Susan Morrison: Boardroom shuffle of the living dead

Boardroom shuffle of the living dead

A long time ago, I was a corporate drone. I had a perm and I wore my jacket sleeves rolled up.

I worked for a Very Big Telecommunications Company, and now and again I had to babysit Very Senior People who came from London, usually the new Very Senior Person who’d just been appointed to be in charge.

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Whenever these celestial beings wafted in on the wings of the BA shuttle, we’d wearily roll our eyes and brace for boredom, since senior persons from London were invariably overpaid puff-egos in very expensive suits who looked aghast if you suggested they should answer their own phones. At least one didn’t actually know how to use his, which I thought could have been considered a bit of a drawback for someone working in A Very Big Telecommunications Company.

They just appeared, these people, usually from some other corporate board room. One got booted from an electronics firm on Wednesday like a baby being flung from a sinking ship – which he’d helped to sink, incidentally – and turned up on our company newsletter on Friday, grinning like one of those gormless blondes who used to stand next to the prize on a 70s quiz show.

He nearly wrecked the Big Telecoms Company as well, before we, too made him walk the plank. But to cushion his fall, he got enough money to buy Essex, which he didn’t really need, because he wafted into another big leather office chair behind another big shiny desk with another huge pay and bonus package.

It’s like a waltz of the undead with these suited and booted corporate hobos, just driftin’ on through the board rooms of Britain spouting jargon and cutting jobs.

How do they get these jobs? Just what is the interview process for the corporate walking dead? “Well, Rupert, why exactly do you want to work for us?” “Well, Gideon, because you’re going to give me whacking loads of dosh. Pass the port, there’s a good chap. Should I mention I know nothing about the telephony business?” “Good god, no Rupert, not necessary, there are working class people who do things like that.” “And this is my direct telephone number here on this note, is it?” “No, Rupert, that’s your salary.”

So it hasn’t really come as surprise to me that bosses of G4S didn’t have a clue that they hadn’t hired enough bouncers for the Olympic Games, that the head of Barclays didn’t have the foggiest notion that his traders were fibbing like 12-year-old 
boys caught in front of a broken window with a ball under their arms and HSBC’s man in charge of compliance apparently had no idea that his bank was busy laundering cash for drug cartels in Mexico, which is taking HSBC’s adverts about 
“knowing local markets” a bit far.

Looks like it’s time we lined up two by two

Just how much water can one cloud hold, for heaven’s sake?

And why does that slightly dishevelled woman on the telly describe it as a shower, when quite clearly we’re looking at the sort of rainfall that makes the nation worry about putting an ark together. Mind you, look on the bright side, if we do need to stock up animal wise, at least we’ve got two pandas. Although given the panda attitude to reproduction that might not be the bonus we first thought it was.

Summer by Ryanair

Apparently, it’s to do with the jet stream, this foul weather, which makes me suspect that the jet steam has been taken over by Ryanair and, true to that airlines carefree attitude to geographic proximity (Oh yes – Glasgow Prestwick, anyone?) I suspect it’s dumped our summer in Reykjavik.

We can always bank on the army

The head geezer at G4S says he didn’t know that his company had overlooked the need to hire and train security staff for the Olympics. This is the Olympics, for goodness sake, not a dodgy nightclub in Camden. We’ve all known it’s been coming at us like a huge meteor all summer. You can’t get away from it.

G4S wailed that it couldn’t get its training programme in place, which I imagine is more than just telling the Olympic door stewards that it’s OK to let people in who’re wearing trainers.

And so, as we always seem to do when things get tough, we draft in the Army, who are (no surprise) doing a great job. And just think how handy it will be to have an extra gun or two on hand if the starting pistol misfires.

Y’know, since the army’s doing such a bang-up job with the Olympics, I’m beginning to think we should hand over banks as well.