Bunhill: Archbishop seeking guidance

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The Independent Online
THE Archbishop of Canterbury is seeking guidance . . . from a finance director.

A job ad for the newly created post at the Church Commissioners recently appeared in the FT. Until now, the commissioners, who invest about pounds 2.5bn of Church funds for income to pay clerics, have made do with a chief accountant.

An attractive salary is promised to God's beancounter, and the headhunters, GKRS, say they don't care about the religion of applicants. They do demand experience of financial management 'at the highest level', but fundamentalists should not take that too literally.

The need to beef up the finance department may stem from embarrassing allegations last year that the commissioners - perhaps heeding the biblical injunction not to store up treasure on earth - blew pounds 500m on the property market.

The Archbish promptly launched an inquiry headed by the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev John Waine, who chose not to unholster his six- shooters at once. Instead he called in Coopers & Lybrand. Their report, which was due in early summer, won't now be complete till the autumn.

In March, Sir Michael Colman, head of Reckitt & Colman, was brought in as First Estates Commissioner to add some mustard, so to speak. We may know more this week, when the commissioners' 1992 accounts are published.

Parish priests, who saw their pay frozen at pounds 12,200 this year, are hoping Sir Michael does not live up to his middle name, Jeremiah.