My Speech at the EBRD Farewell Reception on Dec. 10, 2012

As we all know, the Itelmen tribe in Kamchatka (that is as far East as our region extends) has the saying: De mortuis nihil nisi bene: speak only good about the deceased! Of course, nobody knows, how Latin got to the Itelmen, but that is another story. Suma and Suzanne here are setting a new standard for “Ad partentes nil nisi bene”: say only nice things to the departing: I can accept this easily. Thank you.

I will, however, not retaliate in kind, because when else than at your own farewell reception do you really have a chance to speak your mind. Of course, I speak under the control of the Chief Legal Counsel and the Chief Compliance Officer, so I hope not to violate the strict EBRD code of conduct.Not so long ago, in this spot, farewelling somebody else, I promised never again to do a Limerick. I also promised this to my wife who thinks my Limericks are embarrassing. However, what good are promises for, if not for breaking them at the appropriate time. So here we go, with my absolutely last Limerick (at least here at EBRD premises).


Three Presidents did serve under me

In this hellhole they call EBRD;

Deep in the bowels of London

EBRD bankers do “deals” with a lusty abandon

Does the transition mission get sometimes swept into the sea?

‘t is a miracle our countries (of operation) still stand

And the Bank’s reputation remains overall grand

Is this due to the benighted Board

Or does somebody’s good Lord

Look favourably upon us and our – hopefully – promising land?

The new President Suma is shaking up the Bank

Task forces, board consultations, through all file and rank

Communications abound

Till the hype us does us hound

But we all try to do as good as the next Jill, Harry and Hank.

The top management’s names show a welcome degree of diversity

Manfred, Suma, Varel, Hans-Peter and Nelson Betsy

Does the top team work as a matrix

Or rather as a six-layered helix?

Future board generations shall ponder this question with appropriate gravity.

Said OCE’s Erik: I do have an equation

For a new transition impact evaluation:

X times Z power S over P

The result: Q.E.D.

To understand it you just need a bit of persuasion.

“Has not EBRD been losing its soul?”

The President recently asked the board as a whole.

I was taught as a kid: only humans have souls

All the others are ghouls

Who instead of a soul have only a hole.

I’ve learned here an awful great lot

From pretty cool topics to some rather hot

For instance: Regional expansion

Takes a lot of attention

For it to work – or maybe not.

EBRD will stay close to my heart

The countries, the people so smart

Thanks to you all

For friendship’s call

‘t was my pleasure till the end from the start.

Special thanks go to the much-suffering members of my office: Maria, Marlene and Eran and John and Saira. You were and are great to work with, I was lucky to have you all near me, frequently it was even fun.

Thanks to everybody who worked on this event, especially the musicians Jamie and Zac, who livened up this otherwise woe-and tearful occasion.

And thanks to all of you for being here, working with me during the last 4 years and 285 days: it was not always a pleasure, but it was always a privilege.

Special thanks to the ones who befriended me: I do not want to single anybody out. You enriched my life tremendously.

And, last but not least: thanks to all the ones from outside the Bank who made my solitary life (originally I had written celibate) here in London not only bearable, but very, very memorable.



Filed under Crisis Response, Life

2 responses to “My Speech at the EBRD Farewell Reception on Dec. 10, 2012

  1. Adam

    Dear Kurt!
    Great speech, as always.
    Hope to see you more often in the future.
    Wishing you a happy new year and all the best for your next adventures!
    Adam and Liliana

    • kurtbayer

      Thanks Adam: I am back in Vienna now, trying to find into a new life. All the best to Liliana and yourself in 2013

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