'I'm not Father Christmas' and other business quotes of 2016

The Santa Claus

Sir Philip Green as he gave evidence to the House of Commons business, energy and industrial strategy committee in June about the collapse of BHS.

He told MP Richard Fuller: “Do you mind not looking at me like that all the time, it’s really disturbing … Sorry, do you just want to stare at me, it’s making me uncomfortable that’s all.”

Mike Ashley, founder of Sports Direct, faced MPs in June as he pledged to improve working conditions: “I’m not Father Christmas, I’m not saying I’ll make the world wonderful.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Conservative MP on the Treasury committee, told Newsnight in a discussion about the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts on Brexit in November: “There’s a great line from Cicero that there’s nothing so absurd that it hasn’t been said by some philosopher. I think suspicion of experts goes back into antiquity. It’s a very healthy thing to have. Experts, soothsayers, astrologers are all in much the same category.”

Tim Martin, boss of JD Weatherspoon, three months after the Brexit vote: “We were told it would be Armageddon from the OECD, from the IMF, David Cameron, the chancellor and President Obama who were predicting locusts in the fields and tidal waves in the North Sea.”

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, one month before the EU referendum: “We have looked at all the scenarios. We have done our homework and we haven’t found anything positive to say about a Brexit vote.”

Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, speaking in November about a row with Unilever over the price of Marmite: “When there is devaluation, what multinationals do is they present sales at constant and current exchange rates and the City understands. The only thing we would ask is that companies in that position don’t ask UK customers to pay inflated prices in order that their reporting currency is maintained. They don’t do that to countries outside of the UK.”

Theresa May criticised the business world as she launched her national campaign for her Conservative party leadership bid in July: “I want to see changes in the way that big business is governed. The people who run big businesses are supposed to be accountable to outsiders, to non-executive directors, who are supposed to ask the difficult questions, think about the long term and defend the interests of shareholders.”

Simon Walker, outgoing boss of the Institute of Directors, spoke out on executive pay in November: “Unless boards show that they are listening, and responding, to the mood of the times, the government’s trigger finger will just get itchier and itchier.”

Jeremy Berg, a spokesman for Hertfordshire-based Mossack Fonseca & Co (UK), attempting to distance the company from the Panama Papers leaks as the scandal unfurled in April: “Mossack Fonseca & Co (UK) Ltd is not to be confused with Mossack Fonseca, a company based in Panama which is the subject of the news articles and other items published in the media … It is an entirely separate legal entity from the Panamanian law firm whose records have been leaked to the media.”

Michael Sherwood, co-head of Goldman Sachs’s business in Europe, as he announced in November that he was stepping down after 30 years: “I’ve been a Goldman Sachs addict and it’s very hard to come off an addiction.”

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, justifying his pay after a shareholder revolt in June: “If there is something wrong with building a company from two people to 194,000 people, where 600,000 people depend on WPP for their livelihoods, then mea culpa.”

Greg Clark, the business secretary, speaking on Question Time in October about a post-Brexit agreement with carmaker Nissan: “There’s no chequebook. I don’t have a chequebook. The important thing is that they know this is a country in which they can have confidence they can invest. That was the assurance and the understanding they had and they have invested their money.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jill Treanor, for The Guardian on Wednesday 28th December 2016 06.00 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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