Blue Arrow: Fromstein's Filofax

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The Independent Online
Mitchell Fromstein, the head of Manpower, accidentally left a Filofax behind in the boardroom after the crucial board meeting at which the Canvey Island property investment was discussed. It was handed to Mr Berry.

Outraged by what it contained, Mr Berry believed the handwritten notes - transcribed and printed in full by the inspectors in their report - were evidence that Mr Fromstein was planning a boardroom coup, perhaps leading to a demerger of Manpower from the Blue Arrow group.

The discovery of the Filofax led directly to another board meeting at which Mr Fromstein was fired, although other directors were already wondering whether he or Mr Berry should go.

Mr Tebbit told the inspectors: 'In retrospect, I think although we had not come to the conclusion in the right way and we had probably picked on the wrong man, that we were right to say Fromstein and Berry could not co-exist indefinitely in the company, particularly while Mr Berry was chief executive officer.'

But Mr Berry himself resigned as chief executive five weeks later, on 12 January 1989, in the wake of directors' growing concern about his stewardship of the company. He was replaced by Mr Fromstein.