Monthly Archives: September 2012

Andrew Hill

Anyone who reads Sir Howard Davies’s acerbic regular diary column in Management Today magazine will know that the former head of the CBI and London School of Economics is extremely well-qualified to lead an independent inquiry into UK airport capacity. He seems to spend much of his time travelling by air between international destinations – dropping in the occasional barb about the airports he passes through.

In July, he pointed out that “you need a sense of humour to fly from Venice airport. Congested? It makes Heathrow Terminal 1 look like a county cricket ground on a wet afternoon”. Last December, he recounted a bad Paris-Munich TGV experience, but added he was “instinctively pro-train, except when it is owned by Richard Branson”.  Read more >>

They are among the biggest and most useful innovations for the retail investor since the advent of mutual funds. But it is time for those investors to look a little more closely at exchange traded funds.

Andrew Hill

If the US Department of Justice does push its accusations of gross negligence against BP to trial, disinterested observers can look forward to a detailed exploration of the oil company’s culture and management.

As I wrote in my first column as FT management editor in 2011, the report issued by Barack Obama’s national commission into the Deepwater Horizon disaster reads like a guide to the challenges of implementing cultural change, fighting complacency, running a collaborative “extended enterprise”, and managing risk. BP’s own 2010 accident investigation report, based on an investigation by Mark Bly, the group’s head of safety and operations, took a far narrower view. There are 69 references to culture in the national commission report, for instance; there are none in BP’s, and the only discussion of management is focused on specific operational issues. Read more >>

Among many proposals about how to restore a positive corporate culture at companies that have lost their way, no one has yet suggested a good singalong.

John Gapper

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has been a bit of a trainwreck for the private equity industry.

First, its image of being a bunch of ruthless asset-strippers has been revived by the Democrats (and even Romney’s Republican primary opponents) and now his tax affairs are casting a dark shadow.

As the New York Times reported this weekend, Eric Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, has launched a broad inquiry into whether private equity firms evaded tax by turning their 2 per cent management fees into performance fees, which are taxed at a lower rate. Read more >>