AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Stephen O’Donnell quits Pacific National

<p>Pacific National’s chief executive, Stephen O’Donnell, has resigned amid the escalating battle between the rail operator’s shareholders, Toll Holdings and Patrick Corporation.</p> <p>The trigger for Mr O’Donnell’s resignation was pressure from Toll representatives on the Pacific National board to reinstate Toll secondee Mal Grimmond and to explain the termination of another Toll secondee Robert Jeremy last week, according to the <em>Australian Financial Review</em> .</p> <p>Both Mr Grimmond, who was Pacific National’s chief financial officer, and Mr Jeremy, who was the commercial manager, stood aside after the shareholders’s row over a Pacific National Queensland take or pay freight contract with Toll North.</p> <p>Patrick Corporation initiated dispute procedures over the contract, which it claimed could have cost the rail venture $510m over 20 years.</p> <p>In resigning, Mr O’Donnell cited "threats and intimidatory behaviour" from a Toll employee as a factor, the paper reported.</p> <p>Mr O’Donnell will remain as chief executive until December.</p> <p>A Toll Holdings spokesman told <em>Lloyd’s List DCN</em> that Mr O’Donnell’s resignation was a "matter of regret".</p> <p>Mr O’Donnell had contributed very well to building the Toll- and Patrick-owned Pacific National rail business, the spokesman said.</p> <p>The Pacific National board had already started discussions over a replacement, he said.</p> <p>The spokesman declined to comment on the reasons for Mr O’Donnell’s departure.</p> <p>Mr O’Donnell, who had neither a Toll nor a Patrick background, was appointed to run Pacific National in February 2002. </p> <br />