Greed, greed, greed and hubris

milesgeorgeNowhere on Miles George’s biography on the website of Infigen Energy are the words Babcock and Brown.

And this is unusual because, according to a document we unearthed, he was certainly an important person in the former Sydney-based global investment and advisory firm.

George joined the infrastructure and project finance group of B&B in 1997. He was involved in the development and financing of wind energy projects in Australia, including “a key role” in the development of the Lake Bonney 1 and 2 projects in South Australia.

In 2005, he jointly led the Babcock & Brown advisory team which undertook the listing of Babcock & Brown Wind Partners on the Australian Stock Exchange.

He worked at Babcock and Brown for nine years, for God’s sake! And there’s not a mention we could find about this anywhere on www.infigenenergy.com.

It’s certainly not referred to in his biography under the Board and Management sections of the site.

This creative massaging of his CV reminds us of what ex-cons do when they’re back on the outside and looking for legit work. (Not that we know any but we’ve watched a fair number of Jimmy Cagney films in our time.)

cakeThere is at least one of us at STT who has been forced, during periodic bouts of unemployment, to pick up the odd shift or several in a call centre. But you won’t see it on his CV.

It’s like cutting a wedge from a cake, he said. You just push in the bits on either side to cover the hole.

But maybe it’s not surprising the CEO of Infigen Energy wants to publicly fudge his past.

The implosion of Babcock and Brown in 2008 was a collapse of gobsmacking proportions, according to The Weekend Australian. Former executives put it down to “greed, greed, greed and hubris”.

The Sydney Morning Herald decried the lack of a formal investigation.

“Unlike insurance group HIH, the collapse of which a decade ago sparked a royal commission, there was never any public inquiry by the corporate regulator or any other government authority into the activities of Babcock & Brown,” wrote commentator Ian Verrender.

When interviewed in 2009 on ABC Television’s Lateline Business, George was asked the name of his new entity that would follow.

“Oh, I can’t give you a hint,” he said, “but it won’t have the word Babcock or Brown in the name.”

Given the stench at the time, his comment is predictable.

Under George’s leadership, Babcock and Brown Wind Partners, described as a satellite of B&B, posted a six month result loss of $88 million.

(In the same interview, he said his new entity’s growth was dependent on the Labor Government’s 20 per cent by 2020 renewable energy target legislation. We bet George, like everyone else in the wind industry, is watching what’s going in Canberra with increasing despair.)

According to its website, Infigen Energy operates six wind farms with another seven under development. If built, the latter will comprise more than 300 turbines across NSW, Victoria and Western Australia. Infigen also has extensive operations overseas.

But a check of its senior board and management shows strong links with the former company with the appalling reputation.

In fact, five out of six top managers are all former Babcock and Brown or Babcock and Brown Wind executives.

But it’s not something Infigen wants to publicise.

HarrisFiona Harris is listed as a non-executive director of Infigen Energy. She is a previous board member of Alinta Ltd. The Weekend Australian described Alinta as “the straw that broke the camel’s debt-laden back”. B&B paid “way over the odds” for Alinta, an energy company, the paper said.

According to her Linkedin profile, Harris was a non executive director of Alinta Ltd from 1998 to 2007.

RolfeInfigen non-executive director Ross Rolfe is the former chief executive of Babcock and Brown Power. He is the only one we could find who is prepared to have his B&B pedigree out of the Infigen closet.

Geoff-DutaillisGeoff Dutaillis is the chief operating officer of Infigen Energy. He is the former chief operating officer of Babcock and Brown Wind Partners. Again, this not mentioned on his Infigen website biography.

hopwoodBrad Hopwood is the general manager corporate finance at Infigen. He previously had the role “tax director – specialised funds” at Babcock and Brown, according to his Linkedin profile.

Again, no mention is made on his Infigen Energy website biography.

David-RichardsonDavid Richardson joined Babcock and Brown in 2005 as company secretary. He is now Infigen’s GM Corporate Governance and Company Secretary. His previous BB role is not mentioned on the Infigen Enery website biopgraphy.

When Babcock and Brown went down, it was the nation’s biggest corporate collapse, with losses totalling upwards of $10 billion.

The Sydney Morning Herald business commentator Ian Verrender called it one of the most shameful periods in Australian corporate history.

So questions remain, we think, about the culture that exists in Infigen Energy, and how it is shaped by the number of senior people with Babcock and Brown DNA running through their veins.

Recent events concerning Infigen employees and reported on this site may provide an answer.

Additional note:

Jonathon-Upson-150x150For those fighting wind farm developments, you may be interested to know – but not surprised to hear – Infigen Energy Development Manager Jonathan Upson is a former Babcock and Brown employee.

See this document, marked confidential, which we easily picked up off the web.

Do remember to remind him, when you see him, he was part of one of the most shameful periods in Australian corporate history.

Some earlier STT posts on Infigen:

Infigen Energy’s shame and Sarah Laurie’s truth

What price do you put on friendship?

Which Barry is our Barry?

Wind energy and the reconstructed milk bottle

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. what a pack of bludgers

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    If you and I had employment records like these and hid it from new employers and they found out, we would be dismissed. But then these people are really still working for the same company, it’s just that the names changed.
    How B&B could fail so dramatically and nothing be done about it is no mystery, there’s always someone ready to ‘feed from the trough’.

  3. Bob in Castlemaine says:

    As they say there are those who can recogise a free lunch (or should that read there those who can recognise a good boondoggle?)

Trackbacks

  1. […] STT hears that a couple of Coalition rats – for the purposes of this discussion let’s call them “Ronno” and “Macca” – have been seen cavorting – yet again – with another bloke we’ll call “Johnno” and his close mate, “Boy” George. […]

  2. […] that certain members of the NHMRC wind farm panel have with wind weasels.  How else was it that Babcock & Brown’s – oops, we meant Infigen’s Miles George could tell us – in advance – what the […]

  3. […] work as they clean up the financial mess created by the likes of Vestas, Suzlon and Infigen (ie Babcock and Brown Mk […]

  4. […] include Infigen’s “#my future” propaganda program.  Infigen (aka Babcock and Brown) sent free turbine propaganda packs to school kids – a perverse effort to garner support for this […]

  5. […] is more than happy to ride roughshod over locals to get there.  For the outfit formerly known as Babcock and Brown – it’s all just part of the […]

  6. […] favourite – Infigen is the phoenix that rose from the ashes of the corporate debacle that was Babcock and Brown – you’ll remember them as the crowd that fleeced investors and creditors to the tune of […]

  7. […] completely devoid of any assets.  If you think we are joking, here are 3 serious words: “Babcock and Brown” – now reduced to 1: […]

  8. […] reported on STT yesterday, a slew of Babcock and Brown and Babcock and Brown Wind Partners executives now run one of […]

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