It’s nearly 10 years since we first encountered our FD blogger, in the company toilets on the first day of his new job. But since that original post in September 2003, he has given AccountingWEB a unique insight into life in a small company located somewhere north of London.
To preserve confidentiality, he kept the specifics of his business under wraps and gave his colleagues pen names such as Mr CEO, Chair, East and #2.
Which is just as well. The FD’s Diary wasn’t a tale of espionage, but we experienced some dramatic turns and hair-raising episodes as his career progressed.
None more so than the Christmas 2004 office party, which prompted the divorce of the company’s main director/shareholders and ultimately led the FD to oust them both and restore sanity to the place by becoming CEO himself in 2005.
The firm prospered during the good years, and so did the CEO’s blog as we saw the firm expand into new regions with a more coherent, devolved management structure.
The new CEO brought in people like AM (the company’s former audit manager) and as the boom continued he put together an ambitious buy-out package to pay off the old CEO and free the company for more sustained growth.
Through a combination of prudence, foresight and good luck our CEO pulled out of that deal at the 11th hour in 2008, which is just as well. As he admitted himself, completing the MBO would have been a disaster for all concerned.
Since that time, however, the CEO has been looking for new challenges - taking on a non-executive directorship elsewhere, and finally stepping back to become non-executive chairman of the company in 2012.
As his portfolio of activities grew - and the difficulty of writing frankly and coherently about the different aspects of his working life - the CEO/chairman confessed to me that he was losing the spirit that fuelled his blog.
We asked him to try changing the direction of his diary by drawing on some of the lessons he had learned while writing his chronicle. But after a few more prescriptive posts he wrote back, “I've tried, but I think I'm out of steam. I’m no longer close enough to what’s happening to keep writing about it.”
It’s sad to acknowledge, but all good things come to an end, and for AccountingWEB the FD/CEO’s Diary has been one of our best. The CEO is a legendary figure within the profession. Thousands and thousands of accountants have shared in his adventures during the past decade and been entertained and educated in equal measure.
As we say our final farewell, on behalf of the entire community I would like to pass on our deep thanks for his massive contribution to AccountingWEB.co.uk and to wish him the very best as he seeks fulfilment in new pastures.
Meanwhile, with the CEO’s help we think we may have found someone willing to carry on in his footsteps. Stay tuned for further announcements…