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John Duffield breaks his silence after Evershed tribunal

by Emma Dunkley on Dec 21, 2011 at 12:17

John Duffield breaks his silence after Evershed tribunal

John Duffield, founder of New Star Asset Management, has broken his silence following the employment tribunal brought by Patrick Evershed.

Last month Evershed brought an unfair dismissal claim against his former employer New Star, although it was settled outside of the hearing for an undisclosed amount.

In a personal statement on his website, Duffield, who was not called as a witness at the hearing, argued that everything Evershed told the tribunal was therefore privileged, meaning he could ‘make extreme and colourful statements knowing his statements could be reported extensively in the media.’

He disputed six statements at the heart of Evershed's case were disputed in Duffield's statement.  These statements were as follows:

* One of Patrick’s main complaints was I bullied him into ‘reopening [his] fund and removing the £50 million cap’ and this impacted performance.

Duffield claims that Patrick’s fund was enlarged with his agreement and subsequently he himself initiated a further enlargement. When Patrick joined New Star he accepted an incentive package that gave him more shares the larger his fund grew. Later when his fund had grown to £200 million his public statement to Bloomberg Money was, ‘My fund is only £200 million, which makes it easier for me to move round in smaller companies.’

* Patrick claimed I bullied Roger Dossett, New Star’s UK property fund manager.

The New Star founder says Roger told the tribunal, ‘John has never bullied me… From my experience, Duffield is a forthright man and he can be blunt but I never found him to be unreasonable or a bully… He certainly did not bully me or any members of my property team otherwise I would have instantly handed in my notice.’

* Patrick said I ‘bullied and dominated main board directors, employees, the press and major investors’ and ‘bullied virtually everyone [I] came across’.

In a free society, Duffield said it is impossible to ‘dominate’ the press. All significant companies seek to influence media coverage but if I had been able to ‘dominate’ the press, adverse articles about New Star would not have appeared. Investors cannot be ‘dominated’ and major New Star shareholders sold significant holdings during its period as a public company. As for New Star’s fund managers, I deliberately created an environment in which they had freedom to invest where they wished subject to compliance and regulation.

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