Myer executive mystery deepens as recruitment agency calls the cops

Myer executive mystery deepens as recruitment agency calls the cops

The recruitment agency responsible for checking the references of the Myer executive fired over his misleading CV has contacted the police, in a further twist in this story of retail intrigue.

Lorraine Tribe, managing director of Quest Personnel, said in a statement issued to SmartCompany on Wednesday her agency was duped by Andrew Flanagan, who was fired from his role as group general manager of strategy and business development for Myer on Tuesday after just one day on the job.

Flanagan, who was one of three recent hires for the department store, had indicated he had previously spent time as managing director and vice-president of Inditex, the Spanish parent company of popular fashion retailer Zara.

However, Zara told Fairfax on Tuesday Flanagan had never worked for the company, let alone served in the position he specified.

“Quest Personnel recently placed Andrew Flanagan in a senior position with a leading Australian retailer,” said the recruitment firm.

“It now appears that both Quest and regrettably our clients were provided with incorrect and misleading information in relation to Mr Flanagan’s employment history”.

Quest Personnel has also revealed Flanagan was interviewed by Quest and “senior executives” from Myer on at least three occasions before being hired, and other “leading retailers” were also interested in Flanagan, with several of the retailers conducting lengthy interviews with him at board level.

The firm said “detailed reference checks were carried out both locally and internationally directly with [Flanagan’s] referees by the Quest Personnel recruiter, and these checks “appeared to support Mr Flanagan’s claims about his employment history”.

As previously reported by SmartCompany, there are also question marks over other positions listed on Flanagan’s CV, including his apparent time as chief operating officer of British supermarket chain Tesco’s Chinese arm and roles in procurement for Walmart in the US and Homeworld Group in China.

While little is known about Flanagan, Fairfax reports today it is believed he is originally from Arkansas in the US and lives in south-east Melbourne.

Flanagan is believed to have some involvement with the Nunawading Swimming Club, one of the country’s largest swimming clubs, with Fairfax reporting he sent an email to the president of the club on Wednesday afternoon stating his intentions to resign from the board.

Paul O’Loughlin, managing director of O’Loughlin Executive Recruitment, told SmartCompany this week cases of poor reference checks are not uncommon, and the most important lesson for other businesses from this example is “don’t always accept that the referee given by a candidate is who they say they are”.

“This case shows the opportunity cost of getting a reference check wrong is immense and a whole range of litigation can potentially come out of it,” says O’Loughlin.

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