Red Shoes hasn’t been in since last Friday so perhaps Lord Ambrosia had a successful kitchen supper with Duncan Dishmore the Editor of the Moon.
In fact it all seems to have gone a bit quiet. Will Full and Lyle Clean have largely kept off my back this last week too.
Today however both call in to see me as it is it Audit Committee again. We missed the summer one – or at least I did – with all the shenanigans and my absence. Because of the fraud investigation, our annual accounts haven’t been signed off and there doesn’t appear to be a paper trail (or IT equivalent) of any Audit Committee or Board discussions on the draft accounts. Will and Lyle have been keen that there is very little paperwork for today and they are adamant that no one is to say much at Committee to Brian Careful, the Committee Chair, or to the co-opted independent non-executive. Both of them will attend to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Of course they don’t need to worry about the independent non-executive! Remember that thoroughly nice chap Thaw DeRide? The Aussie who supposedly works in Financial Services in the West Country. He rarely asks anything that can be deemed a question. He’s too busy waxing his surfboard (metaphorically of course).
I’m absolutely amazed when he turns up that he seems largely oblivious to the happenings of the last few months. Perhaps I shouldn’t be.
He is of course a glorious deep bronze colour. Apparently he has had some ‘work’ in California for the last few weeks. He seems rather excited to learn the extent of our news: “Wow – sick! So you’ve really been eating it these last few weeks. What a mullering you’ve had. Hope them narks haven’t got any traction. Not been using Sex Wax eh! Must have been awesome when they pulled their bronzes and bundled you into their blue collar taxis!”
It certainly doesn’t seem to have occurred to Thaw that he could in some way be culpable not having asked searching questions as a member of the Audit Committee. I wonder why the police haven’t interviewed him yet. Or why Lyle and Will haven’t been onto him. Then again, with that last point, why would they? He clearly knows nothing. He has always been “stoked” after Committee meetings.
Lyle forgets his serious demeanour for a while and gets all excited about the mention of Sex Wax. He wants to know what it is for and what it looks like and can Thaw bring him some next time he is up. I feel rather queasy.
Lord Ambrosia sends his apologies, as does Alec Smart our Chief Executive. Tony Wall our Finance Director attends again and hasn’t brought our Chief Accountant, Ihab Bin Countin, who normally attends in his place. As Ihab is hot on numbers and accounts and Tony isn’t, I guess that sets the tone for the Committee. No numbers, no detail.
Brain Careful looks very twitchy. He has of course fully co-operated with the police. But he knows that his tenure as a non-executive and Chair of Audit Committee is looking rocky. He may have asked the right questions but he has been fobbed off and there is little record of those questions, so he looks incompetent at best or involved at worst.
He starts the meeting by asking why we have only an oral update on the investigation, and no accounts to look at. Tony Wall eyeballs him like a shark approaching its prey. “Lawyers say no” he states. Brain wants to know why Russell Blow our internal auditor isn’t here – he wasn’t mentioned as an apology. “He is an apology” says Tony. He doesn’t say it like he means Russell has sent apologies. That’s probably because he doesn’t mean that. He’s not overly keen on Russell, or indeed anybody who asks questions.
The batting backwards and forwards continues unabated for several minutes – with Tony stonewalling all of Brian’s questions. I don’t know why Lyle and Will are there. Tony needs no minders. Certainly not for this situation. But actually I can’t imagine him needing one in any situation. I get a vivid image of him in a long leather coat with a pit bull straining at the leash in his hand.
Thaw finally says something in the actual meeting: “Aw guys, seems like we’ve got a bit of ankle slop today. Shall we bail?”
In one way I’m rather impressed with Thaw. He gets that we aren’t going to achieve anything today so may as well give up. Not quite as much sand for brains as I thought. Probably just keen to get back in the surf though.
With that, Brian gives up. He looks utterly defeated. I wonder what his next move will be.