Magazine article The Spectator

United Conservers Need a Chief Executive and Have to Ask the Shareholders

Magazine article The Spectator

United Conservers Need a Chief Executive and Have to Ask the Shareholders

Article excerpt

These are dire days at Blue Water House, head office of that long-established British company, United Conservers. The results were disastrous, the prospect is daunting, the boardroom is split, the switchboard operator is snivelling into her mouthpiece and the managers are out to lunch. Belatedly, they now realise that great landmarks in the corporate scene can be eroded. If this sort of thing can happen to Marks & Spencer or British Telecom or Marconi, it can happen to them, too, and their company can join the 90 Per Cent Club, whose members (mostly dot.coms) have lost nine-tenths of their erstwhile value. At UC, the standard response to any crisis is a putsch. Loyalty has been described as the company's secret weapon, which is usually buried in the chief executive's back, but the most recent incumbent - a suit from McKinsey with a penchant for focus groups and bullet points - has left a poison pill behind him. …

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