Bank of Queensland Managing Director David Liddy said today a newspaper article regarding the Banks support for the Brisbane Lions and his personal friendship with Collection House CEO John Pearce was much ado about nothing.
It seems to be increasingly difficult for corporations or individual executives to contribute in any way outside the core business without someone trying to smear and besmirch it, Mr Liddy said.
I was a member of the Lethal Lions as part of the Banks sponsorship of the Gabba scoreboards. I resigned when I joined the Lions Board 16 months ago.
An innocent email I wrote regarding the provision of sports internships for Lions players in order to provide them corporate experience in the off-season and future career direction, has been blown out of all proportion. These BOQ sports internships have provided support for Reds rugby players, Olympic athletes and AFL players over the last three years.
I also assure shareholders that the Bank has been completely transparent in its sponsorship arrangements with the Lions, as it has with the Reds, the Royal Children's Hospital and every other organisation we sponsor, for that matter, Mr Liddy said.
In total, Bank of Queensland employed then Lions players Blake Caracella and Brad Scott as sporting interns over a two-year period. In that time they earned less than $4,000 combined from BOQ. The interns were paid on an hourly basis and full disclosure of these figures was provided to the AFL.
The Banks acquisition of ATM Solutions Australasia Ltd was announced to the ASX on June 16, 2003 and completed on September 10, 2003. The arrangement surrounded the Bank purchasing the remaining 90 per cent it did not already own in the company. That included some shares owned by Mr Pearce and his partners through another company. Mr Pearces company was a minority shareholder.
Since purchasing ATM Solutions, BOQ's ATM business has grown significantly and it now has the second largest bank-owned ATM network in Australia with more than 2,200 machines. The purchase provided the Banks new interstate customers with an inbuilt ATM network and the Bank with national branding.
ATM Solutions value has increased substantially since Bank of Queensland's acquisition.
ATM Solutions has been a cornerstone acquisition for Bank of Queensland and its interstate expansion and been a contributor to the early success of BOQ's first interstate branches. Its purchase was approved by the BOQ Board and involved detailed due diligence undertaken by the Bank, and its independent external legal and financial advisers. The acquisition process was completely transparent and in the shareholders interests.
While the newspaper articles seem to contain no specific allegations or claims of wrongdoing, they do, in my opinion, smear the Banks and my own hard-earned corporate and personal reputations. Consequently, I am investigating all legal avenues regarding these articles, Mr Liddy said.