Knight No More: The Rise and Fall of a British Banker (Commentary by Dr. Sanjay Paul)Feb 1st, 2012 | By Sanjay Paul | Category: Features, Front Page
In a deeply disturbing move, the British government has stripped Fred Goodwin of his knighthood. Mr. Goodwin, formerly Sir Goodwin, is the ex-CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland, a bank that failed in 2008 and helped usher in a recession in Britain. Following a government bailout of $71 billion, RBS was nationalized. British taxpayers now own an 82% stake in the bank.
So what led Queen Elizabeth II to revoke Fred’s knighthood? Apparently, he made some bad decisions just before the crisis, notable among them an ill-timed multi-billion dollar acquisition of a Dutch bank. And though Fred resigned, the British public took a rather dim view of his leaving with $25 million in pension benefits.
The former knight was renowned for his passion for cost-cutting, a trait that earned him the appellation of “Fred the Shred.” Such uncomplimentary titles appear to be the lot of chieftains who seek to boost profits through massive layoffs–just ask “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap, another misunderstood captain of industry. Critics will say that Dunlap ran Sunbeam into the ground while engaging in a massive accounting fraud, but these things tend to happen when you are working yourself to the bone on behalf of your shareholders.
Unlike Al, however, Fred has not been charged with any crime. But no matter. What the Queen giveth, she can taketh away–and she has done just that with Fred’s knighthood. Albion has proved to be perfidious yet again.
For all the sordid details, read http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/markets/sir-no-more-british-government-says-ex-rbs-chief-fred-goodwin-stripped-of-knighthood/2012/01/31/gIQAvSjZfQ_story.html?tid=pm_business_pop