suggest that Green is “greatly admired by employees” is a tad ambitious.

Only four months ago the Babcock & Brown Employee Share Trust acquired sixteen million BNB shares at $12.82 per share. The $214 million worth of shares purchased and issued to employees under the short-term incentive scheme are now worth a grand total of $45 million. We don’t know too many employees who like their seeing their bonuses being shrunk by 75 percent.

As for being admired by shareholders, perhaps Babcock spinners Kelly Hibbins or Erica Borgelt can throw together a list of Babcock shareholders who “greatly admire” Green — it shouldn’t take them too long.

Babcock shares opened at $2.70 this morning, down another 20 percent and more than 92 percent below their peak.

Peter Fray

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