A colleague of some standing has never forgiven me for a minor misjudgment
committed several years ago.
Step back in time, if you will, to November 2000. The preceding months had
seen business news dominated by the unwinding of Rover. Just weeks previously
the last Mini had trundled off the Longbridge production line.
When it came to drawing up the shortlist for that’s year’s Accountancy Age
Personality of the Year Award, there were two names that simply had to be on it:
Jon Moulton, the VC then negotiating to buy the stricken car company from BMW,
and John Millett, FD of Rover’s new owners.
Both attended that month’s awards dinner at the Natural History Museum and in
my infinite wisdom I decided to sit said colleague between Moulton and Millett.
that table at least, it was a somewhat frosty evening. He describes his role as
unofficial peacekeeper, like wearing a blue helmet in Baghdad. You can see why
his veins still pop whenever Rover is mentioned. Or our awards. Or even the
Natural History Museum.
Recent events reminded me of that awkward episode. Fortunately this year’s
personality shortlist was done and dusted before I could sit one of our
journalists between, say, the FDs of HBOS and a short-selling hedge fund.
Sometimes it feels that only Steve Redgrave in recent history has stuck his
oar in more than Jon Moulton. From Rover to the current market turmoil to
accounting standards, Moulton has never been backwards in coming forwards.
And he’s still at it, telling Accountancy Age last week that current
standard setters are ‘maniacs’. That may be a little strong. But credit to
Mouton; I’m glad someone’s shouting.
Damian Wild is editor in chief of Accountancy Age and blogs at
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