Can Hands’ glittering career continue after he likened bankers to ‘whimpering dogs’?
Guy Hands, boss of private equity group Terra Firma, has apparently felt the need to despatch letters of apology after he called bankers “loyal dogs” who “whimper” when they get hit.
Hands made the comments at a Paris conference last week. He reportedly said (according to the Financial Times) that in the current climate bankers would refuse to bankroll mega-buyouts for years, because they are happy “in a pack”, they like “to smell easy prey and push each other out of the way for food” and, “like any loyal dogs, when they get hit, they whimper.”
Leaving aside the issue of whether Hands’ analysis is correct, are bankers liable to forgive him? The FT says he’s already received a box of dog biscuits in the post with a note advising him to “use them sparingly” on his bankers.
Hands’ outspokenness is reminiscent of Gerald Ratner, the jewellery retail chain boss, who in 1991 famously described his products as crap during a speech and saw business promptly tank thereafter.
Will Hands, who’s currently trying to digest a 4bn investment in EMI (leaving his Citigroup financiers saddled with a 2.5bn loan which they reportedly can’t syndicate), recover from his faux pas? Or is he, like Ratner, now set for a prolonged period in the doghouse?