CBD

If only Brookes keeps babbling

If only Brookes keeps babbling

Myer boss Bernie Brookes' already strong dislike of the interwebs would no doubt have been made yet stronger on Thursday when social media came ablaze with disdain for his remark that a levy proposed by the Gillard government to fund its National Disability Insurance Scheme would hurt his department store business.

Confronted by keyboard warriors twittering their outrage at his insensitivity towards the disabled, Brookes was forced to apologise.

CBD hopes the experience doesn't scare the normally forthcoming Brookes into silence. Too many of Australia's executives are non-entities who mutter nothing but corporate gobbledegook.

Brookes' outbursts also provide plenty of fodder for hacks.

Just two months ago, his remark to CBD that there would be "a degree of awkwardness" in Myer's relationship with fashion designer Kym Ellery once they'd finished suing each other was almost immediately used against Myer by rival David Jones in court.

Brookes was a key figure in the anti-internet shopping push spearheaded by permatanned rival Solomon Lew in late 2010, which drew plenty of ire from punters.

In August that year, he threatened to take jobs offshore and set up a Myer offshore store. He did, and the myfind.com website has been so successful it earned zero mentions in the store's latest annual report.

August 2010 also saw Brookes complain that dealing with shareholders, rather than Myer's previous private equity owner TPG, as "like herding cats" - a remark he apologised for later the same day.

Not that TPG escaped. In March 2010, following Myer's disastrous float, he said he wanted to wait before going to market, "but the owners make the decision as to when they want to go forward with the IPO, not the management".

Best of enemies

Seven's Celebrity Splash has shown TV viewers have an insatiable desire to watch humiliating clashes between moderately well-known people. So here's one encounter the network could televise for big ratings at little expense: the reunion between media journeyman John Alexander, who was appointed to Seven's board on Thursday, and equally veteran TV newsman Peter Meakin, a consultant for the network, although exactly what he does CBD couldn't find out.

Meakin legendarily quit Nine in 2003 because of Alexander. In his book Who Killed Channel Nine?, Gerald Stone alleges JA went behind Meakin's back to get rid of business journalist Michael Pascoe (who now writes for Fairfax Media).

According to Stone, Meakin rang Nine owner Kerry Packer and said: "I can't work with the duplicitous bastard; he's a 24-carat c---."

Later the same day, he allegedly twice repeated the epithet to Alexander's face during a two-minute tirade in David Gyngell's office.

Swan takes flight

Sydney Swans chairman Richard Colless has kicked his last goal after telling the club's board of directors he won't seek re-election when his term expires in February next year.

Colless is currently the longest serving chairman in the AFL competition, having been at the helm since 1993.

Speculation is that Colless' Moelis workmate Andrew Pridham or property industry heavyweight Greg Paramor could be in line to take the gig.

Arnie, anyone?

First, prices were slashed to ribbons like one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's victims in 1980s masterpiece Commando.

Now, promoters of the Governator's forthcoming speaking tour are trying to give away tickets to see the great man. On Thursday, PR agency Markson Sparks told media outlets it had tickets available for giveaways to the June tour, promoted by Jamie McIntyre. What next, paying people to take them?

Got a tip?

bbutler@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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