Amanda Staveley, celebrity broker

December 3, 2014

Network Activator

Network Activator

Paul Hinks

The celebrity entrepreneur Amanda Staveley is involved in a consortium of investors bidding for three leading London hotels: Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley

One report suggests that the bid is from Middle East investors.

An earlier LWD post traced her background and rise to business success. Staveley, a former girlfriend of Prince Andrew, and one-time beauty model as student at Cambridge University, has a credible reputation for broking billion dollar deals through her networking skills. In 2008, she was instrumental in negotiating a £12 billion investment in Barclays Bank using money from Abu Dhabi and Qatar, before helping broker the purchase of Manchester City Football Club by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour .

Doing well what bankers do badly

Members of her network of wealthy contacts invest not only their cash, but also invest their trust in Staveley’s council and advice. The London Evening Standard speculates on important qualities that help her to deliver successful outcomes for her clients:

So how does she do it? As a woman, Staveley is negotiating uncertain terrain. She attributes her success to luck and an ability to assess and evaluate information quickly. “I can see an opportunity or a problem faster than any lawyer,” she says. “I can see a document and find a hole in it, or I can understand what I can put in to make the contract work.”

Private-equity veteran Guy Hands, who has known Staveley for years, says: “Amanda acts as a confidante to some very wealthy individuals and funds in the Middle East. She finds opportunities for them, which fit what they are trying to do. She has a very good track record and she realizes what her place is; she doesn’t tell her clients what they should want, instead she distils their wishes for them. She does what most investment bankers are bad at — she listens.”

Courage in adversity

The enviable story of success conceals personal misfortune. The Daily Standard also reports that Ms Staveley has been diagnosed as carrying the gene for Huntington’s disease, a degenerative condition which will progressively restrict her career. She has responded with courage and determination:

“It definitely gets me to the gym every day. When I have done all my exercises, I work with a therapist doing balance exercises, and I inhale antioxidants. I also shout at God occasionally.”

The author

Paul is a regular contributor to LWD on sporting, business and technology stories. His post on Apple Foxconn is the most visited, since its publication in 2012


Amanda Staveley: “If not the architect a big piece of the architecture” of Abu Dhabi RBS deal

March 28, 2012

Amanda Staveley is a global networking superstar. Her latest role has been a broker of a proposed deal to sell-off part of the UK Government’s investment in The Royal Bank of Scotland to Abu Dhabi

LWD has followed the high-flying career of Amanda Staveley for some time. Our post [Sept 2008] on her networking activities has been one of the most visited, although its author suspects that its popularity may owe more to its image of Ms Staveley than to its textual information:

Her network of significant contacts in The Middle East had involved her earlier in the year in the negotiations by Dubai International Capital for purchase of shares that would lead to a takeover at Liverpool Football Club. In this she had been working on behalf of Sheikh Maktoum. This deal was to fall though, but shortly afterwards, she was hired by Thaksin Shinawatra, the beleaguered Chairman of Manchester City Football Club, who was looking for a buyer for the club. Early reports gave prominence to the charismatic figure of Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim and his audacious public claims for turning Manchester City into the biggest and richest football club in the world.

The RBS share sale

This week, [March 27th 2012] a news story broke internationally concerning the speculation about the sell-off of shares held by the UK government in The Royal Bank of Scotland. The Wall Street Journal described it as follows:

Amanda Staveley, a British banker renowned for deal-making with Arab Gulf power players, is advising Abu Dhabi on its potential purchase of a stake in the U.K. government-owned Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS), according to [an unnamed source].

Staveley already helped broker a deal that saw Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family, participate in a £7 billion fundraising for the U.K. bank Barclays in 2008. Given her past success, Staveley is likely to be an important figure in the RBS deal. [The unnamed source said] “If she’s not the architect, she’ll be a big piece of the architecture.”

The negotiations between Abu Dhabi and the U.K. Treasury and U.K. Financial Investments PLC, or UKFI, which was created to hold the government’s stake in RBS, were unlikely to produce a deal for some time. “Talks have been going on for many months, but if something were to happen it would take several [more] months.”
It remains unclear which entity or entities in Abu Dhabi might hold a stake in RBS should the deal go through, the said. What percentage of the bank Abu Dhabi would buy or how much money it would spend were also open-ended, and the “discussions are likely around what needs to be invested in the business.”

Acknowledgement

The image above of Amanda Staveley was obtained from The Sebamban Website


The Posh and Becks of Banking: Diana and Roger Jenkins

July 21, 2009

Roger Jenkins

Sanela Diana Jenkins

Roger Jenkins, celebrity socialite banker is to start his own consulting firm. His story, and that of his wife Diana, illustrate the glamorous side of international finance

Barclays avoided any government bailout in 2008 by raising £7bn, mainly from investors in the Middle East. A key player was the arbitrage figure Roger Jenkins. Now, regulation of the bonuses of such celebrity bankers may have influenced him to quit and start his own consulting firm [July 2009].

According to City rumours picked up in the media,

The top executives of Barclays have given up their bonuses, but do not expect Roger Jenkins to forgo his…Mr. Jenkins, who runs the hugely profitable tax arbitrage unit of Barclays was the matchmaker between the British banking giant and Middle Eastern investors who put £5.8 billion ($8.6 billion) into Barclays. His looming reward, perhaps more than £30 million (almost $45 million), underscores how much cash-constrained institutions must reward the deal makers crucial to their survival — even at a time of austerity and caution in international banking.

The article goes on to mention a similarly richly-rewarded financial figure of Amanda Staveley who figured in an earlier Leaders We Deserve post as one of the most successful network activators in the business.

In a short space of time, the rumour was confirmed.

It should not come as a surprise that Mr. Jenkins plans to set up his new venture close to his family. It was his wife, Sanela Diana Jenkins, who introduced him in 2006 to Sheik Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, the prime minister of Qatar and director of its sovereign wealth fund. Mrs. Jenkins is a prominent socialite whose friends include Mick Jagger and Paris Hilton.

A picture emerges of an energetically ambitious couple, the Becks and Posh of banking maybe.

[Note: Becks and Posh aka David and Victoria Beckam, is becoming a short-hand term in the UK for an extreme celebrity liferstyle]

The glamour of banking

Glamour and bankers are not particularly strongly associated. Except maybe in the old idea of the intoxicating effect that loadsamoney has on loadsapeople.

Yet both the Jenkins partnership and Staveley are often mentioned as glamorous figures.

Both are considered to be essential deal-making intermediaries through their skills at winning the trust and friendship of mega-wealthy Middle Eastern figures. They are the superstar performers of banking, and their rewards are those of superstar entertainers. In more humble leadership theory, they have vital skills of network activation.

Acknowledgements

Image of Roger Jenkins from Bad Idea

Image of Sanela Diana Jenkins Sanela Diana Jenkins from UCLA Law School site . but not downloadable from her own website when I tried, [July 21st 2009]


Amanda Staveley: Network Activator

September 13, 2008
Network Activator

Network Activator

Leadership is increasingly seen as coming in various forms. One newish idea is that of the person who activates networks of contacts. Amanda Staveley is a case in point

Amanda Staveley has been no stranger to headlines, in her meteoric climb to successful entrepreneur, wooed by one Royal prince, and friend to a clutch of influential figures among Middle Eastern royalty.

Or, as a besotted Telegraph correspondent put it:

Imagine having the choice of becoming a Royal princess, a model, an Olympic athlete or a self-made multi-millionaire. Imagine also that you are stunningly beautiful, Cambridge educated and a gifted linguist.

Staveley and The Man City Story

Fast forward to the first week of September 2008. The football headlines of the week were the takeover of Manchester City, and the demise of Kevin Keegan, both covered in earlier posts in Leaders we deserve.

Now let’s take another perspective and see the role played by Amanda Staveley, in these and other events.

Her network of significant contacts in The Middle East had involved her earlier in the year in the negotiations by Dubai International Capital for purchase of shares that would lead to a takeover at Liverpool Football Club. In this she had been working on behalf of Sheikh Maktoum.

This deal was to fall though, but shortly afterwards, she was hired by Thaksin Shinawatra, the beleaguered Chairman of Manchester City Football Club, who was looking for a buyer for the club. Early reports gave prominence to the charismatic figure of Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim and his audacious public claims for turning Manchester City into the biggest and richest football club in the world.

Wheels within wheels.

The BBC considered That Staveley was the deal-maker.

One of Thaksin’s key aides, who was involved in negotiations with ADUG, told BBC Sport: “Although Dr Sulaiman is the face of the new owners, Sheikh Mansour is the main player.”
Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi, and his 19 brothers include the president and crown prince of the emirate.

Ah! That Sheikh Mansour, who had enlisted Miss Staveley in his efforts to acquire Liverpool Football Club.

The Network Activator

All of which reminded me of a skill particularly prominent in entrepreneurs that had been noticed by Susan Moger, a colleague of mine. She describes the skill as Network Activation, and the entrepreneurs as Network Activators.

A related use of the term is also found in Business to Business (B2B) writings.

Moger believes that business situations can be changed by the creative interventions of a network activator. She would surely add Amanda Staveley to her list.

The network activator also meets the criteria of a leader, influencing to achieve desired goals.

This may be sheer speculation

This may be sheer speculation. But one of Moger’s Network Activators would not be someone acting as a passive channel through which the wishes of the powerful are transmitted.

It might be speculated that the events described above were nudged along by someone (acting for her company PCP Capital Partners). That someone would have seen the benefits in bringing together Thaksin Shinawatra and her influential friends from the Middle East. Benefits to all concerned, including Miss Staveley.