It’s Board (bored) day again! Miraculously some form of Board Pack has been sent out but there is very little by way of papers supporting the agenda.
The usual behaviour is, on the face of it, present. Gloria Ewes was jetted in from the States yesterday and again has a mass of shopping bags with her. Clearly she is either oblivious to the fact Utilico is staring into the abyss or else has shut her eyes to it. Louis Vuitton, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Tiffany, to name a few. I suppose it was naive of me to expect her to have gone down market a bit. She would probably rather be dead than shop at Shoefayre for example but perhaps Russell & Bromley is more the zeitgeist for a Utilico NED at this point?
All the other NEDs and most of the executive directors arrive late as usual. We may as well change the start to 10.30 as we never start much before then despite the 10 am billing. Will Full with his military past is a stickler for punctuality and this tardiness really winds him up. He mutters about time being money and that the collective cost of that wasted half an hour each meeting is over £1 million a year. I haven’t checked his sums but I daresay he is right. Still, given the money we waste generally that is a drop in the ocean.
Talking of oceans, my mind starts to drift. I can see a gorgeous turquoise Caribbean beach. I can see a beautiful blue sky. I can see fine white sand. And palm trees. And an ice cold beer. And a hammock……
“Different..Different..are you listening to me?”. I jump with a start. It is the cringe worthy Lyle Clean. Of course he would attend wouldn’t he? The Cleaner! Well I’m not sure how successful he can be with our latest little mess. “What time are Fastbuck Made arriving?” he demands to know. Our lawyers of course. We can’t fart now without them and Lyle having cleared it first. “11 o’clock” I tell him.
The table is laid out with a vast array of sumptuous looking pastries as well as the sausage and bacon butties for Al (white van) Mann. I think idly to myself that if he could just hit his mouth more often with his food he wouldn’t need to eat three times as much as anyone else. Our cleaning bill is always exorbitant after he has been in a room. More crumbs than a bread factory. Cleaning again! Why can’t I stop thinking about cleaning and get back to that heavenly ocean? Maybe it’s because Lyle Clean who normally finds me almost invisible is ominously watching my every move.
Sir John Fuller-Pomp, our Non-Executive Chairman starts proceedings, “Okay guys it’s business as usual at Utilico”. Gloria pipes up with an objection: “I am manifestly NOT a guy Sir John.”
“Oh stop splitting your immaculately groomed ends dear – it’s just a turn of phrase” he retorts, rather unchivalrously for him I think. He must be a bit rattled.
Gloria just glowers at him.
“Today we need to focus on damage limitation! We need to protect our existing revenues and our share price, and ensure we are still able to bid for new government contracts. Outwardly it is business as usual and we put our best face on. All clear?” says Sir John.
“Everyone should know their scripts by heart by now and Tony and Will have been tasked with enforcing our position. Lyle is in charge of clean-up and needs to know immediately what is being said or asked. All clear?”
This type of monologue goes on ad nauseum. Occasionally someone else butts in but it just seems to be with reinforcements. When Fastbuck Made arrive it is worse. At least I can understand Sir John and his sentences aren’t couched in legalese.
I’m so pleased when we get to end of the meeting. At least I won’t have any minutes to write I think. But then Alec our Chief Executive says his usual: “Minutes by close of play please and don’t forget what they need to say”. I start to open my mouth to say something but a chap from Fastbuck Made who’s name I didn’t catch tells me that the minutes will be with me by 6pm. Great I think. I’m now completely redundant but, unfortunately, too knowledgeable to be dumped. Suddenly a wave of paranoia sweeps over me as I think of Lyle Clean’s new found fascination with me.
Tonight I think it is going to be more gin than gym for me.