Cantillon: Scanlon forges new link with Merrion

Superman of Eircom makes his triumphant return to the headlines

Prepare the bunting and start baking the cakes – it's time to welcome back that loveable old blast from the past as none other than Con Scanlon, the superman of Eircom, makes his triumphant return to the headlines. Scanlon, who is taking up a non-executive directorship at Merrion Investment Managers, is no stranger to public life.

There was a lengthy period, during which Eircom was changing owners as often as some of us might change clothes, where he was almost beloved of newspaper editors, such was the aura of newsworthiness that surrounded him.

One of the more striking aspects of this was Scanlon's stint as as telecoms triple jobber around the middle of the last decade – for a while he managed to hold down positions as the chairman of the Eircom Esot, the general secretary of the Communications Workers' Union, and deputy chairman of Eircom.

It was a lucrative time for Scanlon, who along with other directors, did particularly well in the company’s second flotation. Happily, any Eircom worker disgruntlement at this was offset by regular Esot payouts.

It is this time of revolving ownership at Eircom that comes to mind as we hear of the former trade unionist's appointment to Merrion, with Scanlon's deputy chairmanship of the telecoms company having coincided with the Eircom directorship of John Conroy, the head man at Merrion.

And there are deeper links. A Merrion wing advised the Esot on the takeover of Eircom by Babcock & Brown and went on to advise Eircom and the Esot in the subsequent takeover by STT.

It may not qualify as a golden circle appointment, but there is certainly an element of “who you know” to the latest move.