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No need for Celebrity Apprentice Mark Bouris to fire himself after wealth group turns a profit

Mark Bouris on ‘s Celebrity Apprentice. John Neal. Photo: Louie Douvis

Business guru and Celebrity Apprentice host Mark Bouris promised to fire himself if his financial group, Yellow Brick Road, did not make a profit this year.

He was joking of course, but the good news for Bouris is that he won’t have to worry about his long suffering fellow investors holding him to it.

YBR was very pleased to report on Monday that it has in fact made a profit following last year’s restructure, which saw Bouris fire – sorry, let go – a number of his senior executives to cut costs and put in place an executive team that was more hands on.

The company posted a $400,000 net profit after tax for the half year with encouraging results across the business.

It was a promise Bouris apparently failed to deliver on last year, so it would have been a relief for the Apprentice star whose reputation was well and truly on the line.

“In line with the reduction of a number of high-cost senior management roles and other various management layers in the whole group, I have asked the remaining senior managers to adopt what I call a ‘step-in’ mindset so they will be stepping into the roles that have been eliminated and this will be done starting with me as executive chairman,” Bouris said in August last year.

This was weeks ahead of the company reporting a $9.5 million loss for the previous financial year.

It also tapered off its advertising and marketing after spending $20 million during the previous three years building its YBR brand “to position itself for growth”. Disaster insurance   

Where do you start with insurer QBE.

Chief executive John Neal showed signs that he has finally got a handle on performance at the global insurer after years of cleaning up under his predecessor, the imperious Frank O’Halloran – and all of a sudden everything goes haywire.

“This is QBE’s best underwriting result for six years,” crowed Neal, but it was crowded out by a series of unfortunate events.

Like the abrupt departure, earlier this month, of QBE’s newy-minted chief operating officer, Colin Fagen. And then there was the huge penalty that chairman Marty Becker handed Neal over the tardy disclosure that he was having a relationship with his executive assistant.

“The two matters, I can assure you, are completely unrelated,” Neal told a media conference call about the above issues.

The fact that it has only been weeks since his departure means we do not know the size of Fagen’s exit package. But we do know that another senior executive, Mike Emmett, got a redundancy package of $1.4 million from QBE before taking up his new role last year at travel insurer Covermore.

Not bad given he also collected a $810,000 sign-on bonus at Covermore to compensate him for incentives forfeited when he departed QBE.

Now that is what you call comprehensive insurance. Salary Pac Pro 

If Post chairman John Stanhope needs any tips about how to put an agreeable salary package together for Ahmed Fahour’s replacement – prior to facing a Senate committee on Tuesday about THAT pay packet – he could always ask Fahour.

It is easy to forget that Fahour has successfully made the transition to chairman already at an ASX-listed company called Pro-Pac Packaging.

It is 49 per cent owned by Raphael Geminder, the brother-in-law of n packaging billionaire Anthony Pratt. Geminder was Fahour’s boardroom buddy at Carlton for many years, and they obviously get along.

But back to Pro-Pac. Fahour would have been happy to inform investors at last year’s AGM that Pro-Pac had a “pleasing set of results”. And his fellow investors obviously felt he hit the right note when it came to remunerating his chief executive, Peter Sutton.

Shareholders approved the remuneration resolution for Sutton – who has since resigned – to the tune of 99.9 per cent.

Let’s hope the January downgrade to earnings has not soured the relationship given the board role will be Fahour’s only gainful employment after July.

Fahour received $109,500 last year, including super totalling $2083.

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