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Sunday, 23 September 2007

Just when you think you've seen it all...

... your breath is taken away by [potentially libellous comments redacted].

A harmless looking IPO filing at the SEC here from Babcock & Brown Air Limited here. Babcock & Brown are a well established US/Australian investment banking boutique and I have no doubt that the particuular company, an Irish aircraft leasing company, leasing 47 mostly narrowbody commercial passenger jests, is very well run. Since their chairman is a Harvard educated lawyer (no doubt familiar with the laws of libel) I am especially certain that it is an extremely well run company, but there is a curious item under the list of company directors:

Susan M. Walton has been a member of our board of directors since June 2007. Ms. Walton is the chief executive of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (‘‘HWT’’), a leading wildlife conservation charity in England, where she is responsible for biodiversity projects in two counties and developing partnerships with key stakeholder groups. Prior to joining HWT in 2006, she served as general manager – structured finance and export credit, for Rolls-Royce Capital Limited I for over ten years. Ms. Walton was also a Principal at Babcock & Brown from 1989 to 1997 where she was responsible for producing and implementing Babcock & Brown’s annual European marketing plan. Ms. Walton is a trustee for Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust and a member of Chichester Harbour Conservancy. Ms. Walton holds a degree in Environmental Conservation from Birkbeck College, University of London.

That's right, a professional "green" who is a director of an aircraft leasing company. I have no doubt that the person's experience makes them a perfectly suitable candidate to be a director of an aircraft leasing company, but do the people of Hampshire know about this sideline? After all the Trust’s website makes the following statement regarding corporate sponsorship:

“The Trust expects its corporate supporters to demonstrate a commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their business and protecting the wildlife heritage of our two counties. The Trust can offer advice and work co-operatively with companies to help them achieve this. However the Trust will not work with, or accept membership from, corporate organisations whose activities are fundamentally in conflict with the aims of the Trust.”

This is the same Trust that objected to housebuilding in Hampshire here:

Sue Walton, chief executive of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, added: 'This revised plan is a step too far at a time when there are huge uncertainties about water resources, waste water disposal, flood risk and rising sea levels. 'How much more evidence does the government need that we cannot keep hammering our environment?'

As we all know, the key to success in business is total sincerity. Learn how to fake that and you're made.

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