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Is Sir Fred Goodwin’s personal life in the public interest?

It's hot news right now that Sir Fred Goodwin, the former CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has filed a super-injunction to stop details coming out about his personal life in the press.

The issue now is that everyone wants the super-injunction removed, with MPs threatening to make public and leak to the press anyway.

What could be so personal?

And is it in the public interest to publish it?

Well, Guido Fawkes has allegedly already leaked the news:

So there was this ****** bloke who worked closely with another ****** colleague, they apparently began an adulterous affair not long after the ****ing crisis of 2008. He went to Court to stop it getting out that he had been banging her. Because he is the most notorious ****** of his generation he also banned references to his profession lest he be identified. Guido would be in contempt of Court if he told you his name or profession…

An affair? Ah well, c'est la vie and who would have thought, ay?

Is it in the public interest to share such news?

Some would say no:

So I hope the papers never get to publish any irrelevant details of Fred Goodwin’s private life. Instead they should write about his greed, his irresponsibility and his ultimate failure as a banker, and the harm that he has done to ordinary people. That is all worth publishing again.

But Naked Capitalism, who pointed me to the above, makes it quite clear why this is the way it should be:

This affair is one more data point pointing to the massive failure of corporate governance at RBS during Fred’s tenure. Which is one reason why it should not be covered up by this super-injunction.

Another reason is that Fred’s protestations about the privacy needs of his family, if that is what underlies the injunction, are disingenuous, and fantastically odious. I assume he means the family he deserted, not the new, smaller one that he’s now established. Well – no-one in the media has any beef with Fred’s kids or betrayed spouse. Fred’s the problem. And the broken happiness of his family is his responsibility: he can’t dodge the blame for that.

And the third reason is the source of the funds for the lawyers who brought Fred’s injunction. Fred’s unclawed-back loot, which properly belongs either with the shareholders and taxpayers who are lumbered with paying for the mess he left behind, now funds legal action to deny those same taxpayers access to facts they have a right to know about, and lands journos with extra expense, too. How the hell did that happen? There is public interest in that, for sure.

Since the UK’s great and good are about to consider the regulation of banks, they should bear in mind how much firmness of purpose is required to deal with the likes of Fred.

This super-injunction is an impudent, outrageous, self-indulgent, narcissistic abuse; the hallmark of the remorseless and unrepentant Sir Fred Goodwin, knighted for “services to banking” in 2004.

Do you ever get the impression that Sir Fred is no longer that popular?

Thanks to Richard Smith and Yves Smith for pointing out the details too …







About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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  • Please stop publishing such ridiculous misinformation! You should not be allowed to write about his failure as a banker in this way. I must correct you: he wasn’t a banker. He was an accountant, and had no banking qualifications at all.

  • Chris Skinner

    Thank you for your informed commentary Mr. Birch
    I could not say he was a banker as this is where the super injunction applies – you can no longer call Sir Fred “a banker”.
    He is now just a normal member of the voting public, a citizen and former CEO, just an average right said Fred sort of guy.
    Calling people “bankers” can get you taken to court …