Jeremy Hunt: a Light Tale of Innocence…OK, Quite A Bit of Experience Too

 Phone hacking vs. nodding and winking.

Apart from the presumption of innocence before any sort of official hearing [next week] it’s curious to compare the allegations against the Culture & Media Secretary with those against others in the New Corp ‘Hacking Saga’.

We know what News Corp employees are supposed to have done.

But the main accusation against the Culture Secretary remains that he broke the ministerial code of conduct.

You can try to make up your own mind about whether he did or not by reading these thoughts from a former senior servant who is better versed in the code than most of us.

Enough.

Hunt will appear before the Leveson Inquiry in a matter of days.

You won’t find more froth about allegations against him here.

This just is a post about some interesting business connections thrown up by a casual perusal of Hunt’s extra-governmental activities.

There is no suggestion from me of legal wrong-doing.

Most, if not all, Cabinet Ministers have outside business interests, as do many MPs.

All these interests no doubt will have been officially declared.

But I can’t help mentally raising an eyebrow.

JezzaAnd I imagine eyebrows possibly rising in the boardrooms of other media companies, which are not so cosy with the Culture Secretary.

A little more seriously, those attempting to establish a pattern of behaviour about the Culture Secretary appearing rather too close to the proximity of some corporate interests, might also like to read on.

Overall though, one could just say that some of Mr. Hunt’s connections recorded here are curious  and intriguing, given that he’s someone who ought to expect scrutiny of his various affairs, sooner or later.

This table lists Mr. Hunt’s known boardroom participations.

Name

Job Title

Company Name

Location

Jeremy Hunt SECRETARY OF STATE FOR CULTURE, OLYMPICS, MEDIA AND SPORT Broadband TV News United Kingdom
Jeremy Hunt SECRETARY OF STATE FOR CULTURE, OLYMPICS, MEDIA AND SPORTS JEREMY HUNT, CONSERVATIVE Barrel Bung United States
Jeremy Hunt SECRETARY OF STATE FOR CULTURE, OLYMPICS, MEDIA AND SPORT Gamepolitics United States
Jeremy Richard Strenysham Hunt Director GODALMING MUSEUM TRUST United Kingdom
Jeremy Hunt CULTURE SECRETARY Government Online United Kingdom
Jeremy Hunt Director The Hotcourses Foundation England
Jeremy Hunt CULTURE SECRETARY Keighley & Ilkley Conservatives United Kingdom
Jeremy Hunt SHADOW CULTURE SECRETARY Andrews Property Services USA
Jeremy Hunt SECRETARY OF STATE FOR CULTURE NETRIBUTION LTD United Kingdom
Jeremy Hunt SECRETARY OF STATE FOR CULTURE, OLYMPICS, MEDIA AND SPORT Pinewood Shepperton Plc United Kingdom

© 2012 Factiva, Inc. All rights reserved.

The entries are written here verbatim as given in the database service*

There are obviously some slight oddities.

Whilst the entries try to make it crystal-clear who we are dealing with in order that Mr. Hunt is not mistaken for another non-Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in some instances this is done by using Mr. Hunt’s full name, rather than his official title.

This perhaps suggests he held some posts before becoming Culture Secretary. For instance, we know this was in fact the case with his directorship at Hotcourses.

[You can read how Hunt “raised eyebrows” once at Hotcourses here.]

Apart from Hotcourses, Mr. Hunt’s most eye-catching corporate job is as a non-executive director of Pinewood Shepperton Studios PLC.

But, to keep things relatively brief, I’m going to focus on the venue at which the Culture Secretary could potentially have made the juiciest connections within his public boardroom career as shown here .

And that would not in fact have been at Shepperton, in my view, but rather at an innocuously-named and little-known company called Broadband TV News.

This is not, as you might think, a news company, which uses television over broadband as its medium!

Rather, BBTVN would fit into what could still be called ‘the trade press’ even though of course today, that ‘press’ exists in large part online.

Financially BBTVN isn’t significant. It’s a minnow owned by a minnow, as far as the world of big business is concerned.

Its parent is Clovermedia Limited.

But for reasons which only taxation accountants et al, would entirely understand, the operating company is the subsidiary – BBTVN – and the parent is the shell – Clovermedia.

BBTVN’s fiscal year ending 31 March 2011 accounts show a net income of ‘just’ £120,000 from sales of ‘just’ £160,000.

So, I suspect no board members are getting literally rich from BBTVN.

But it does look to me that the business connections to be made there might be more valuable than the remuneration.

Here are all of BBTVN’s main officers and executives as at 3rd of May 2012, according to Factiva.com. [Once again, this is a verbatim record and there are some oddly written entries.]

Board of Directors

Name Job Title
Beata Monka CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD AND DG OF CANAL
Bhavneet Singh BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jeremy Hunt SECRETARY OF STATE FOR CULTURE, OLYMPICS, MEDIA AND SPORT

Management Team and Key Personnel

Name Job Title
Simon Calver CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF LOVEFILM
Nicolas Dandoy CFO OF CANAL
Robert Briel CHIEF EUROPEAN ANALYST; PUBLISHER
Chris Dziadul CHIEF EAST EUROPEAN ANALYST; EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Julian Clover EDITORIAL DIRECTOR; EUROPEAN DIGITAL ANALYST
Alexander Oudendijk CURRENT HEAD OF ND SATCOM
Gerry O’Sullivan Vice President OF GLOBAL TV AND ENTERTAINMENT
Nick Thompson HEAD OF ARQIVA’S BROADCAST & MEDIA DIVISION
Gerhard Zeiler HEAD, TURNER INTERNATIONAL
Vladimir Zelezny PROFILE FIRST DIRECTOR OF CZECH TV NOVA
Mark Loughran TOP BOX DEVELOPER
Marta Szwakopf HEAD OF PROPRIETARY CHILDREN
Brian Payne BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

Source: Generate, Inc.

The names which should immediately catch your eye are Gerhard Zeiler, Simon Calver and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Beata Monka.

As you can see from the links, the info above appears to be somewhat out of date for Simon Calver. [Although he may still be a board member of BBTVN.]

However the links from the Guardian speak for themselves and Ms. Monka’s details are still current.

So the UK Culture Secretary, due to his role as a board member very probably came into contact with two of the most senior media executives in Europe and one of the most prominent media executives in the world.

This is very likely to have been whilst considering News Corp’s now abandoned bid for BSkyB.

We know that Mr. Hunt and his former special adviser Adam Smith and News Corp lobbyist Frédéric Michel will appear at the Leveson enquiry “by the end of May”.

Till then and very probably after then, he is, and will be, innocent of all legal wrong-doing.

ThSM

*About the data: I got all of it from a subscription business information service called Factiva, which is owned by Dow Jones & Co. That’s just the one I use. There are many similar services which provide similar data. Regardless of my information sources – and the extent of their accuracy, or not, I and only I, am responsible for what you’re reading, etc., blah.

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