Outlook: It's been a pleasure working for you ...

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A letter from David Arculus, who resigned abruptly as chief operating officer at United News and Media yesterday, to an old chum at the top international headhunting firm of Lewis, Banger and Ratheon, appears bizarrely to have been misdirected and as a consequence has turned up in the Independent's postbag. In the interests of transparency, we here reproduce it. "Dear Sir D ... [name withheld to protect confidentiality],

"As I write, my name is being put to one of those ridiculous sweetness and light press releases announcing that I'm on my bike after just nine months in the job but with no hard feelings. I'm quoted as saying it has been a real pleasure working for United while Lord Stevens, who hasn't spoken to me for months, says what an important contribution I've made to the company. Ha! As you can imagine, my comments are through clenched teeth, arm twisted behind back and a grinning lawyer waving my contract before me.

"Actually its been one of the most frustrating nine months of my life, much worse than my long-running feud while at Emap with Richard Miller. At least that was good fun and the company was going places. I think the problem was that at United I was brought in under false pretences. I was led to believe that Lord Hollick would be taking an increasingly back- seat role, that he would be spending large amounts of his time with his new Labour cronies, advising Margaret Beckett on competition policy and the like.

"Not a bit of it. In recent months, the Frenchman has been more hands on than ever. When I tried to shoe horn my way onto the television side of the group, they said I knew F-all about it and shut me out. It wasn't much better with the newspapers, which also had their own boss, Steven Grabiner. I suppose you've had a hand here, for he's about to depart for pastures new as well. If you recall, he was the man responsible for such triumphs of newspaper marketing as the pounds 1-a-week Telegraph, but even so I couldn't get a look in.

"Round at Emap they seem to believe I was planning some kind of triumphant return by launching a United News and Media bid for the company. I have to say that even if I'd wanted to, I'd never have got it through the bearded baron. He wouldn't let me bid for IPC and he wouldn't even let me acquire the Autotrader magazine group. What I'm saying here is that for heaven's sake next time get me a job where I'm the undisputed boss, and not somebody else's lackey. By the way, I've already had several offers (who knows, I might even end up at IPC after all), so if you want your commission you'd better get a move on.

Yours in anticipation, David."