The value of shares in global corporation RCC have taken another battering on Australian and overseas stock exchanges following the release of information about the conviction on child sex abuse charges of a former senior Australian executive.
RCC, a Rome-based global franchise company with a market presence in almost every nation, has been peppered with scandals and litigation in recent years that have inflicted severe reputational and share-price damage.
The latest crisis to engulf the company exploded this week with the release of previously suppressed news of the conviction on sex abuse charges of the former head of its Australian market operations and former global chief financial officer, George Pell.
Mr Pell, 77, and once the third-highest ranking executive in RCC’s corporate hierarchy, is yet to be sentenced.
No statement was forthcoming last night from the 82-year-old Rome-based executive chair of the worldwide RCC group, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (pictured).
However, as required under corporate law, RCC informed the ASX of the latest development and in a statement to the exchange noted Pell had the right to “defend himself to the last degree”.
A senior Australian RCC executive, Mark Coleridge, echoed the sentiment by saying Mr Pell’s appeal against his conviction was yet to be heard.
RCC’s largest global asset is its prime property portfolio comprising sales centres and land holdings in almost every country (pictured) which also carry liabilities because of the age of some buildings and ongoing under-usage as the company’s customer base has dwindled. The company’s obsession with always building on prime, expensive hilltops hasn’t helped the bottom line either.
Brisbane-based independent market analyst Archibald Bishop said RCC’s flagship product, marketed as Eternal Life, had diminishing appeal to consumers in developed countries.
“A lot of First World markets are drying up for RCC as more educated and sophisticated consumers just don’t buy Eternal Life,” Mr Bishop said.
“People also don’t want to support companies they view as not meeting modern corporate standards, especially if they get a sniff of hypocrisy in the behaviour of a company’s corporate leadership.
“On top of the plethora of sex scandals it has endured over many years involving its sometimes very senior executives, RCC has faced intense competition from more aggressive firms with far more charismatic corporate leaders.
“However, RCC has placed significant emphasis in recent years on developing new Third World markets, especially in Africa and South America.
“If it is to survive, RCC must clean out wrongdoers in its own ranks and start delivering a product that consumers will buy.
“For too long investors have marked it down for being insular, and prone to sticking with outdated ideas that just don’t appeal in modern markets.
“Above all, its all-male board, its all-male leadership in each country where it has a presence, and its all-male sales staff in every market are seen as being remote and out of touch.
“The Pell conviction is just the latest in a series of events that shows what a mess the company is in and how much work Bergoglio and his leadership team in Rome need to do if they have any hope of winning back any shred of consumer and investor confidence,” Mr Bishop said.