But that's all behind him now, and C&W's latest results show ‘core' profits up 20% on a 3.3% rise in revenue - sales now stand at £3.3bn. This news has gone down very well with C&W's long-suffering shareholders - as has the other sweetener Pluthero has tossed them, a 30% hike in full-year dividend. He is now much closer than he might otherwise have been to hitting his £400m revenue target and netting a £20m performance bonus in the process.
But analysts at HSBC are not so easily swayed, calling the results ‘better than expected but worse than they seem'. The market-watchers beef is that they think Pluthero has been buying his way out of trouble, and that what looks like a good story on the face of it - 4% revenue growth - is actually the result of having bought Energis rather than underlying improvements in C&W's UK performance. Oh well, you can't keep everyone happy, John.