Big Question – FDs ambivalent about Mandelson

Finance directors have given a wary welcome to government high-flyer Peter Mandelson as trade and industry secretary.

This week’s The Big Question, carried out by Accountancy Age and Reed Accountancy Personnel, found 36% of 253 FDs did not think his DTI post was good news for UK companies, while 43% were undecided.

Among those FDs who questioned the arch-moderniser’s suitability for the job, Jim Hatcher, acting FD of electrical component manufacturer Newport Components, said: ‘We need someone with a track record respected by captains of industry instead of this controversial figure.’

Peter Clark, group finance director of Conrad Advertising, said: ‘It’s ludicrous appointing him. How can someone who’s been a professional politician all his life have any concept of what’s good for UK business?’

But 21% of FDs were ‘on message’, agreeing that Mandelson would be good for UK business.

Robert Dearing, FD of metal processor Twickenham Plating Group, said: ‘He’s an achiever and a good organiser.’

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