One major management story dominated the weekend’s news agenda: the failure of world Number One security firm G4S to fulfil its manpower quota for the London Olympics, necessitating the enlistment of 3,500 British Army troops to cover the gaps. While the story exploded at the end of last week, developments continued to unfold across the weekend, and the Indy explained that the firm stands to lose a potential £50m as a consequence of its abject performance. It also emerged that G4S chief executive Nick Buckles could not “categorically” confirm that all those who have been successfully recruited to the Games security beat were able to speak English.
Further to the Indy’s coverage, online Sunday bulletins from national newspaper websites leapt upon an utterance by Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt during an interview on Andrew Marr’s BBC One show yesterday morning, in which he claimed that it was “perfectly normal” for a major government contractor to fail to deliver on a promised commitment. Have we seen the birth of a Universal Excuse?
With George Entwistle recently hired as the next director general of the BBC, the Mail returned its gaze to one of its favourite topics: the corporation’s broader management savvy. According to its scrutiny of the organisation’s annual report, 15 top Beeb stars are still being paid £500,000 per year or more, despite a commitment to control spending. While that figure is down from last year’s 19, and the number of big hitters on salaries of £1m or more has been driven down, the Mail says that star spending is “only” £10m lower than the previous 12 months.
Managers at technology giant Research in Motion (RIM) are grappling with the question of how to turn around the fortunes of BlackBerry – RIM’s once-powerful telecom system that encompasses handsets, a network and a well-known brand. Eclipsed by the iPhone and damaged by a litany of network failures around the world, that brand and its technological trappings are in desperate straits. Anil Doradla, analyst at stockbroker firm William Blair, confirmed: “It is a patient and it is on its deathbed. The first thing you have to do is to make sure the heartbeat does not stop.”
Roc-a-fella records honcho and acclaimed hip-hop artist Jay-Z is being sued by former associate Dwayne Walker for royalties generated by the label’s logo, which Walker designed. Label co-founders Damon Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke are also named as defendants in the suit, with Walker stating in his legal papers that the logo “has become universally recognised as an iconic symbol of Jay-Z, one of the most successful recording artists in the history of popular music”. So, guess that makes it 100 problems, right, Jay?
Sticking with the musical theme, X-Factor runner-up and rising artist Rebecca Ferguson has launched a Twitter-powered negative-publicity blitz against her management team for burning her out. “So exhausted I couldn’t physically walk on my own but was still told I had to work!” she raged in one tweet. “Be nice to have a nice new management team!!! Who care for me and my childrens [sic] wellbeing” she blasted in another – complete with the ominous hashtag “#seeyouincourt”.
Perhaps Ms Ferguson should enlist the services of Creditsafe chief executive Cato Syversen, who – in a fit of generosity – has decided to give his 500 staff a break from the woeful British summer by sending them on an all-expenses-paid, “sun, sea and sangria” holiday in Majorca. The 46-year-old finance whizz is splashing out £300,000 on the mass R ‘n’ R fest, for which he is block-booking a hotel and organising a range of entertainments. “No one’s heard of anything like this,” said Creditsafe salesmen Mark Davies. “It just shows some bosses appreciate their workforce.”
Speaking of generous bosses, one Boss in particular – namely Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen – spent Saturday night enmeshed in his own brand of magnanimity by treating Hyde Park revellers to a three-hour set with his backing group the E-Street Band. But concertgoers’ hackles were raised when venue management – concerned by recent gripes from nearby residents over the durations of gigs at the park – cut out the PA system as the New Jersey singer-songwriter ploughed through a closing encore of Beatles covers, accompanied by Sir Paul McCartney. For those who believe in Springsteen’s power as the ultimate motivational speaker, it was a heinous act to leave his punters Dancing In The Dark.