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.
* Patrick claimed he raised his concerns about bullying with three executive directors, Rupert Ruvigny, finance director, Mark Skinner, marketing director, and John Jay, development director.
Again, Duffield refuted this in his statement and said that at no point until the day before Patrick left New Star do Rupert, Mark or John recall Patrick making complaints about me bullying him or other fund managers.
* In relation to fund managers allegedly being bullied, Patrick claimed, ‘twenty people were off with sickness and stress’.
Duffield said the document relied on by Patrick showed nine employees out of more than 400 had been off sick as a result of stress over a 15-month period; none were shown to be fund managers.
* Patrick claimed he had left his previous employer, Rathbones, after he became unhappy with its launch of a technology fund close to the top of the technology boom but the matter ‘was resolved amicably a short time afterwards’.
Patrick left Rathbones in acrimonious circumstances and threatened to sue for constructive dismissal. The matter was only resolved after I intervened and negotiated a peaceful settlement on Patrick’s behalf.
Duffield said he has no intention of commenting any further, and after being contacted by Wealth Manager Evershed said he was unable to respond to Duffield's statement.
Duffield said: 'I do not intend to comment further on these matters. I would, however, like to express my sympathy for the innocent people who were victims of Patrick’s claims, in particular Gregor Logan, New Star’s chief investment officer. Gregor and my other former colleagues are very capable people with total integrity, yet their reputations have been sullied by Patrick in judicial proceedings. Finally, I wish to thank all those former colleagues who have made contact in recent weeks to disassociate themselves from Patrick’s views.'
These are the views of John Duffield and do not represent an endorsement by Citywire.