So long, it’s been great to know you

John Stokdyk
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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 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…


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05th Feb 2013 13:11

It is quite unusual that I would read the above in relation to an anonymous blog with a sense of loss and sadness.  I have been a reader of the blog since day 1 and have enjoyed every word of it.  

I hope that the FD/CEO is back to full health and that he and his family continue healthy and happy.  (Baby Olivia must be quite grown up now!)

I wish them well.  

And thank you to the CEO for sharing with us over the years.  

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to asd96a24a
05th Feb 2013 13:06

Couldn't agree more

I've read every word since day 1 - caught up on everything after holidays - made sure I haven't missed an episode.

I wish the CEO every success going forward, but he will be greatly missed!

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By pwinter
05th Feb 2013 13:05

Thanks and best wishes

I wasn't in from day 1 but have been reading with interest for quite a few years (and did my best to catch up on the early posts).

I'm sure many have found it extremely interesting - so thanks, and all the best for the future.

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05th Feb 2013 13:09

One of the highlights of AW

over the years, and I've always enjoyed reading it.

Grateful thanks for the past insights and best wishes and good health for the future

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05th Feb 2013 13:30

The reason that I signed up for AW in the first place

...since my line of work is providing free HR support to SMEs [yes I know that it is not a term they use but we are European funded]. In searching for info on some long forgotten HR issue I found myself reading one of the very earliest posts.

I have looked at AW every working day since to see if there was anything further from him.

It has been enormously informative, very entertaining and written with a sense of real generousity both towards us as his readers and towards the colleagues whose work he directed at the firm in question.

I too am very sad to hear that I will not have any further posts to read and had just been thinking about CEO earlier this morning and wondering when we would get the next instalment.

I would like to add my thanks to those already expressed and join in hoping he has made a full recovery from his illness.  I wish him and his family good health and good luck.

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05th Feb 2013 13:31

and me too

So long, fare well, auf  Wiedersehen, adieu - I have enjoyed every moment along the way.  Good health and enjoy what ever comes next.  Jane

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05th Feb 2013 15:25

So long, farewell.....

The CEO's diary (or FD's diary, as it was then) started very soon after I stumbled across AccountingWeb.  Truly, this feels like the end of an era.

I wish you every success with whatever you do next.


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05th Feb 2013 15:26

Is it too much to hope...

... that the replacement will be AM?


Like the others, very sad to see that the CEO won't be posting any more.

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05th Feb 2013 17:34

and me

Dear CEO I hopeyou  are well or atleast on the mend and I wish you and your family the very best, you have been/will be missed.

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By mrme89
05th Feb 2013 17:25

I clicked on this very much looking forward to the next instalment. I stumbled across the blog last year and have read every blog since then (too much time on my hands?).


It’s sad to think this is the end of the blog, but wish the CEO all the best and sincerely hope he has recovered or well on the mend!




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05th Feb 2013 21:45

Thanks for all the fish...

I've only recently discovered the CEO, however reading of his (mis)adventures was both entertaining and gave me an insight into the mindset of my own CEO.


So long CEO, you will be sorely missed. 

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05th Feb 2013 22:34

I feel like I have lost an old friend. I have ben following your blog from the early days and most of the time could relate to all you had to say. Sad to see you go but best wishes for your future.



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06th Feb 2013 08:29

As above!

Many thanks to the FD / CEO and all the best for the future.  He will be missed!

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06th Feb 2013 09:31

A Book?

As has been expressed by earlier commenters, I have found this blog hugely informative, educational and entertaining. In fact it fulfilled the BBC charter at a fraction of the cost, showing the workings of a normal company - which were sometimes anything but humdrum!

This gave such an insight into company dynamics and how the individuals related to each other in that environment that I wonder if it should be turned into a book (ebook, available on this site?) with perhaps some explanatory narrative in places.

That way it's not lost in a dusty archive.

Sincere best wishes for your health and happiness

Steve Duvall

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By neileg
06th Feb 2013 10:35

Ah well

This was clearly on the cards as his direction changed. I have always felt some sort of kinship with the FD/CEO. I will miss these funny, thought provoking and insightful observations on life in an SME.

Cheers and good luck to you sir.

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06th Feb 2013 13:21

I can only echo the above

I have followed the FD/CEO's blog from the beginning and do not think I missed an episode. Though I did get a bit fed up with him highlighting my weaknesses where he handled things far far better and with greater insight and ability than I would have done!

With the recent silence, I did wonder whether this was on the cards. I trust the CEO is fully recovered and wish him well for the future.

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06th Feb 2013 13:25

Is it really that long?

I too have read the FD/CEO's diary from day 1 and have always been captivated by it - like a soap opera, but real! I particularly lilked to read about his insights and experiences, especially when they mirrored my own experience as MD of a much smaller SME. But I also learned a lot from his wisdom and people skills, so I never felt time spent reading the Diary was wasted - more professional development than down time.

Best wishes to the CEO for his future health and happiness.

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By hilaryc
06th Feb 2013 17:56

Another thank you

Like so many others I have read it from day one - the early posts around the ex CEO/Mrs CEO and the Christmas party had me completely hooked!  Definitely an accountant's soap opera. 

Good luck and best wishes to him in the next phase of his career.  I look forward to a potential replacement but he will be a hard act to follow.

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08th Feb 2013 13:18


I too have enjoyed, and learnt, from the earliest posts.

I hope that your health is fully recovered and wish you all the best for the future

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12th Feb 2013 12:03

The end of an era

Thank you so much to the FD/CEO/Informator for an incisive and relevant blog to the daily life of a much maligned breed. My lunchtimes will be all the poorer for his absence.

I sincerely hope that your enforced back step will help you regain full health and that your obvious wisdom is not lost to all those that follow you.

Good luck in all that you do.

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13th Feb 2013 15:34

Thank you and good luck

I will miss his insight in to the company's problems and how he resolved them. He always came across as a man of honesty, integrity & fairness and he unwittingly made me a better man manager as I attempted to emulate those qualities.

Thank you and good luck in whatever you do next.

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Integrity and decency

It's daft, but I feel I know CEO personally and am losing an old friend.  May I add my thanks and good wishes.  I came to admire CEO for his integrity and decency as well as his insight and acumen, and could forgive him his occasional grumpiness.  And of course his lucid writing style was a delight.  Anyone who chooses the charms of this country for family holidays rather than joining the queues at the airport deserves our praise.

The column will be missed - when's the film coming out? 

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