Padraic Fallon, Euromoney Institutional Investor’s chairman and editor-in-chief, has died at the age of 66. Euromoney’s editor Clive Horwood remembers a true legend of financial journalism, reviews the legacy he has created and recalls the qualities that made Fallon such a unique and successful person.
As editor of Euromoney, it has been my pleasure and privilege to meet many great and important people: heads of state, ministers, chief executives of some of the world’s largest corporations and the smartest minds in the world of finance.
So I make the following statement in absolute certainty: Padraic Fallon is the finest man I’ve known.
His achievements alone would go some way to justifying this opinion. He took a small but influential publication, Euromoney, and made it into the most authoritative voice on the rapid growth of international banking and finance. He turned a one-publication firm into a business worth more than £1 billion, publishing close to 100 titles, organising influential conferences and meetings across the globe, making it one of the most admired and successful publishing companies in the world.
But his influence extends much further than Euromoney Institutional Investor, the company he worked at for nearly 40 years, and which he chaired for 20.
Padraic created an entire industry. As Euromoney’s editor from 1974 to 1986, he redefined financial journalism. He took an arcane, difficult-to-understand market and made it come alive on the page, through his words and his ability to make the people within those markets tell their own stories. Hundreds of publications take their lead from what Padraic did with Euromoney.
Within that industry, countless financial journalists have passed through Euromoney to move on to successful careers at leading titles. In each of those, and in every journalist at Euromoney Institutional Investor today and those to come, Padraic’s legacy lives on.
For all his business success, and the wealth and status that came with it, Padraic was always at heart a journalist. He inherited his love of words from his father, also Padraic, a poet. He believed in their power. He adored writing. Right up to his death, even in terrible health, he was working on his third book.
When as a callow youth with vague aspirations of a career in journalism I walked through his door almost 20 years ago, I had no idea of the wonderful journey that lay ahead with Padraic.
He was the greatest teacher any young journalist could have. His method was clear: write simply, be fair, be tough. But the real education was not in how to construct a sentence or how to make a feature flow: it was to see how much enjoyment you could have through a career in journalism. Padraic revealed this every single day. He loved the buzz, he never tired of meeting new people, he showed that through work life-long friendships could be made.
Many years later, when he asked me to be editor of Euromoney, he told me it was the greatest job in the world. He was right. He’d created it. I was simply lucky to follow. Padraic was also a hard man. No colleague ever wanted to be on the receiving end of one of the flinty-eyed stares that heralded and almost obviated the need for the stern words that were to come. But that toughness was also a journalist’s best friend. Padraic would always stand by a writer and his story, often in the face of threats from some of the world’s most powerful companies, as long as the piece was fair and accurate.
More often than not his eyes would sparkle with the joys of his family, of his friends, of his myriad interests, of his job and of life in general. This was complemented by a mischievous and often wicked sense of humour that could reduce a room to tears of laughter.
We all knew Padraic was tough, but we never realised just how tough until he became ill. He amazed everyone at Euromoney when, after a morning of chemotherapy, he would come to the office that same afternoon as if it was all part of the normal order. He fought and battled to the very end. It was his nature to do so.
It is tragic that Padraic’s life has been cut short at the age of 66. He had so much more to give. But he packed more into those years than the average person could achieve in many lives.
He leaves behind his wife Gillian and children Jolyon, Nicola, Harriet and Annabel. They are in our thoughts and prayers. It is sad to think that his current and future grandchildren have had torn away their right to grow up with a self-admitted doting grandfather. But they will grow to love him through the countless tales of his life, his spirit, his kindness and his achievements.
It seems impossible to contemplate a Euromoney without Padraic. But his soul will continue to infuse the entire organization. At a time when the type of journalism he created is under threat from new technology, we can continue to ensure its future by following the doctrine that he lived by: work hard, write well, have fun.