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


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.