Abigail with attitude: How Euromoney brought Lloyds and Aberdeen together

Abigail Hofman
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Just in case you thought that Abigail with attitude dinners are occasions for hot air and posturing, I would remind you of the deal, finalized this November, in which Aberdeen Asset Management purchased Scottish Widows from Lloyds Banking Group. Well, the chief executives of Lloyds and Aberdeen – António Horta-Osório and Martin Gilbert – first met at a Euromoney dinner two years ago.
Sometimes, however, potential guests try to evade my clutches. For example, I had invited a senior European banker from a top US firm to the most recent Euromoney roundtable dinner. The evening before the event, I received an email from the senior banker’s communications man stating: “Alas, [senior banker’s] global role (too) often means he’s at 33,000 feet en route to clients. And that’s the case here — he’s now travelling.” The Abigail with attitude column was underwhelmed by this lack of commitment. As a former senior banker myself, I know how rare it is that travel plans change at the very last minute. Normally, trips and pitches are scheduled well in advance. But the story became more intriguing when one of my spies spotted the senior banker drinking in a fashionable London private members club on the night of the dinner. My ire was ignited and I wrote to the senior banker saying that his cover had been blown.

Back came a contrite email insisting that his 78-year-old mother had unexpectedly visited from the Continent. It was not the senior banker but his revered mother who was at 33,000 feet! I do hope that the lines of communication between the firm’s senior bankers and its PR department improves. “Honestly,” my mole sighed. “It’s come to a pretty pass when a 50-something, multimillionaire banker is still using his mother to get him out of trouble!”