Home Travel Come fly with me – how the boss’s travel expenditure cost Fiat Chrysler millions

Come fly with me – how the boss’s travel expenditure cost Fiat Chrysler millions

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Jesinta Campbell and Simone Campbell.


It’s potentially Australia’s spending spree of the century – a four-year splurge at Fiat Chrysler Australia on everything from fast cars to designer handbags, all on the company dime.

Court documents obtained by The Sunday Age detail just how lavish Clyde Campbell‘s reign at Fiat Chrysler turned out to be. But the money spent on travel was, in the words of a remaining employee, “astonishing”.

According to Chrysler Group policy, Campbell could not approve expenses in excess of $5000. He also had to travel economy class on all domestic flights, and all international flights had to be approved by John Kett, his regional boss in the Asia-Pacific region.

The balcony of Bernie Brookes’ old apartment at Freshwater Place.

According to the writ lodged by his former employer, Campbell instead “incurred excessive travel expenses without business justification and/or the necessary approval”.

It is claimed that, during his four years in charge, Campbell was paid $537,849 in personal travel expenses. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. In addition, Fiat Chrysler alleges Campbell “sought to conceal the true level of his expenditure on travel” by procuring other employees to submit, as their own, travel expenses incurred by him.

To top it off, it is claimed Campbell asked those employees to pass those expenses back to him after they were paid by Fiat Chrysler.

According to the court documents, company employees “who were not expected to incur significant travel expenses” lodged $0 worth of claims in 2010, the year Campbell arrived as managing director. In 2012, that figure had blown out to $452,138. In 2013, it was a further $445,556. All on staff who had no need to travel.

Other travel expenditure was funnelled through the company’s corporate travel agent, Destination Group.

In 2010, that company was paid $737,269 for travel bookings and “related hospitality event services” by Fiat Chrysler. By 2012, that annual cost had swelled to $2.7 million.


For those who want a glimpse into the big-spending world of Clyde Campbell and wife Simone, social media provides a handy window.

Simone this week closed her personal Twitter account, but a search of the handle @campbellsimone provides plenty of insight into their champagne-fuelled world.

Pictures abound of Simone with Harry Kewell and his wife Sheree Murphy, with Jesinta Campbell, with assorted AFL footballers and NRL stars, and living the high life with Melbourne’s social set, including holiday snaps everywhere from the Maldives to Monaco.

Cue the rush of people deleting pictures from their Twitter accounts about now.


The mass redundancies at Myer last week marked the end of an era at the department store chain, with new boss Richard Umbers axing about 80 jobs from its Melbourne head office

Among the higher profile departures was digital general manager Marianne Jones, one of the last remaining managers with close ties to former boss Bernie Brookes.

Indeed, her departure also marks the end of the “Freshwater Place” era, which was kind of like Myer’s version of Melrose Place.

The swank apartment 4802 at Freshwater Place is now on the market. It’s Bernie’s impressive Melbourne digs, and is well worth a perve online. We hear it’s enormous sky-high balcony hosted many a soiree for the Myer crew, in particular those who also lived in the apartment building. Offers in excess of $2 million are invited.

Marianne Jones shared apartment 5806 on the 58th floor of the building with Anthony Coelho, Myer’s former general manager of IT and commercial services, and his partner. That $1.5 million pad is also on the market.

Bernie was so friendly with his Myer chums, they even had a key, for when Bernie, a renowned “telecommuter” was out of town, of course.

Freshwater Place residents are looking forward to noise levels returning to normal.



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