I was back in the Andersen building for a meeting with Ian McIsaac, one of the few people to have got one over Robert Maxwell. McIsaac persuaded Maxwell to sign off a deal in the middle of the night on less than favourable terms. When Maxwell realised that he’d been done, he tried to intimidate McIsaac into rewriting the contract – to no avail.
From henceforth, Maxwell opened his letters to McIsaac: ‘Dear Deceiver’, signing: ‘Yours Deceivedly’.
It reminds me of the man who enraged Maxwell by smoking a cigarette while sharing a lift with him in the old Mirror building. Maxwell wrote out a cheque on the spot and told him he was fired. He later found out that the man was a courier dropping something off.
McIsaac chairs the Society of Turnaround Professionals (STP), set up three years ago to provide a voice for company doctors. Jon Moulton of Alchemy Partners is a member, although, surprisingly, David James is not.
Three years on, the STP is eager to boost its membership. It is keen to hear from people performing turnarounds for charities and National Health trusts and working outside London. ‘Where are they all?’ asks McIsaac.
‘This work is going on up and down the country.’
McIsaac says many company doctors are loners who could benefit from a bit of networking. ‘You won’t be lonely anymore,’ he says. ‘You can come to meetings and swap names and contacts.’
Don’t you feel sorry for them? Poor lonely souls.
- Jon Ashworth is business features editor at The Times.