Thursday, December 29, 2005

Kerry is dead. Toyota for sale.

Packer is dead. Again. Though this time it seems more perminent. I guess it's a wake up call to all of us that no matter how wealthy, how well connected or how many servents you have who are willing to donate their vital organs, your life can end prematurely.

It's inevitable that in the first few days after his death, Packer will be deified and viewed through the rose-coloured glasses which seem to be standard issue in TV, radio and newspaper news rooms. A little down the track, though, hopefully a more truthful and sober reflection on Packer will be aired. From various accounts of those who worked for him, Packer was a thuggish boss who used his power and wealth to intimidate his staff. Whilst he had great business acumen, he seemed to lack the personal skills that make for an admired boss.

Paul Barry quite literally wrote the book on Kerry Packer (The Rise and Rise of Kerry Packer), and this is one I am yet to read. One I have read, though, is Barry's book on the One.Tel disaster Rich Kids, which contains a few tales on Packer, which may or may not also appear in TRaRoKP). This one in particular is revealing:

Meetings with Kerry could be gruelling at the best of times, but this was probably one of the worse. According to Jodee (Rich) and others, Packer's habit was to invite people for 10:00am and still be going strong at lunchtime. At this point, he liked to ring the buzzer underneath his desk and order his secretary, Carol, to bring in some rare roast beef sandwiches. These were so rare that there were only enough for him. For the next ten minutes he would sit there chomping away, while his hungry audience watched in awe. Sometimes, he would ring the buzzer a second time and bark out to Carol that he wanted some more.

Even Jode, it seems wasn't game to challenge this display of raw power, but he was not alone in that. There was an unwritten rule that no one left one of Kerry's meeting until hbe said it was over, and even James dared not argue with this. One executive tells how he absolutely had to get away by 2:30pm from an audience with Kerry that started at midday. He told James this when they went in, and James said it would be fine. It got close to 2:30pm and the man gestured to James that he had to leave. James looked nervous and shook his head. Finally, the man stood up to leave, saying, 'Kerry, I really have to go now'. Kerry roared, 'What do you mean, you have to fucking go?'. By this time, James had apparently turned white.


What a bastard.

One final note. Apparently mourners at Packer's funeral have been told not to dress in the traditional black. Packer thought this was too old fashioned and wouldn't look good on TV.

Instead, mourners should come dressed like this:

Kerry's Pyjama Party

5 comments:

Jim Woodcock said...

I had always wondered whether he was malicious or just tactless.

Peter Billing said...

What you may find comes out is some of the quote-unquote "decent" stuff he's done quietly.

Can't say I've always agreed with his political leanings, but if the only thing you can criticise him about is that he played hard ball with senior executives...

'Fraid I struggle to find any sympathy, brother. Each and every person makes their own choices and if they choose to play Kerry's game, they play by his rules.

Rich, Singo, Chisolm, Gyngell, even James... they all play the game for one reason... wealth, enormous, unpeakable wealth. If keeping some in a meeting past 2.30 is all you've got, keep lookin'!

John Lee said...

the question isn't whether Packer should be demonised but whether he should be lionised, and the answer is no.

Even leaving aside the thuggish aspects of his career - such as playing the
hired goon for his father - he didn't give much back to the community for such a wealthy man (worth 6.5 billion when he died). He did donate to hospitals, organ transplants and selected individuals, but proportionately he was no philantrophist. Instead he was known for high-stakes gambling and tax minimisation.

For some perspective, try comparing him to Bill Gates.
Packer doesn't come off very well...

Peter Billing said...

I'm sorry if you feel I've in some way suggested he was a philanthripost. I'd agree with your remarks there, although to compare him to Bill Gates is probably unreasonable. I think you'll find Gates is doing his bit for less honourable reasons than he'd have us believe.

Call it the sceptic in me, but I find it impossible to believe one man could change that much, even with the love of a good woman. Gates is criminal scum through and through.

I was simply commenting that to criticise him for his equally unconscionable senior executives is hardly news. They chose to work beside him.

NahumAyliffe said...

Hmm. Vale Kerry Packer. A man so courageous in his conviction to avoid, nay evade tax, better than a dole bludger avoids telling THE MAN he's got a cash job on the side.

PBL made 600million profit. Tax bill 6 million. Gee thanks. The only other person in the country paying 1percent taxation is um, the dole bludger earning money from his cash job and not declaring it.

All that money and it doesn't buy you a soul.