Monday, May 13, 2013

The Lion King

Circle of Life: 1. Siobhan O Connor; 2. Aoibhinn Garrihy; 3. Ray Foley and wife Kate Carolan. (Pix. BME)

A host of well known faces graced the red carpet for the spectacular premiere of the The Lion King. The official opening night was also attended by Sir Tim Rice, the show's Co/Lyricist.

The acclaimed stage adaption of  Disneys 1994 animated film was first seen on Broadway in 1997 and has been seen by 70 million people worldwide to date.

It is the first time Julie Traymor's internationally celebrated production with an international cast of 52 performers from 17 different countries has performed in Ireland.  The Lion King will play for a limited season in Ireland until 22 June.

Also in town this week was William Devine of Quintessentially.  Originally from Geneva, he is now based in Warsaw where he recently established the Quintessentially concierge business in Poland, through his company Devine Intervention (along with business partner Emmanuel de Croy - Solre who runs Geneva based wealth management firm Jawer SA).  

Things are not going so well for Devine however and we hear that angry creditors are circling and a number of his top management have already departed acrimoniously, including the MD and head of PR.  Law suits have followed and indeed will join the queue of people already suing the hapless Devine.

History is certainly repeating itself. In 2007 Devine was accused of mismanagement and misappropriating funds after the collapse into bankruptcy of French jewellery firm Poiray, just 8 months after he and a business partner acquired it with a view to rescue.  

Antonello del Balzo, the former director of the Bulgari boutique in Geneva, invested CHF 1.8 million into the business but alleged that the money was used to prop up another Devine company and pay huge salaries.  In any event he lost the lot and brought a case against Devine.

Followers of luxury industry will recall that William Devine was subsequently CEO of top watch company Bedat & Co., part of the Gucci Group. His arrival there was much heralded but less than 2 years after joining the firm he left under a cloud.  Plenty of rumours abound, including one of impropriety, but whatever the reasons Devine has never worked for a watch company since.  Persona non grata perhaps?

Never one to be undeterred William Devine is certainly not giving up, despite numerous personal and business setbacks.  We will follow closely his next foray into the luxury market.