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The corridors of power ...

During the summer, The Times invited captains of industry to a drinks reception at Somerset House. Two of the guests were huddled together away from the rest - Michael Green of Carlton and Charles Allen of Granada.

When our photographer tried to take a snap, they rushed off in opposite directions.

Green has always struck me as a throwback to the eighties. No-one would have dared tell Lord Hanson or Tiny Rowland how to run their fiefdoms.

Green presided over a closed shop: he set the rules. His low media profile reinforced the image of a distant, even arrogant, chieftain. That hardly fits with the new era of corporate governance.

It helps explain why there was little sympathy for Green after the ITV boardroom knifing. He would have benefited from a bit of executive mentoring.

Barbara Cassani, of Go airline fame, has admitted to several months’ tutoring in how to be a chief executive. Her coach, David Carter, runs Merryck & Co, a West End firm providing training and counselling.

Cassani now sits on Merryck’s advisory board. Other members include Kevin Murray, chairman of Bell Pottinger Communications. Carter’s plan is to sign 180 mentors and more than 1,000 alumni globally, creating ‘the most exclusive CEO club in the world’.

This sort of thing can be immensely powerful, but it is questionable whether it would benefit loners such as Green. Such men have their own close-knit network of contacts. What external groups bring is a bit of detached perspective. Green may not have appreciated the feedback, but it might have helped save his skin.

Mentoring certainly worked for Cassani, who has played on her folksy, American, ‘mother of two’ tag to great effect. You would never think she was a millionairess.

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