Often Partisan

AGM Thoughts

It was confirmed yesterday at the Birmingham International Holdings Annual General Meeting that former Acting Chairman of BCFC Peter Pannu has been re-elected as an Executive Director, and that Panos Pavlakis who has been working at the club in a similar capacity has failed re-election.

There has obviously been a lot of hullabaloo about all this, and a lot to take in. With this in mind I’ve spent some time talking to people to try and work out what this means for the future of the club, the sale process and what happens next. Please be aware I’m not a lawyer nor an accountant, and that while I’ll cite facts where I can I am going to speculate based on what I’ve been told – all speculation should be treated with the scepticism it deserves.

So is Pannu coming back?

At face value, the only change to the status quo of last week is that Panos Pavlakis is no longer a director of BIH – while Peter Pannu had been removed as Chief Executive and Managing Director following the remarks he made on this website, he was still in place.

However, as I’ve alluded before, there is a split in the boardroom and with Panos no longer being a director the dynamics change somewhat. Instead of it being 4-3 against Pannu, it’s now 3-3; the casting vote goes to the Chairman, Cheung Shing who is currently in the anti-Pannu faction of the board. What this means is that Pannu hasn’t completed regained power… yet. There have been rumours of further board change including the removal of directors and the appointment of new ones and I wouldn’t be surprised if the names for removal are the three directors that are against Pannu – whether that will happen remains to be seen.

The status quo in Birmingham will not change in the immediate future; Panos has an employment contract with BIH and is still a director of BCFC and thus will continue in that role. However, his position is a little shaky as it only requires a BIH board resolution to remove him and should the makeup of the BIH board return to one that is completely within the control of Pannu you can bet your bottom dollar things will change in Birmingham such is the antipathy between the two. I don’t think Pannu will actually physically return to Birmingham – my personal opinion is that he doesn’t have the cojones to do so – but if Panos and Victor are removed from the BCFC board I could see someone who Pannu could control being installed in their place. All appointments would have to be confirmed as “fit and proper” by the Football League – something Pannu will no doubt be aware of and I’m sure would ensure would be complied with.

What about the sale of the club?

This is the tricky bit. It’s my belief that Pannu’s re-election was effectively confirmed by a bloc vote made by Carson as largest shareholder. I can’t prove that as a) it’s a secret ballot, and b) around 4.6billion shares didn’t use their votes but I’m going on information received from my sources in Hong Kong.

Carson has no desire to sell the club – I think he honestly believes he’s going to be released from prison on appeal and ride back to B9 on a white charger with a sack of money over each shoulder to the adoration of blues fans. It’s true that while I think his first appeal will ultimately fail, I think he really does have a chance in the court of final appeal and I can believe Carson is willing to wait 18 months for the chance to regain face by returning to the football club and restoring former glories.

However, it’s also my understanding that Pannu does want to sell the club – and here we have the issue of control again. While in prison, Carson can only have three personal visits per month – however his lawyers are allowed to visit him every day. Pannu gave up the bar in 2009 and so can’t visit as a lawyer – but if he is in thick with Carson’s legal advisors it’s easy enough to get a continual flow of information into Carson. It’s my belief (based on previous actions) that Pannu will be telling Carson information that will promote the idea that Pannu is the only person Carson can trust and to do away with trusting others – and in the absence of other info, what is Carson going to believe?

Before people talk about the sale of the club being a good thing, there are two things to bear in mind. Firstly, if you think back to the Gold and Sullivan era there were people who wanted “anyone else” – are they happy now? All those people who think Gold and Sullivan are culpable for the mess we’re in should remember that and not want history to repeat. Secondly (again, based on previous actions), it’s my personal belief that Peter Pannu is really only interested in two things – his ego/face, and his wallet.

We know for a fact that Pannu has demanded a commission to sell the club – both from a prospective buyer and from BIH. It strikes me that Pannu will more likely do a deal to sell the club to someone who is prepared to pay him off than someone who isn’t – whether the deal is better for Birmingham City or even BIH and it’s shareholders or not – and so while I believe Pannu when he says he wants to try to sell the club I don’t think it’s necessarily the right sale. There is still more than one person/consortium interested in the purchase – surely the sale should be the right one commercially for BIH at least than the right one for Peter Pannu.

What can we do?

I know that people are emailing the Football League having read social media and the comments on here; however I have to admit I think that this is time wasted. The FL are already investigating what is happening BUT I believe they will fall short of taking action – I don’t think there is much that they can actually do at this time. Their primary goal is to ensure that all clubs complete their fixtures for the season and I believe this is what they will try to ensure.

The right people are the people who have the power to censure BIH and to strike off directors. The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong answers to the Securities and Futures Commission – and these are the people to put pressure on.

However should you want to do something it’s best not to go off half-cocked. For the SFC to investigate, they will need to see evidence of a potential rule breach and thus it’s vital when contacting them that it’s done in the proper format which shows what rules have been possibly broken and how. This is something that requires a bit more thought but should people want it I will put out there in the next few days how to contact the SFC and what they should be contacted with.

Conclusion

Yes, it looks bad – and it’s majorly detracting from the good vibes and good stuff on the pitch. My worry is that even the people who don’t care about this stuff will be affected soon because that good stuff on the pitch will be affected by the changes at BIH – especially should they choose to reverse the flow of money out of Hong Kong to the club. All we can hope is that the regulatory authorities do their job and ensure BIH remain using proper governance and aren’t potentially in the thrall of people who’s aims are unclear and conflicting with those of the shareholders.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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16 Responses to “AGM Thoughts”

  • DoctorD says:

    What I don’t get is why Pannu, who had been sacked as MD and CEO of BIHL, should get elected back on to the board. Surely if Carson is such big pals with Pannu, Carson would have not allowed that to happen. What I also want to know is what Panos thinks of all this — is he likely to clear off and just think BCFC isn’t worth it?

  • Masaccio says:

    Carson needs to know that he isn’t welcome at St. Andrews anymore, is he so deluded to think he can one day come back??

  • Mineheadblue says:

    I’m now too depressed to comment other than to say thanks again for your accurate information, updates and critical interpretation of events.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    Thanks for the update. Yes, please update with SFC info. Let’s hope that ‘Pocket Expenses’ Pete gets his comeuppance one day.

  • Peter Bates says:

    Bih have announced tha panos is an executive director to the stock exchange

  • Lee says:

    Amazes me how anyone from Hong Kong can think they actually have face after the last 4 years, the way they have conducted their business is an embarrassment, they are nothing more than common criminals, and in most cases they’re not very good at that neither, each using what they know about each other against each other, some clearly more than others, but the most important and disturbing issue in it all is none of them care, they don’t care about their actions, if they do see how they’re behaving it clearly doesn’t bother them, their own personal greedy agendas are more important and one particular individual will show no bounds to get what he wants, what he wants is power, which is his prerogative I guess, but what amazes me is why he’s still hanging around a company that has been so badly managed it’s ridiculous, if you want face why would you expect face being a director of a poorly run company that has had its shares suspended by your very own actions, pannu is such a ridiculous human being it’s unbelievable, but then I guess we’ve seen the guys actions, and unfortunately because of the state of bihl we’ve also seen his handy work, so I guess being a director of a sham of a company is about all pannu is worth, because any decent we’ll run business not being run from a prison cell would not touch the vile noodle chomping specimen with a barge pole, the guy is bad news and very bad for business

  • Peter Bates says:

    Mr pavlakis back as an executive director of bih god knows what happens over there it’s like a circus

  • Blue Stu says:

    Thanks once again for the full story Dan. Please do post the details of the SFC and maybe a template letter that we could all bombard them with.

  • bluenose08 says:

    isn’t there a conflict of interests here as pannu wants to sell the club to line his own pockets but his mate carson doesn’t want to sell.. !!

  • fingles says:

    I am 2/3 the way through your book Dan.

    It is not keeping pace with what is currently going on so book 2 must follow.

  • darren says:

    HI Dan

    Are we better off focussing on letting carson know he isn’t wanted? if he gets the message / peer pressure from fellow Hong kong inhabitants he may cave in?

    • AussieBlue says:

      Darren – would make not one jot of difference. Business people at that level don’t give a rat’s arse if they are wanted or not…like Kraft/Mondelez taking over Cadburys. Even the British Govt said they were not wanted and certainly the citizens of Bourneville said the same…but they know how to exploit every loophole in corporate regulations and the stock exchanges. Appealing to someone’s better nature when they don’t have one is like peeing into the wind.


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