Track 1: Following his return from London, Tom Hogan began work at Bailey Gibson as an accountant in 1966, and initially he provides a brief history of Bailey Gibson. He was appointed Financial Controller and within four or five years, in the early 1970s, he was appointed Managing Director of the business. At this stage, the Gibson Guy Group consisted of Bailey Gibson, Guy and Company in Cork and Cherry and Smalldridge in Fairview. He explains the circumstances under which Clondalkin fought with the Smurfit Group about the purchase of Bailey Gibson in around 1972. As the only qualified accountant in Bailey Gibson, Tom was very much involved and he gives some details here about the situation at that time. Sidney Gibson was the chairman of Bailey Gibson and he favoured Clondalkin as purchaser, owing to the Gibson family connection. Tom talks about their meeting with George Overend of A. and L. Goodbody, solicitors, and explains that, within three weeks, Clondalkin was the owner of Bailey Gibson. Tom reflects on the changes in the packaging industry and the Smurfit business of corrugated boxes at this time. He recalls that most of the pulp was imported from Finland or Sweden. He would buy paper from Clondalkin Paper Mills, converting 2-3,000 tons into packaging, but he realised that the paper mills was quite uncompetitive. He says that technically, Dr Albert Cusack was excellent. When a new Group Managing Director, Henry Lund, was appointed he sent Tom around Europe to inspect other mills, and while travelling, he realised that CPM was extremely uncompetitive, particularly in producing too little of several products rather than concentrating on a single product, as did many Scandinavian mills. He remembers the various options put forward by Henry Lund and explains that, as executives, they made the decision to close, though the board did not concur. Tom recalls the political interest in the mills and the visits by politicians at election times, as there were so many possible votes in one place. The board of the time is discussed, as is the highly political nature of the decision to close. With enormous difficulty Henry Lund sought and got agreement that the paper mills section of the Clondalkin Group would close, as there was no cashflow with the mills running. The talks about closure went on for months with the board and unions and ultimately the Irish government bought the paper mills. Tom says that the Smurfit Group had no interest in the mills. He reflects on the takeover of Swiftbrook and says that though a high quality paper was produced, there was no market for such a product at that time. He remarks on the difficulty in letting people go, but says that if the paper mills had remained open, the whole Group would have closed down. The character of Albert Cusack and his abilities as an engineer, though not as a Group Managing Director, are touched upon. Tom became good friends with Henry Lund, and says that he was very effective as the manager of a group of companies. Track 2: Tom recalls the composition of the Group board after the closure of the paper mills. He was appointed an executive member of the board, and with Henry Lund, looked for acquisitions. He talks about the first acquisition; APB at Portishead near Bristol in the UK. Following further acquisitions, the Group became profitable and was quoted on the stock exchange. It is still in existence today although owned by a US investment group, and has been taken private. Tom recalls the origins of Clondalkin Paper Mills in the 1930s and the effects of competition in the 1970s from Scandinavia. The Clondalkin Group became a packaging group in competition with Smurfit, he explains. He became responsible for CB (Clondalkin Bishop) Packaging, which produced cement, provender, potato and fertiliser sacks from different materials, and this company became very profitable. Tom talks about Goodbodys in Clara, Co. Offaly which produced jute sacks until relatively recently, and he refers again to the government purchase of Clondalkin Paper Mills before the election. From memory, he says that the business required £100m at that stage to bring it up-to-date, and in addition, the pollution to the river was horrendous. Tom talks about his wife, Eileen Gogan, and her family and their connection with the 1916 Rising. He and Eileen married in London in the 1950s and returned after five years to what seemed to be a changing Ireland under Taoiseach Seán Lemass. He recalls doing his first set of accounts for Bailey Gibson and showing a large loss. His colleagues in the business were Adam Field, Production Director; Norbert McDermott, Financial Controller; John Hamilton, a former SAS soldier inWWI1; Arthur Beatty, Paul Gascoigne and others. Tom outlines his rules of management and describes Henry Lund as being very clever and seeing the potential in self-adhesive labelling. Tom and Henry worked together on the English and American acquisitions. Tom recalls John and Gerry Guy, sons of the founder of Guy and Company in Cork, and describes them as country gentlemen, running an efficient business which still exists today. Gerry Guy was on the board of Clondalkin Group with him, and he also recalls Billy McMullin who turned Guy and Company into a very successful part of Clondalkin Group. Sam Smalldridge is remembered and the contrast between these men with people such as Michael Smurfit is remarked upon. Tom tells some anecdotes about Michael Smurfit and the pressurised, new manner in which he operated.
Track 3: In the late 1980s Tom retired at the age of 53 to study French and Irish at UCD, and he discusses the reasons for his retirement. He talks about his brother, Pat, who held a very senior position in Northern Telecom, and Pat’s attitude to corporate life which differs from his own. Tom began studying for a doctorate on Mairtín Ó Cadhain but he became unwell, and his supervisor, Alan Harrison, passed away. He reflects on the effects of developing cancer on one’s thoughts and attitude to life, and he considers that he is fortunate to have survived to this day. He emphasises the importance of having some humanity in our dealings with others. He recalls teaching Irish to civil servants and politicians at Leinster House, and he further recalls the PAYE strikes of the 1980s and taking part with his own staff. He describes his politics as left wing.