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Euromoney Institutional Investor Chairman Padraic Fallon Dies at Age 66

The son of a famous Irish poet of the same name, Padraic Fallon, the chairman of Euromoney Institutional Investor, died Saturday after a yearlong battle with cancer.

Great journalists don’t always make great business people. The skills needed to ferret out and write groundbreaking stories are very different from those that lead to success in the marketplace or boardroom. Last month Euromoney Institutional Investor lost a man who had mastered both talents when our chairman, Padraic Fallon, died following a yearlong battle with cancer. A charismatic leader and a consummate journalist, Fallon grew Euromoney from a fledgling financial publisher into a global information and data powerhouse. Fallon died relatively young, but he lived life to the fullest during his 66 years. Born on September 21, 1946, in Wexford, Ireland, the youngest of six sons of a famous Irish poet also named Padraic (pronounced “Porric”), he earned an honors degree in business studies from Trinity College in Dublin. Fallon began his career as a subeditor at the Irish Times and eventually landed at the Daily Mail in London, where he caught the attention of Sir Patrick Sergeant, who had founded Euromoney in 1969. Fallon was just 28 when Sergeant made him editor of Euromoney, in 1974. Eleven years later Fallon was elevated to managing director of the company. The next year he took Euromoney public. In August 1997, Euromoney bought Institutional Investor from Walt Disney Co. for $142 million. The purchase was a landmark deal for Fallon, who by then was chairman. The two companies had been longtime rivals, and Fallon’s biggest challenge would be “to inject [Euromoney’s] acknowledged commercial energy and marketing skill, but to be careful not to jar Institutional Investor’s editorial independence and established reputation for reporting and writing,” wrote the New York Times a week after the deal was announced. The stakes were high: Euromoney had borrowed $150 million, the first time it had taken on significant debt to finance an acquisition. Fallon succeeded in melding the companies, in part by not trying to completely merge their cultures. He appointed several II executives to the Euromoney board, including Diane Alfano, who became the first female director. Board meetings chaired by Fallon were lively and lengthy, marked by joking and verbal sparring. “Padraic thrived on that,” says Alfano, chairman of Institutional Investor. “When you’re the youngest of six boys, you have to be smart and quick to outwit your older brothers.” Fallon commanded incredible respect both inside and outside the company. He had relationships with the CEOs of most of the world’s major banks and with finance ministers around the globe. But he was also a man of the people, stopping to say hello to employees and taking a personal interest in their lives. If Fallon thought someone had good ideas, he would take that person under his wing, regardless of experience or education. “Never be afraid to hire people who are brighter than you are,” Fallon wrote as one of his 47 rules for running a Euromoney business. Among his other pearls of wisdom: “Simplest ideas are the best” and “Always recognize bad news early.” The Euromoney Institutional Investor chairman was a stickler for precision in writing. He authored the Euromoney style guide, a handbook of the dos and don’ts of clear and concise journalism. “If he caught you using one of the words on his banned list, you heard about it,” says Tom Lamont, longtime editor of II’s newsletter division and now general editor of II Intelligence. Fallon’s own writing was recognized for excellence in 1981 when he received a Wincott Special Award for outstanding financial journalism. Fallon wrote the Euromoney style guide on a manual typewriter, but he was no Luddite. During the past five years, he embraced technology, pushing Euromoney’s publications and businesses to think digitally.

Padraic Fallon is survived by his wife, Gillian, and their four children. He will be missed.

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