An Eventful Week

9 March 2013

Not Every Man Has His Price - Could not buy Winston for a tenner

I was walking my daughter Michelle’s dog this morning when I came upon a vendor who had just acquired a plastic likeness of Winston Churchill and was testing the market for it with the passersby. He turned down my offer of ten quid. We’ll see if he and it are still there at the end of the day.

I’m reading Churchill’s six volume history of WWII, and am at the point where France has surrendered, Italy has thrown in its lot with the Fuhrer, and Russia thinks it has formed an alliance with Germany. It’s still pre-Pearl Harbor, and Britain is alone, fighting a “360 war” (my term) in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, as well as fending off daily bombing attacks from across the channel.

At present, I have half of dozen out of our 22 subsidiaries with challenges of various types, ranging from threats posed by legislation to problems arising from errors made with our products or people. If you are a CEO and think you have problems, read Winston.

The week began in Bern, Switzerland with a meeting of the Steering Committee of the SMART (Client Protection) Campaign. Beth Rhyne and her team have done truly brilliant work with this. If we get wide support behind this effort, it will redefine the MFI-client interface and could be a model for all other Social Enterprises.

On Tuesday, I inked the final deal for the acquisition of our bank in Pakistan. Very excited about our entry into South Asia with our new partners.

On Wednesday I received an honorary degree from Roehampton University. Many thanks to Clare Delmar for putting my name forward, and to Vice Chancellor Paul O’Prey, Pro-Chancellor Sir David Bell, and Professor Elaine Harris, head of the Business School, for their kind words.

I also have to thank Lorraine and Michelle for editing my remarks. Michelle described the first draft as ‘boring’ and “lacking the Scofield Pizazz”. I wish she would be more direct. I was rewriting the speech in my head during the sleepless night before, and into the next morning. I think it was a hit. My personal favorite lines were: “Your professors have armed you with the most powerful weapon on earth. A Weapon of Mass Instruction.” I will put the whole thing up on this site when I get the DVD (I know, you can’t wait).

Next week is board meeting week. Can’t wait to try out our latest strategies with our board members.

Rupert Scofield


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