Padraic Fallon, the chairman and editor-in-chief of Euromoney Institutional Investor, was the person who highlighted to me the importance of being first. "Write something new, Abigail," he would say. "Always try to be first with your angle or story. Go out and meet new people."
Padraic died in October of cancer. Until the last few months, he was closely involved in running the firm. Padraic loved life and he relished our business. At the age of 66, he was too young to die.
Padraic was my boss, my mentor and my friend. We first met when I was a 26-year-old graduate trainee at Merrill Lynch. And during my 20-year career in the City, Padraic would make sure that we had regular lunches at the Savoy Grill. I was busy doing deals and running a team but somehow it never crossed my mind that I could not spare the time to enjoy several hours in Padraics company.
The same was true for many bankers much more important than me. He mingled effortlessly and was an integral part of the investment banking scene. I remember how when Euromoney started its Global Borrowers Forum, he would make his rounds: visiting various senior bankers to ask for sponsorship. Padraic believed that face-to-face contact was essential to build business friendships. Few refused his requests.
It is only now that Padraic has gone that I realize what an impressive person he was and how extraordinary his achievements were. I cannot think of another journalist who has built together, of course, with Euromoneys founder, Sir Patrick Sergeant a £1 billion business.
Padraic was warm, amusing and loyal but was also a demanding professional. When I joined Euromoney, some seven years ago, as a cub reporter, he was an exceptionally busy chairman. But Padraic still took the time to read my columns and would send me emails urging improvement. "Keep a copy of the Euromoney style guide by your side at all times," he thundered.
My column is controversial, and occasionally individuals or firms would complain. Padraic never shied away from controversy or conflict and would wade in to support me. I was particularly critical of one firms strategy, stating that it was squandering shareholders money and the chief executive should be fired. The head of corporate communications, urged on by management, called me, outraged. He then complained to my editor and finally rang Padraic, threatening to remove all the firms business from the Euromoney group. Padraic robustly dismissed the pathetic PR peons complaints. He then called me. "As far as Im concerned," he growled, "I dont give a fig if they never spend a dollar with us again."
Everything happened as I had predicted: shareholders were unforgiving, the firms strategy unravelled and the chief executive was duly removed. When I rang Padraic to break the news, he had one question: "Have they apologized yet?"
Padraic was a gentleman: he had impeccable manners and there were rules to the game.
I last saw Padraic in April. We had lunch in the City with a charming Swiss banker, Allegra Berman, UBSs co-head of EMEA debt capital markets. Although he was undergoing intensive chemotherapy, Padraic ate fish and chips and drank two beers. We talked about how some bankers were still enjoying large compensation packages and Padraic reminisced about interviewing the wealthy Lazard banker Michel David-Weill. "Sometimes enough is never enough," he said phlegmatically.
Padraic also told us about a lunch he had with Bob Diamond, the former Barclays chief, shortly after Diamond was appointed to the top job. Bob and Padraic had known each other for some 15 years. Padraic, who was never overawed by anyone, apparently chided the ebullient chief executive: "Now Bob, you mustnt get too big for your boots." To which Diamond replied: "Well if I do, Padraic, you must put me in my place."
On learning of Padraics death, the chief executive of a top global bank wrote a note of condolence: "I am reminded how much I enjoyed my meetings with Padraic over the years, how he set such high standards for the financial media, and how he inspired so many journalists to shine a considered and analytical light on our industry."
Padraic was indeed a special person. He created an impressive publishing and business information organization and carved out for himself a special position at the centre of the financial industry. He will be greatly missed by those whose lives he touched. A memorial service will be held in the New Year.