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Gutted: Managerial sackings at RSM Tenon
With gossip swirling around RSM Tenon, John Stokdyk looks at the events at last week through the eyes of a wannabe sports reporter.
Blame Harry Redknapp and its current engagement at Southwark Crown Court for this post, but wouldn’t it be a lot more fun if we talked about accountancy firms the way pundits cover football clubs?
All last week, you couldn’t move for people gossiping and speculating about what was going on behind the scenes at RSM Tenon. The firm’s spiralling share price brought to mind the dramatic misfortunes of football clubs that gambled their Sky-inflated TV windfalls a few years back on high profile, overpaid stars who failed to delivered the expected cups and championships (think Leeds United).
When football club owners face a crisis, they often fire the manager and bring in a big name replacement - hoping, like Martin O’Neil at Sunderland FC in the past few months, that the new broom will sweep away the lethargy and dead wood and motivate the remaining team members to new heights.
This is the tactic that RSM’s board adopted. Executive chairman Bob Morton (playing a role similar to accountant David Gill at Manchester United) has been shunted to the back of the boardroom as a non-executive “director of football” equivalent. CEO Andy Raynor was given his marching orders, with former BDO managing partner Jeremy Newman brought in as a crisis consultant.
I’ve talked to Andy Raynor several times and had a lot of respect for his straightforward approach and ability to communicate internally and externally. He made good copy for journalists, which as all football managers know is an essential first step to keeping fans and shareholders on side.
It appears, however, that much like Neil Warnock at QPR and Sunderland’s Steve Bruce, that after lashing out the cash, Big Andy wasn’t able to motivate his team to reach new peaks.
With economic uncertainty continuing to spook the market, Raynor found himself in a situation more akin to the Everton and Aston Villa managers, who had no more cash to spend on their ailing and injury-plagued squads.
In football, sacking the manager very rarely achieves a sudden, miraculous transformation and long-term instability can be almost as damaging as unrealistic expansion plans. Jeremy Newman and the new management team at RSM Tenon will have their work cut out to keep the firm out of the financial relegation zone.