This year's blockbuster - a steamy tale of corporate governance; People & Business
Friday 14 March 1997
Mr Bain has reached the last five for the Management Consultancy Association's book of the year for the second year running. The winner of the pounds 5,000 prize will be announced next week. Mr Bain's first tome went under the boddice-ripping title of Successful Management.
This year's steamy tale is entitled Winning Ways Through Corporate Governance, written with Professor David Band. Also up for the prize is The Fish Rots From the Head: the Crisis in Our Boardrooms by Bob Garratt, who could certainly give Mr Bain a few tips on titles.
As a demonstration of his confidence in picking up the prize, the Coats Viyella man is planning to be in Mexico next week.
Still on Coats Viyella, profits took a hit in Brazil for a bizarre reason last year - poor sales of kite string. Finance director Kirk Stephenson says that low cloud and damp conditions affected demand. Flying kites is apparently a popular pastime in Brazil and competitions are keenly contested. The latest thing is weaving glass into the string so that contestants can saw through the threads of rivals.
Richard Koch, the company doctor who helped rescue Filofax after its post-Eighties meltdown, is hoping for great things from his new book. He is one of three authors responsible for a potential business best-seller entitled, Breakup! When Large Companies are Worth More Dead than Alive. It concentrates on a topical subject - whether or not large companies would be better off splitting themselves up into smaller units a la Hanson, British Gas, Thorn-EMI and Courtaulds.
Authors Andrew Campbell, David Sadtler of the Ashridge Strategic Management Centre and Mr Koch argue that almost all multi-businesses destroy value and that synergy is a myth. They say demerger is not a fad but an unstoppable trend that could release $1,000bn in additional value.
Interestingly the publishers have sent a copy to Sir Gerald Elliott, the former Christian Salvesen chairman who is opposed to the planned break- up of the distribution and power hire company.
Christopher Haskins, the chairman of Northern Foods, was in feisty mood at a conference on "Democracy and the Economy" yesterday. Speaking at London Business School, his targets included two-tier boards ("not an appropriate alternative for this country") and deregulation ("It's come to a gory head in the BSE issue").
He also had it in for the Government on its treatment of abattoirs in the BSE issue. "The Government is quite happy to have named league tables in schools. It is also prepared to have league tables of abattoirs but is not prepared to name them because of commercial confidentiality. There is another scandal here which I hope will come out before very long."
The City is preparing for fun and frolics for Red Nose Day today. The Bank of England is staging an hour-and-a-half "aerobathon" for charity as well as a dress-down day. Sadly, Governor Eddie George will not be taking part in either, as he has conveniently arranged for a day off.
There have been reports that the Bank was due to stage a knobbly knees competition. A fine idea but the big-wigs of Threadneedle Street denied any knowledge of it.
Elsewhere, the Stock Exchange, Price Waterhouse and City lawyers Linklaters & Paines are taking apart in the City Red Nose Run. Some 2,000 participants from 124 companies will join TV personality Dani Behr in the race from St Paul's Walk near Southwark Bridge to the London Television Centre on the South Bank. All contestants will be wearing red noses and carrying lollipops.
Price Waterhouse has been receiving some criticism for only agreeing to a "limited dress-down" day.
This means no shorts or loud shirts but respectable chinos and polo shirts instead. "Some of our people might just have to meet clients, you know," retorted a spokesman.
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