Quinn’s aggressive tactics mean way back for him unlikely
Relationship between Quinn and senior management at former Quinn manufacturing facilities had broken down badly
Seán Quinn: the local team and the US investors were against suggestions from him which would, in the management’s view, have damaged the business but played into his ambition to reassert ownership and control. Photograph: John McVitty
The relationship between Seán Quinn and senior management at the former Quinn manufacturing facilities on the Border has been broken since he called them “grabbing c***s”, according to one source last night.
Despite the fact a team of local business figures and supporters had worked hard to get the businesses back under local control, they discovered the founder of the group turned against them when they didn’t bend to his suggestions, according to one party involved. The local team and the US investors were dead set against suggestions from Quinn which would, in the management’s view, have damaged the business but played into Quinn’s ambition to reassert ownership and control quickly and at a lower cost.
Mostly the animosity played very badly locally, according to an informed source, and did a lot of damage to Quinn’s standing. “He was the last one to realise that it had gone too far.” When he did realise that he wasn’t going to get his way and he had overplayed his hand, he made an attempt to repair the damage. It was too late, according to the source, and there was no way back.
The family was told Quinn, and his son, Seán jnr, would have to go, and their apparent acceptance of this is believed by some local sources to have created tension within the family. Any possibility of the family being allowed back into the business will depend on how matters pan out over the medium term and on Quinn snr not “acting the maggot”, says a source close to the business.
Office spaceQuinn Group
Quinn, who will be 70 in September, has had a pretty extraordinary career, from small farmer’s son, to entrepreneur, to billionaire, to bankrupt. He has spent time in jail for contempt of court.
Ownership disputes over his manufacturing plants have been mired in conspiracy, threat and intimidation, by forces that have never been brought to book. Last month, Quinn condemned those involved in the intimidation and urged them to stop.
He has a drive, and capacity for risk-taking, that drove him to great riches, and brought about his ruin. It looks as if the more dramatic elements of his story are over. But it’s hard to believe he sees it like that.