BusinessCompany NewsOn the money with Gavin Hinks

On the money with Gavin Hinks

This week’s column really is about the money

gavin hinks, accountancy age

In fact it’s potentially about $1.5bn (£750m) that David Buchler, the doyen
of the UK insolvency profession could be about to pay for Kroll, the worldwide
we-do-anything-in-corporate-security-and-restructuring business currently owned
by US insurers Marsh.

Buchler is an old friend of Accountancy Age so we enjoy following
his career just as much as his profession does. In fact the profession’s
favourite pastime right now is laying bets on whether Buchler will actually lay
his hands on Kroll or not.

I say favourite because Buchler occupies a unique position within the
community. Fellow experts will talk in the same breath of Buchler being
brilliant, fascinating, his Kroll project as ‘enormous’ and then describe him as
’bumptious’.

Personally, I would have thought that being assertive ­ in a big way ­ would
be prerequisite for restructuring specialists forced to deal with recalcitrant
company directors not facing up to their failings. But perhaps Buchler’s success
is in taking that to new levels.

In 2002 he was interviewed by Accountancy Age and it was clear what
his main quality seemed to be. We wrote: ‘Being an insolvency practitioner,
according to Buchler, takes a lot of patience, flexibility, courage and
“sometimes dogged determination”.’

Doggedness is going to be useful, because so far Marsh has completely ignored
two approaches from Buchler. There’s some brinkmanship involved, but the longer
it goes on the more comfortable Buchler might become. He might enjoy it more
anyway.

In fact, I can’t help feeling I’d like to be a fly on the wall when Buchler
does get around the table with the Marsh board. It would be interesting to see
just how assertive he can be having been deliberately ignored.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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