We have defeated Arthur Andersen’s preposterous claim that we owe them $14.5bn. We owe them nothing beyond our contractual transfer payments, which end today.
The arbitrator also rejected Arthur Andersen’s claim that Andersen Consulting is required to share the technology Andersen Consulting developed by itself.
It is fantastic news for us and our 65,000 clients and we will now move quickly to focus on the future – faster than we were able to move before.
We are delighted to at last be a separate entity from AA. We have been working separately but now the separation is official.
Now it is time to move on independently, continuing to focus on our clients, our people and our ambitious reinvention agenda. To quote Dr. Gamba: ‘(Andersen Consulting ) acted in good faith, with a proper basis and in accordance with the Member Firm Interfirm Agreements in filing their Request for Arbitration and in their subsequent actions in connection with the arbitration proceedings.’
The arbitrator does require Andersen Consulting to surrender the name Andersen Consulting to Andersen Worldwide. However, it is the 65,000 men and women that work with us who are the secrets of our identity. In fact the changing environment and nature of our business has already led us to examine alternatives.
If anything, this decision simply accelerates that process. Losing the name is a small price to pay in this decision and fairly insignificant in the scheme of things. We were never fearful of changing the name. Our partners will reinvent the business. Look at the market place. It’s full of confusion. We are not concerned about a new name and identity.
Andersen Consulting will bring new growth and reignite our entrepreneurial strength and allow us to move quickly in the market. We will be able to move forward faster than before. We will be the benchmark by which others measure themselves.
If you look at what this decision provides us we know have a stand alone identity and we are going to be moving ahead. We want to stay on top and compete. We want to raise capital. There are a lot of possibilities open to us and we will discuss these with our partners in the near future.
We can stay independent if we want to. We have a strong balance sheet and this gives us more flexibility and more possibilities.
You’ll see some major alliances. In 30-50 days there will be major announcements, so stay tuned. This is day one of the future of this company.
- Joe Forehand is global managing partner and CEO of Andersen Consulting. This is an edited version of the conference call he gave after the arbitration decision was announced last Monday.
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