This week we have all been able to watch as some ‘former’ bank executives have wriggled, squirmed, bleated and whined under aggressive questioning by the Treasury Select Committee; the qualifications, practices, manoeuvres, motives, fine-dining habits and honesty of these still-powerful and still-wealthy men were queried and ridiculed by the daunting panel before them. Uncomfortable facts and figures were faced, sorry was said and culpability was alluded to. Reputations were ‘shredded’ and huge losses, including their relevant jobs, remained lost.
Grunts of approval for this sharp-suited band’s discomfort could be heard throughout the length of the Dole Queue as the latest victims of redundancy waited to submit their own CVs for examination, all hoping to be judged ‘fit and proper personages’ to fill any available Situations Vacant.
Yet just a ‘google’ away, we learn that Sir Tom McKillop (former RBS chairman) retired early from RBS board following the government bail-out in October. He remains non-executive director of BP, chairman of the British Pharma Group, Vice-President of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations. Misys, the banking and software group, announced on 30th January 2009 that Sir James Crosby was to become its non-executive chairman. Until yesterday Sir James was a deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority and has non-executive directorships of ITV and Compass, the catering group. And so on.
Forgive me, then, if my heart does not bleed profusely that these powerful people lost one of their perk-peppered posts. Forgive me if I feel no sorrow that they now may have only 3 ‘company cars’ in their roomy garages. Forgive me if I do not weep to think that they won’t be enjoying sumptuous pre-Board Meeting dinners. Forgive me if I do not sob for their lost bonuses.
To be made redundant from one’s job is a grim and grave event. To lose one of a few prestigious jobs and one of one’s astronomically high salaries is a different kettle of stinking fish altogether.