“Every institution, no matter how great it is, is vulnerable to decline. Anyone can fall, and most eventually do” (Collins, 2009). Ireland, like any other country, is also affected by this premise. It would be difficult to assume that big firms such as Guinness or Dunnes Stores might fall. However, some wrong decisions, strategic failures or the adverse economic climate can lead to disaster.
It is not easy to apply the five stages framework that explains the different phases that a company goes through before falling created by Collins, -Hubris Born of Success, Undisciplined Pursuit of More, Denial of Risk and Peril, Grasping for Salvation and Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death- (Collins, 2009), without knowing in depth the circumstances that any Irish company went through prior to falling.
A clear example of the fall of an Irish mighty can be found not in a firm, but in a person: Sean Quinn.
In 2007, at the top of his success, Quinn was the richest man in Ireland with an estimate fortune of €3.74 billion. In December 2011 he declared himself bankrupt before a Belfast courtroom. At this point he leads a new list: The biggest bankrupt in Irish and UK history (Fitzpatrick, 2011).
1. Hubris Born of Success
Quinn Financial Services, which includes Quinn Direct insurance business, made €123 million profit in the first half of 2006. The following year, the Quinn Group buys BUPA for €150 millions. This movement could consolidate the group’s position on the insurance field while already playing a leading role in the hospitality and building sectors. Here starts Quinn’s arrogance (Fitzpatrick, 2011).
2. Undisciplined Pursuit of More
However, Quinn also increased in €570 millions his share holding in the Anglo Irish Bank, financed through the Group’s equity in a deal with Credit Suisse. Quinn is pushing the group into the...