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Bye, bye Dennis; I wish you’d reined in the “nasty bastards”

October 13th, 2008 (updated September 19th, 2012)

Lord Dennis Stevenson, the former chairman of HBOS, last year gave a remarkably revealing interview to Melanie Reid of the The Times. Speaking to Reid, and in a remarks to mental health conference in Glasgow, Stevenson admitted he has been a long-term sufferer from depression.

To my mind, he deserves credit for owning up to suffering from a mental illness along these lines. Not many FTSE-100 chairmen would dare to be so open about such things. See Melanie’s article, published on October 24th, 2007, The black cloud that can loom over anyone regardless of wealth, success or security.

Stevenson, whose tenure as HBOS chairman ended disgracefully and ignominiously today when he was ousted as  part of its nationalisation by the British government following its near collapse last month, in October 2007 told the Scotland’s Health In Mind conference:

“The key word is humanity. There’s nothing to beat the people at the top of an organisation being seen to be human and displaying normal emotions and feelings. Does that mean they are soft? You bet it doesn’t.”

“If you are running something and you get tired and emotional and lose your temper, the thing you must do is say sorry. And your employees will think: ‘Well, at least the old bugger knows how to apologise.’ That’s more important than anything else.”

Lord Stevenson added:-

“It is a nasty truth in life that a nasty bastard with no humanity can be successful in business, but not for any length of time. Type A males who are competitive and insensitive to other people’s feelings have to change if they are going to build something that’s sustainable and will continue long after they are gone.”

Hear, hear, Dennis.

However, if there was anyone who fits this description inside the bank you led — Peter Cummings?? Sir James Crosby?? — it’s a shame you were unable to deal with them while you still could. If you had, the Edinburgh-based bank might, just might, have had a longer shelf life.

Now, sadly, its too late. It’s going to be up to people like Gordon Brown, or at least Lloyds TSB chief executive Eric Daniels, to try and sort out the mess …

Short URL: https://www.ianfraser.org/?p=667

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