Andrew Jeffrey Flanagan had been hired as group GM of strategy and business development at Myer. Photo: Xiao WuMyer sacks ‘star recruit’ Andrew Flanagan on first dayFudging your way to the top
The senior executive sacked by Myer for allegedly trumping up his CV was given access to the boards of several of the nation’s leading retailers before being exposed, the recruiter who put him forward says.
Andrew Jeffrey Flanagan was sacked on his first day at Myer after he claimed to have been a former managing director and vice-president of Inditex Group, head company of fashion giant Zara.
Hiring company Quest Personnel confirmed it had been duped by Mr Flanagan, who had provided ”incorrect and misleading information” before being hired as Myer’s group general manager of strategy and business development.
It appears Myer was not the first major company to consider giving Mr Flanagan a senior role. A number of other companies have come forward over the past few days, in different sectors, reporting similar encounters with Mr Flanagan.
”Mr Flanagan was interviewed at length by several leading retailers all of whom were interested in employing him,” Quest managing director Lorraine Tribe said. ”Some of these interviews took place at board level.”
Just how Mr Flanagan got past an exhaustive background check at Myer is still unknown. His ruse became apparent after Zara contacted Myer informing the company that it had been duped.
It is still unknown whether senior roles at Tesco’s Chinese arm, US discounter Wal-Mart and Chinese retailer Homeworld Group were legitimate.
Ms Tribe said Mr Flanagan had been interviewed by Quest’s recruiter and Myer at least three times. She also claimed local and international reference checks had been carried out on Mr Flanagan, which supported his supposed employment history. Transcriptions of interviews with representatives of Inditex were sent to Myer.
Ms Tribe said Mr Flanagan’s actions would be reported to police, something Myer has also not ruled out. It is believed Myer is still considering its legal options.
A picture is emerging of Mr Flanagan’s background. Repeated attempts by Fairfax Media to locate him have been unsuccessful.
It is believed he is originally from Searcy in Arkansas and lives in south-east Melbourne. He is also involved with the Nunawading Swimming Club, one of the largest swimming clubs in Australia.
Fairfax Media has learnt that Mr Flanagan approached the swimming club’s board in October last year volunteering his skills and expertise to help the club prepare its next four-year strategic plan.
However, Fairfax Media can reveal Mr Flanagan sent an email to the club president on Wednesday afternoon stating that he wished to resign from the board immediately.
Myer’s use of recruitment agency Quest is also under scrutiny. Typically, major companies use executive headhunters such as for major appointments.
Quest’s head office in Melbourne was empty on Wednesday afternoon. Ms Tribe said the recruitment agency is based in Geelong, as well as operating from her home.
Morgan Consulting managing director Andrew Aston, who also deals in executive recruitment, said the high-profile Myer case was a ”rookie mistake” where it appeared that neither the recruitment company nor the retailer had done their due diligence.
”I am flabbergasted that employers and recruiters don’t spend enough time checking references,” he said.