On the money with Gavin Hinks

Last year’s Accountancy Age Personality of the Year, Horne was until
recently the managing director of Wembley Stadium and a key figure in rescuing
the project.

Last week, however, it emerged that he is now chief operating officer of the
Football Association, where he was once FD, and part of the new power base,
alongside chairman Lord Triesman, controlling the body. Chief executive, Brian
Barwick, will leave by the end of the year.

And if the powers that be chose to make the job available, Horne could be in
pole position to win the CEO’s post. Frankly though, a superstitious man might
decide he might not want the title ­ FA chief executive’s are usually short

Adam Crozier, a marketing whiz, departed amid criticism of the cost overruns
on Wembley Stadium. Mark Palios, another accountant and business recovery expert
like Horne, resigned after becoming mired in the sex scandal involving
Sven-Goren Erikson and secretary Faria Alam. Brian Barwick, outgoing CEO,
struggled to win support after appointing Steve McClaren as England manager and
failing to win current Chelsea manager Luis Felipe Scolari for the job.

The advice based on history for the new COO is retain tight control over
budgets, keep your trousers on and make sure you select appropriately qualified
people when appointing key new staff. Two of those will be familiar to every
accountant, one of them completely alien, though worth bearing in mind wherever
you work.

Alex Horne, after guiding Wembley away from disaster, looks like the first
leader at the FA who can manage all three. This is vital given that the FA is
hoping, not only to rebuild success for the England team, but also host the 2018
World Cup. That will take a cool head and a tough mind. There will be testing
times ahead.

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