I travelled from Tashkent to Moscow on an Aeroflot Ilyushin 86 in the early 1980s. The seats were basic metal framed deckchairs, screwed to the floor1. Why don’t airlines nowadays use simple deckchairs on airplanes, instead of very heavy, crash-resistant ones? The fuel saving alone would be enormous and the temptation, especially to low … Continue reading Are you rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic? Taking corporate risk management seriously
The much-awaited Brydon Report was published just before Christmas. It didn’t get much publicity, as the festive season proved more alluring than yet another long report and profusion of recommendations on corporate governance. In a sense, this was a pity as this ambitious report contained over 60 wide-ranging recommendations that would have considerable impact on … Continue reading The Brydon Report – When looking backward should be the way forward
Right Reverend Host: "I'm afraid you've got a bad Egg, Mr Jones!" The Curate: "Oh no, my Lord, I assure you! Parts of it are excellent!" A ‘curate’s egg’ was originally something that is described as having good parts purely out of politeness, but nowadays, is taken as something that is good in parts. … Continue reading Brydon’s curate’s egg
“Want Higher Profits? Hire a Female CEO, CFO” The article headline caught my eye. Aren’t we all looking for a magic ingredient that can guarantee financial success? I think that women are disadvantaged and undervalued in business. And this doesn’t have to be the case. The last CEO I appointed was a woman – in … Continue reading Sexing up the statistics. Who needs facts?
I am responding to the request from the Government for views on the recommendations by the Competition and Markets Authority on the market for Statutory Audit Services. This submission is made in a purely personal capacity. Over the last 25 years, I have been chairman or director of ten different companies, from small privately owned … Continue reading Response to consultation on Market Study on Statutory Audit Services
Storm clouds are gathering over the audit market. Government, politicians, media and regulators are all queueing up to condemn companies and auditors over the few, but well-publicised, failures of certain companies. Lack of knowledge about the audit process is no bar to these opinion-formers. Meanwhile industry bodies are supine in defending business and signally failing … Continue reading The audit punch-bag: Where is the voice of industry?
Carillion has entered the pantheon of cursed companies following its recent failure. Politicians and the media have worked themselves in another fit of righteous indignation about greedy management and incompetent boards. The search is out for people to blame, shame and even prosecute. Regulators, sensing the flow of the political wind, are climbing on the … Continue reading Carillion – a salutary reminder on due diligence
It won’t be long into your first non-executive job when you start to feel as if the executives resent you. It’s okay. You haven’t become paranoid. They really do resent you. Why? Being an executive director is a tough job. You work all the hours that the Working Time directive allows, … Continue reading “Marking our homework” – Why executives resent non-execs
Sad news came last week with the death of Sir Ken Morrison. It made me reflect on his tremendous lifetime achievements. His career is sometimes viewed as 50 years of success, until at 73 he led the 2004 Safeway acquisition followed by four difficult years until retirement. He built up a leading supermarket chain making … Continue reading Sir Ken Morrison – a retail giant, but still human
I was just leaving the room on Friday, when I thought I heard on the radio that Tesco was merging with Booker. I smiled as I’d clearly misheard. When I realised it was true, my mind drifted back to the past. The UK grocery chain, Safeway, used to own both a cash & carry and … Continue reading Tesco and Booker – The Great British Food Merger?