More NewsIt’s too damn quiet

It's too damn quiet

The ICAEW/CIPFA merger roadshow hits Luxembourg tonight. It’s Lancashire tomorrow before going nationwide next week.

If this sounds like the itinerary of some revivalist band tentatively
retreading the boards, that’s not the only parallel. This act is also a familiar
one and in recent years it too has had more misses than hits.

Both parties are positive. The ICAEW believes its consolidation roadshows are
convincing members that merger plans are sound, while its recent polling shows
67% of members are in favour.

CIPFA, meanwhile, points to the 1990 attempt to merge the two bodies as
evidence of strong support among its membership. The CIPFA vote at that time
amounted to 80% support. It is ‘cautiously optimistic’ that it has not collapsed
in the intervening 15 years.

But the devil is always in the detail. Despite strong support that last
merger attempt failed. ‘Only’ 61% of ICAEW members voted in favour. To succeed,
positive votes by both memberships had to exceed two thirds. The hurdle is set
at that daunting level again for October.

What will be preying on the mind of both executives is that it’s worryingly
quiet out there. And the quieter it is, the lower the potential turnout. The
lower the turnout, the easier it will be for a small group of opponents to
secure a defeat for the proposal.

Now it could be that opposition is greater than anyone at Moorgate Place or
CIPFA’s Robert Street HQ suspects. Indeed, anti-merger campaigner Bruce Lawson
says his own poll has found only 4% in favour.

A victory that emphatic is unlikely for either camp. But given the height of
the hurdle, it is too close to call.

Olympics off to a flier

More encouraging news on the Olympic front. David Leather, formerly finance
chief of the Manchester Commonwealth Games, has been appointed interim CFO of
London’s Olympic Delivery Authority’s transition team. The Ernst & Young
partner will be responsible for establishing the finance team, systems, budgets
and forecasts.

Separately, LOCOG – the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games –
will be set up to organise, publicise and stage the 2012 Games.

The search for chief executives for LOCOG and ODA has begun. But with one FD
with an impressive track record in place – and another, hopefully to follow –
the 2012 games are getting off to a great start.

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