Well, well, well. Who’s this slithering back up the greasy pole into the higher echelons of Bristol’s public life?
Those fine and honourable fellows of our local creepy millionaires’ misogynist sect, the Society of Merchant Venturers, have only gone and gotten themselves a new head honcho. This year’s keeper of the holy Colston toenail and “The one that you must call the master” is none other than Nicholas Hood. Whoopee! Get those trouser legs up boys!
“Hood, 71,” explains the ever informative Evening Cancer “was educated at Clifton College and was chairman of Wessex Water. Among his other posts, he is life vice president of @Bristol.”
Unfortunately this anodyne description is not the whole story. This former Chairman of Wessex Water made one fortune out of Thatcher’s water privatisation in the 80s and then another fortune when Wessex was sold to Enron to create their ‘global’ water business Azurix in 1998.
Hood was then installed as vice-Chairman of Azurix where he would have worked alongside the convicted Enron crooks Jeffery Skilling and Kenneth Lay. Here again he earned another small fortune and his boss Rebecca Mark walked away in 2000 with over $100m while the obvious questions went unasked by her fellow directors led by Hood. Of course ordinary Enron employees and investors later lost jobs, homes and pensions at the hands of the fraudsters running the bent energy business.
Hood also chaired @Bristol until 2001 before scarpering quickly in the wake of the Enron scandal. In this post he again dismally failed to provide simple financial oversight and squandered around £40m of public money on building an unsustainable personal vanity project instead. The doomed enterprise has recently had to make staff redundant and closed two-thirds of its operation to avoid bankruptcy after a halt was finally called to the millions in public subsidies Hood’s poorly planned and executed attraction required.
Having kept his head down for a few years, it now looks like Hood – who used to like styling himself as “a friend of Prince Charles” to the local press, although references to Tampon Charlie have been rare in recent years – is returning to public life. No doubt he’ll be bringing that selfless public service ethos of his along with him too.
This being Bristol – “The European City of Smug Brownosers” – don’t expect any awkward questions to be asked, however. Instead sit back and watch those entrusted with the city’s welfare happily socialise, dine and lavish ill-deserved praise upon him for the next year.