Chris Allen — partner at Australian law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth — has stepped down after an in-flight joke en route to a company conference in Tasmania backfired.
We’ve covered plenty of leftfield in-flight antics here at DMARGE — take the man who urinated all over his business class cabin or the self-proclaimed Chinese time-traveller as prime examples — but few occur as close to home or in such lofty echelons of society as this one…
One of Australia’s ‘star dealmakers’, Chris Allen, has tendered his resignation from Corrs Chambers Wesgarth after an apparently well-intentioned prank took an unexpected. The incident occurred on a flight to Hobart, Tasmania, involved several influential partners and ultimately led to a visit from the Australian Federal Police.
WATCH: Check out the aforementioned Chinese ‘time-traveller’ launch his rant…
As reported by Mark di Stefano from the AFR, a Thursday morning flight — Virgin’s VA1530 — departed from Sydney airport with a group of Corrs partners, including Chris Allen, on board. However, when the plane touched down at Hobart airport just two hours later, it was met by a group of AFP officers as well as members of the local fire service, creating quite an unexpected spectacle.
A Corrs spokesperson confirmed the incident, stating:
“We can confirm that there was an incident involving a Corrs partner on a flight to Hobart on Thursday. The individual concerned is cooperating with authorities, has taken full responsibility, and has tendered his resignation, which has been accepted.”Corrs Spokesperson
The Prank That Went Wrong
Reports from those on the flight as well as airport witnesses shed light on what transpired during the journey: according to multiple sources, Allen attempted a prank on one of his fellow partners who was also on the flight to Hobart for a conference.
Allen discreetly went to the restroom and left a note with the intent of drawing attention to a colleague sitting elsewhere in the cabin. The exact content of the note remains unclear.
However, the situation escalated when the note fell into the hands of a vigilant flight attendant. Alarmed by its contents, the flight attendant promptly alerted the pilots. The crew then made the decision to contact the police.
As a result, three Corrs partners, including Chris Allen, were taken aside and interviewed by the AFP. Fortunately, it was determined that there was no malicious intent behind Allen’s actions, and the police cleared them of any wrongdoing. On Sunday, Chris Allen tendered his resignation, which was subsequently accepted by the firm.
Chris Allen joined Corrs Chambers Wesgarth in 2021 after being ‘poached’ from MinterEllison along with a gaggle of private equity specialists and earned recognition as one of “Australia’s top 25 private capital dealmakers” shortly thereafter.
Allen and his team were known for their expertise and had served as a pivotal resource for private equity firms such as PEP, EQT, Allegro, Bain Capital, Partners Group, and KKR, as well as prominent banks like Barrenjoey, Credit Suisse, and Greenhill.
Where Allen rears his respected if somewhat humiliated head next remains to be seen…