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Issue 43 - Keep it in the family

Whisky Magazine Issue 43
October 2004

 

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Keep it in the family

As low points go, the conversation I had with a senior person at Glenmorangie on the day the sale of the company was announced is up there.

As low points go, the conversation I had with a senior person at Glenmorangie on the day the sale of the company was announced is up there.

It wasn't the subject matter that was so upsetting. It was when I put my foot in it and said that word about the imminent sale had been out for about a week. After a pregnant silence that spoke volumes, all the person said was “today's news has come as a great shock to the staff here.”

That the chattering classes knew of the company's availability before its employees did is not unprecedented – I once found out I was redundant from a girlfriend who had heard about my newspaper's demise on national radio – but it is no less upsetting for all that, and it might well be a precursor for the shape of things to come.

At the risk of sounding like an unreformed Marxist, I have never come to terms with the brutality of business at the sharp end, ever since my friend Chris Della Porta told me that his dad had lost his job as a director of Premier Drums, provider of drum kits to the biggest stars, even though he and his brothers had formed the company. It made no sense to me and still doesn't.

Don't get me wrong, I don't sign up to the other view that lazy management boards should be allowed to squander away company profits and ultimately staff jobs with impunity. Watching Oliver Stone's Wall Street again just the other day, I found that I still have a sneaking respect for Gecko's ‘greed is good' speech and his call for companies to be...

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