The Business On... John Connolly, Chairman-elect, Amec

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Don't I know that name?

Probably – Mr Connolly is often described as Britain's best-paidbean-counter. Until the end of this month, he is the chief executive of Deloitte UK. He'll take the chairman's post at Amec on 1 June. The engineering company's current chairman, Jock Green-Armytage, is stepping down after seven years in the role.

So they wanted a numbers man?

Not just any numbers man. Mr Connolly has long been the brightest star of the accounting firmament. He was the force behind the successful integration of Arthur Andersen at Deloitte – the two merged in 2002 after the former was laid low by the Enron scandal – and on his watch, the accountant has grown to become the second-largest in the world.

So is he one of those MBA types?

Not really – Mr Connolly joined Deloitte on leaving school and has been with the company since, working his way up through regional jobs to a string of senior management positions at the firm. He's an old-school job-for-life type.

But with a modern pay packet?

Very much so. Mr Connolly's £5.7m pay package for 2008 caused a bit of controversy, because Deloitte made a killing that year advising on the nationalisation of Royal Bank of Scotland. His pay fell in 2009, but he still earned more than £5.2m.

How does he spend the money?

He's a horse-racing fan (he's tipped for a directorship at the Tote if Sir Martin Broughton's bid for the state-backed bookie wins the day) and owns seven thoroughbreds outright. He has interests in others, too, through a shared-ownership scheme he started with partners at Deloitte. On the horsepower theme, he's also the proud owner of an Aston Martin Vanquish and a Bentley Mulsanne – and he also likes fine wines.

Any other passions?

A couple of years back, Accountancy Age magazine named him its "Personality of the Year", describing him as "the accountancy world's equivalent of Sir Alex Ferguson". That will have delighted him – a Manchester boy, he's a season ticket holder at Manchester United.