Not a bad place to conduct business, between Monaco and Cannes, particularly when that business is offloading $1.76 billion in Crown shares to Ho at precisely the right time.
Packer only has to wait a few more months to jump ship to IJE, but we suspect he’s bound to wait far longer to find out if local regulators will give the Ho deal their stamp of approval.
Telling it to Mumma McCann
It is the most enduring mystery of Lendlease’s Barangaroo HQ: did the property giant’s corporate affairs boss Luisa Megale instruct chief executive Steve McCann’s wife Fika to remove her ostentatious Instagram account days before a profit downgrade?
There’s no doubt the account – which appears to no longer exist – was the talk of the office leading up the embarrassing November announcement about issues at its engineering business which pushed the Lendlease share price down nearly 20 per cent.
(So too was a 2015 blog post in which she reported having more than one hundred Camilla kaftans. “A three digit number … I was too frightened so I stopped counting – lol,” she declared, describing her style as “avant-garde and whimsical”.)
Lendlease sources claim Megale – who apparently took to referring to herself as “mumma” in the third person – was overheard discussing the issue.
Others say it is all fiction. While Megale has been known to use the word “mumma”, it is simply because she is a keen fan of American poet Dorothy Parker.
They claim no pressure was applied to end the Instagram activities.
New faces around the table
This column reported yesterday on new Labor leader Anthony Albanese putting the finishing touches on his staffing arrangements.
But while Albo is close to completing his staff plan, his deputy leader Richard Marles is only getting started.
He’s picked ALP’s deputy campaign director Lidija Ivanovski to take the role of chief of staff, in the place of former chief of staff Catherine Bergin.
Ivanovski was a former staffer for Marles, before moving to Western Bulldogs chairman Peter Gordon’s law firm to the unions, Gordon Legal, to take on the role of media director.
Across the divide, we’ve heard Josh Frydenberg’s charm offensive to keep an existing suite of staff in situ has largely worked.
Former BT corporate affairs head Martin Codina is staying put in his role leading the team.
But there has been some movement. Frydenberg’s constituent manager Sue Leidler has moved up and out of the Kooyong electorate office to become new Higgins MP Katie Allen’s chief of staff. Paediatric allergy specialist Allen will move into her predecessor and former frontbencher Kelly O’Dwyer’s Armadale office this week.
Also joining the Liberal federal team? NSW Young Liberal president Harry Stutchbury has taken on a permanent role with Wentworth MP and Liberal man of the moment Dave Sharma.
Stutchbury, who is the son of The Australian Financial Review editor in chief Michael Stutchbury, was Sharma’s campaign manager.
Melbourne Club misses out
Melbourne Club members have missed out buying the Mathews family’s office block which has gunbarrel views of the notoriously private club’s courtyard.
Any sadness at failing to buy the property is no doubt tempered by the fact it ended up costing a bomb.
Aconex founder and squillionaire Rob Phillpot ended up buying 39-41 Little Collins Street from the Mathews family at a packed auction on Friday. He paid a whopping $16.5 million for the three storey building with Italian dining establishment Lupino on its ground floor.
Phillpot beat, among others, property veteran Bill Shelton, who attended the event with Allard Shelton associate Joseph Walton, in an attempt to acquire the building for the club.
Shelton, who is usually immaculately attired, turned up “dressed like a farmer” according to one spy. “He was wearing an old sports cap, the scuffed up woollen jumper, moleskins … I’m not sure if he was trying to go incognito.”
But if he was out to keep a low profile, the ruse came undone when the bidding reached $15 million and Shelton got up to approach three men wearing suits in the centre of the room – all obviously fellow members.
After a short discussion, he jumped back in only to tap out at $16 million.
Phillpot, who was armed with paddle #1, was clearly going to land the building no matter what the price.
When asked about the auction, Shelton said the reports were “complete crap” but declined to say anything else.
Samantha is the The Age’s CBD columnist. She recently covered Victorian and NSW politics and business for News Corp, and previously worked for the Australian Financial Review.
Kylar Loussikian is The Sydney Morning Herald’s CBD columnist.