Dear February 2008 We have had two very busy client months already in 2008 with a successful project start last week for a winning member of topinterim as a production leader with the country‟s leading organic dairy brand. We also enclose the latest project report from Dr Paul Sheppard who has just finished a year‟s project with Pets Choice up in Blackburn. Remember to always write project reports of your own best projects using the topinterim project report headings, clear it with your client, and we will publish. And another successful ti member starts next week on a FD project through us with a £10 million company that only came in a week ago via the internet. Briefing on a Tuesday and shortlist interviews on a Friday. A choice made and a hiring agreement that day a record for us. We have raised our success fee a tad for 2008 but we are still less than half the cost of an interim agent on a successful hiring. The latest edition of The Executive Grapevine Directory of Talent Management for 2007/08 is now out. A huge edition costing just under £300. Intriguingly there are only about 50 interim companies listed this year. They seem to have done some serious weeding since the 2006/07 edition. topinterim‟s entry is on page 479. We are the only non-agent in the directory. There are in fact about 270 interim agents out there. Though it‟s expensive, this directory is a „must‟ for a proper campaign against agents by any senior interim candidate. You need the names of the individuals to contact, NOT just the companies. Our plans for a summer social event for London members and partners progress well with a supper at The House of Commons hosted by Shailesh Vara MP, the deputy opposition leader of the House. The date is Wednesday evening the 16th of July. The House will almost certainly be in session that evening. Please could members who are interested in this event register now by an e mail to email@example.com . Places are limited and we need to know soonest whether we will hit our 20 member, 20 guest target. Cost will be about £45 a head, Many members will have visited the House in the past but probably not our partners. So a special opportunity for us all. Remember too to have Friday November 28th 2008 in your diaries for the annual afternoon and early evening annual symposium at 10 St James Square. We will try and have in each newsletter this year something about energy and climate change initiatives following our 2007 Symposium on „changing climates‟. This time a piece on The Duchy Of Cornwall‟s Eco initiatives and news of a new startup by Neil Kerr, one of topinterim‟s original shareholders in 2000 www.nextgenerationturbines.com who has an exciting developing agency relationship with one the leading US small scale wind generator companies. This site website explores the practical economics of having a generator of your own. Space, no neighbours, and a hilly site are useful elements if you have them! As usual you can pick the topics of interest or download the entire 12 page newsletter and read it at your convenience. Happy hunting DP 1. 1. London member’s Development Meeting March 3rd We will report on this presentation by Leon Benjamin in next month‟s newsletter. 1.2. Bristol member’s Development meeting March/April We are close to fixing venue and speaker for late March early April and will be announcing this very soon. 2. So what are interim agents charging nowadays? Can you help with inputs of your own here please? We see plenty of evidence that top agents still manage to achieve a 50% mark up on your daily rate (or 33% on the total cost of the assignment), i.e. £600 becomes £900 to the client. £500 becomes £750 and so on. We try and establish that any client of ours does not think they can start at less than about £600 a day with topinterim members. Our highest fee secured last year was £1,200 a day by one of our very established top turn round people suggesting than he would be able to deliver what was needed in two days a week rather than 5, and thus £1,200 a day would be saving money! The fact that topinterim does NOT do percentage add ons is of course a huge advantage when negotiating direct with a client, as our members are able to do through our process. There is plenty of evidence that this means you are able to negotiate a larger share of the project fee for yourself. But in your recent contracts through an agent, what percentage was the agent in this case earning? Examples please to firstname.lastname@example.org. No need to mention the agent to ensure total confidentiality. 3. Dr Paul Sheppard’s project report This was one of those dream projects for a ti member which just kept on extending. From six months to a year and six months. Blackburn is Paul‟s home town, though he now lives in Leighton Buzzard. He formed a great rapport with the management team there and managed the complex and high risk instalment of a huge processing machine and packing facility which now allows Pets Choice to challenge Winalot when heretofore Pets Choice have already established an excellent supermarket niche underneath the magnificent Pedigree Petfoods. We‟re sure Paul will be called forward again with this fast expanding client. The best clients are the ones who come back. Programme Director topinterim member 709 Client situation and objectives Pets Choice Ltd. is a leading pet food production company with its own brand name of products supplied to major retail stores. Over recent years the CEO has increased sales and profitability to the point where they needed another facility to increase production and meet the growing demand for their product range. They acquired an old animal feed mill approximately one mile from their head quarters and main production facility in Blackburn. The objective was to refurbish the old mill into a new production and packaging facility, utilising as much of the existing equipment as possible and the sale of any redundant equipment. The management team of Pets Choice had identified and purchased a new extruder and dryer for the production of dry dog, cat and fish food. The project brief for the refurbishment and installation of new equipment had been given to various external contractors for quotation. The company needed an interim programme director to project manage the refurbishment of the mill and supervise the external contractors. Sourcing the solution The new chairman of Pets Choice, Anthony Nissen is also the MD of the „Virtual Office Group‟ in London where topinterim has a virtual office and consequently asked David Pinchard if he had any interim managers who could take responsibility for the project. David gave Anthony a range of production director „short CVs‟ and suggested that he read them and then pick one for a preliminary interview to assess the calibre of candidates. I was selected and interviewed by Anthony, who obviously thought I fitted the requirements and arranged for me to visit Pets Choice and be interviewed by the original owner (Ted Davies) and the CEO (Tony Raeburn). Following the interview, there was a main board meeting at which they decided to go ahead with an assignment. Agreeing the brief and the price The final stage of the selection process was to agree a brief, mode of operation and payment terms. It was agreed that the position would not be full time particularly in the initial stages when tenders for the contract were being sought. The CEO wanted a fixed price contract of equal monthly payments with a minimum and maximum number of days of work, leaving it up to the interim as to when those days were worked. Having had the interview at Pets Choice Ltd., I wrote up a contract of work, specifying the brief, objectives, range of days to be worked, terms and conditions and monthly payment terms, to cover the initial stage of the project. The contract also stated that it would be reviewed after four months and revised to a daily rate when the full scope of work and time scales were more clearly defined. The contract was accepted by both parties and commenced at the beginning of November 2006. First steps The first stage of the project was to review the tenders from the selected contractors. It was immediately clear that more time was needed with the electrical contractors in order to define the process control requirements and instrumentation as one of Pets Choice‟s objectives was to automate the process as much as possible. The tenders were reviewed and a choice was made, but there was a need for some alterations and a revised bid, which was received and accepted in January 2007. Having selected a main contractor, who would take overall responsibility for the mechanical, civil and electrical contracts, the first thing to get them to do was, disconnect and strip out all the redundant equipment and get it ready for sale. Project Strategy and implementation The project was obviously larger than originally estimated and would fall under the Health and Safety CDM regulations. To get the ball rolling we employed the main contractor under a small engineering contract to remove the redundant equipment, which has subsequently been sold. I then took on the responsibility of being the CDM principal engineer and site coordinator. I filled in the appropriate CDM forms and informed HSE of the total project and wrote up the „Pets Choice Contractor Rules‟ document and issued it to the contractors and generated the CDM file, containing all the forms, rules, time sheets etc. to comply with CDM regulations. By this time it became clear that my involvement in the project was going to be more than originally anticipated and we renegotiated my contract to an agreed daily rate. My responsibilities were also increased to include the identification and purchase of packaging equipment for the following phase of the project. The objective here was to fully automate the proposed packaging line, which would consist of a „Vertical Form Fill and Seal‟ system, a collation and shrink wrapper for 2.5 kg bags and a preformed bag packaging system for the large 5-15 kg bags. This would then be followed by a fully automated palletising line with robotic pallet stacker and finally a stretch wrapper. This was no easy task as we struggled to design a line that would fit into the available space. However, after initial identification of possible equipment it became apparent that the original area proposed for the packaging line in the mill, was inadequate and we focused our attention to using the existing warehouse, which was a totally different building, but provided more room and opportunities for the design of the lines. The new process equipment (extruder and dryer), from Wenger duly arrived 17th April. It was an extremely tight fit, getting the new equipment in, particularly the dryer, which only had an inch clearance either side of the doorway. The dryer also posed an unforeseen bigger problem as it was the latest design of dryer from Wenger, which was larger and more efficient but not the same as the drawings originally sent to the contractors for the quotation. The new dryer had two exhaust ducts as opposed to the original drawing that only had one. This resulted in additional work, two new cyclones, structural work and considerably more ducting than originally quoted for. The dryer also required twice as much gas than the current mains supply and a new gas main had to be installed, a long with a new gas meter and housing and a change of gas supplier, which caused a significant delay to the project. Summary Approximately one year on from the start of getting in the tenders for the main contractor, the project came to a successful conclusion, with first product trials taking place in December 2007 and production runs in the New Year. The products produced are currently filled into tote bags and transported down to the Gladstone Street site for mixing/blending and packaging. The packaging line at Lower Philips Road site was designed and the appropriate equipment identified, purchased and delivered. The blending of product, transportation to the packing hall and the integration of the packaging line are currently being reviewed by Pets Choice and the management of this phase will be done internally. Pets Choice Ltd. got a really good deal on the purchase of the old mill, but this in itself creates problems as it is significantly harder to design and squeeze in new equipment into an existing building than it is to design a green field site. There are also many unforeseen issues in refurbishing existing equipment, which don‟t become apparent until start up. However, the final outcome was the best solution for their requirement and budget, allowing them to expand the business in to a new field. Candidate Number: 709 Profile: A very experienced senior manager of very substantial and broad experience. An operations director, a technical director, a director of software systems development, a project manager, an international product development director both in the UK and USA, a award winning director of research and development. Experienced in the acquisition of companies and assessing due diligence and defining product/market strategy. Experienced in change management, quality systems and benchmarking. Happy in B2B sales and finance as well as operational and production areas. Ph.D. (Chemical Engineering process Control) B.Sc. DIS, M.Sc. (Chemical Engineering) Chartered Engineer, M.I.Chem.E, IoD Ask me to: I love building and working with teams, and am comfortable both at the coal face and in the boardroom. I enjoy the sales process and negotiation of contracts. I revel in strategy setting especially in new market areas and product development. I adore innovation. I analyse fast [S] Expertise/Disciplines: B-ISO 9001, B-Project Management, B-Manufacturing, B-NPD, B-Process Control, B-Software Development, B-Quality Systems, O-Change Management, O-Re-Location, O-Processes, Y-Acquisition, Y-Strategy, Y-Business Development, X-Research [S] Industries: Petfoods, Beer, Soft Drinks, Virtual Reality Systems, Simulators, Electronic Imaging, Software Development, Medical Systems, Batch Process Control, Pulp and Energy Systems, Photographic Film, Office Machinery, Pharma Machinery, Packaging Machinery [S] Clients/Companies: Pets Choice, GEI Group, Heineken, Virtuality, Kawasaki, Pitney Bowes, Crosfield Electronics, IGE Medical Systems, Kent Process Control, Measurex International Systems, Kodak Time as an independent: Since 2003 4. Internet aggregators. Another new frontier David Parsley reports on the new breed of 'aggregators' that sift online financial information to bring you the needle but not the haystack The Independent on Sunday, 13 January 2008 “Try to find a specific piece of data on the web and the chances are that you'll get a lot more information than you need and end up not enlightened but completely in the dark. You may even enter an incredibly precise term but you'll still get millions of results with no clue as to which ones are actually relevant to you. No one in a City job has the time or inclination to sift through that amount of research, so corporate executives, analysts and bankers are now flocking to the crop of web-information aggregators that have sprung up over the past few years. These websites employ sophisticated software to find exactly what you need – whether it's the latest rumour on a predicted merger or an investment by a private equity house. In a matter of seconds, these sites will produce the information the workers in the financial community require. One such site is StrategyEye. Nick Gregg launched the business in 2004 after a successful banking career at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Also the founder of recruitment group Milkround, which was sold to News International last year for £40m, he had been developing his web-aggregator software during his time in banking. StrategyEye offers subscribers a battlefield view of telecom, media and technology (TMT) businesses by gathering rumours, announcements, partnerships and blogs on the topic from tens of thousands of web sources round the globe. Gregg's team of analysts will then check the stories out and write their own views on them, providing subscribers with a snapshot of the information and how reliable it seems to be. "We are a combination of human intellectual property and technology," says Gregg. “Essentially, we provide subscribers with two things. First, we track 4,000 expert bloggers around the world and assess what they're saying. These guys are often some of the most experienced people in their sectors, letting the world know the latest news before it hits the City pages in newspapers. "We gather this information from all these sources all day every day and then have our analysts check the rumours out. We rank the bloggers in many ways, including how reliable they are, and our software never misses anything anyone writes. "Second, and unlike some of our competitors, we track mergers and acquisitions, venture capital deals and any announcements in the TMT sector." In the next month, StrategyEye will begin to cover the energy industry and Gregg is also looking to expand into other sectors, including healthcare and clean technologies, in the next year. Backed by 20 "angel" investors, he has raised £2m for the expansion programme. "The business is very scalable," adds Gregg. "We currently cover 10,000 companies across 3,000 sub-sectors. Our software allows us to do much more than that when we're ready to. There's no reason we can't cover 50,000 companies across many new sectors as we expand." StrategyEye is set to reach profitability next year as some of Gregg's biggest clients – which include Microsoft, Yahoo!, BSkyB, Fidelity and UBS – pay up to £40,000 for their annual subscription. Like many others in the sector, Gregg believes that these information- gathering techniques are poised to revolutionise how business people gather their intelligence. Another "believer" is Devin Wenig, chief operating officer and proposed chief executive of news information group Reuters following the completion of the merger with Thomson. Last month he told the Future of Business Media conference in New York that bloggers and web chat were becoming critical in news generation. Wenig talked up what he called "data concordance" and revealed that Reuters is set to overhaul its financial data terminals, which he described as "somewhat archaic compared to what's happening on the web". His "next-generation" terminals will be a multimedia experience, fully social network-enabled and collaborative with the internet. "Part of that is also about aggregating content that we don't have. The terminal of the future is not only going to have Reuters content, it's going to bring in a bunch of information from the web and do it contextually. "I want to see what the blogo-sphere is saying about it. I want to see not just what Reuters says about it but what the world is saying. That's a huge shift." It is understood that Wenig is already some way along to launching the financial terminal of the future and has held initial talks with potential software providers. Clearly Gregg is hoping to catch the eye of Reuters, but he will be competing with the likes of Mergermarket, which claims to produce "pre-news" in the mergers and acquisitions market via its 200 journalists worldwide. Founded by former Scots Guards officer Casper Hobbs and journalist Charlie Welsh at the end of 1999, Mergermarket provides information on M&A activity above €£3.7m in Europe or £2.5m around the globe, and in any sector anywhere, to investment bankers and others in the M&A community. The two men pocketed £10m each in August 2006 when Pearson, owner of the Financial Times, bought the business for £101m. Where StrategyEye looks at every aspect of the companies that it covers, Mergermarket has spread its net far wider but only focuses on M&A rumours – in the same way that another product, VentureSource, a web information group owned by Dow Jones, focuses on investment from venture capital sources around the world. These three groups are sure to be only the beginning of the revolution in information gathering. When news organisation leaders such as Wenig at Reuters recognise it's the future, you can be sure more bright sparks will jump on the bandwagon.” 5. Slowly setting Sun on hard copy newspapers Another sign of the times is the steady and relentless decline of hard copy newspapers. This is alongside the decline of conventional TV audiences. The old stranglehold of big advertising cost media, and huge infrastructure of investment needed by major power brokers like Murdoch is weakening by the day. The Guardian has 350,000 or so circulation a day in hard copy , but in January along Guardian online had over 19 million visitors that month, a rise of over 20% over December 2007 visitors! This makes the Guardian the largest of all UK newspaper websites. Tim Luckhurst Independent on Sunday, 13 January 2008 December November Month-on- December 2007 2007 month 2006 change (%) Independent 228,400 233,423 2.15 238,756 Times 615,313 636,946 3.40 635,777 Telegraph 873,523 882,783 1.06 899,493 Guardian 353,436 356,789 0.94 365,635 Daily Mail 2,310,806 2,327,507 0.72 2,311,057 Daily Express 744,539 766,874 2.91 773,768 Sun 2,985,672 3,078,388 3.01 3,028,732 Daily Mirror 1,494,114 1,518,881 1.63 1,540,917 Daily Star 726,465 753,476 3.58 750,374 December November Month-on- Decemb Year-on- 2007 2007 month er 2006 year change (%) change (%) IoS 198,222 203,369 2.53 198,871 0.33 Sunday Times 1,148,329 1,213,878 5.40 1,212,8 5.32 86 Sunday Telegraph 611,293 645,305 5.27 643,592 5.02 Observer 429,420 454,374 5.49 435,852 1.48 Mail on Sunday 2,209,642 2,324,581 4.94 2,241,7 1.43 52 Sunday Express 677,480 687,253 1.42 759,495 10.80 News of the World 3,167,435 3,280,972 3.46 3,380,7 6.31 46 Sunday Mirror 1,315,188 1,358,370 3.18 1,322,2 0.57 0 The People 674,781 683,802 1.32 766,842 12.01 Daily Star Sunday 360,416 421,841 14.56 354,809 1.58 Sunday Mail 488,362 487,276 0.22 499,392 2.21 SOURCE: Audit Bureau of Circulation It feels like the end of an era: 33 years and 11 months after the "Super Soaraway Sun" burst through the three million mark, its December 2007 sales figure fell below that for the first time, according to the latest figures from ABC. Will News International's market-leading red top ever again have the confidence to assert "It's the Sun wot won it," as it did after John Major's victory in April 1992? Probably: December circulation figures are notoriously poor. With price-cutting and giveaways, 'The Sun' should soon creep back above three million. Its rival, the Daily Mirror, may also recover from December's decline to just under 1.5 million daily sales, but the popular tabloids are in trouble. Now it's possible to imagine the Mail overtaking The Sun. With the Mail at 2,310,672 sales in December, their circulations are converging. Competition is ferocious but paid-for papers are experiencing their bleakest years since broadcast news destroyed their monopoly in the 1960s. In the year from December 2006, national dailies' circulation fell by 1.99 per cent to 11,287,246. Sunday titles suffered more, shedding 4.74 per cent. The Financial Times, though, continued its rise, increasing daily sales by 2.62 per cent on the year. New Times editor James Harding may have experienced a moment of insecurity on glimpsing the latest figures. His title had a poor December, shedding 3.4 per cent of sales on the month before, compared to falls of 0.94 per cent at The Guardian, 1.06 per cent at The Daily Telegraph and 2.15 per cent at The Independent. The good news is the mounting proof that established brand names have huge value in cyberspace. Online readers of The Independent and Independent on Sunday rocketed in 2007. The Daily Mail boasted nearly 14.5 million unique users in November, putting it ahead of telegraph.co.uk and Times Online, but behind Guardian Unlimited. Digital publishing lets papers expand their readership, and last week the World Association of Newspapers launched a website to promote the use of cross-media audience measurement. There is the revenue out there to support quality journalism, but until advertisers grasp the value of combined print and digital papers, they will not pay top rates for online campaigns. Tim Luckhurst is professor of journalism at the University of Kent 6. Energy news. The power of example – The Duchy of Cornwall „The countryside and the challenges of climate change and the environment – a case study of the Duchy of Cornwall Estates‟. All ti members will have their various networks. Colin Butcher, our Bristol members chairman introduced me to membership of one excellent network which meets for a presentation and supper afterwards about 8 evenings every year in a smart hotel Cheltenham. The delegates are an interesting mix, some from neighbouring GCHQ, which occupies a huge site on the outskirts of Cheltenham, full of impressive and thoughtful engineers and intelligence gatherers (as one would expect). But also bankers, university professors, manufacturers, senior public sector specialists, and a sprinkling of locally based senior independents. A recent presentation was made to this group by David Curtis, one of the key land stewards of the Duchy of Cornwall Estate. It was kind of him to take time out to give such an interesting talk to us. The background to the Duchy goes back to 1337 (if you hold land in the family long enough it can be a very good thing!) and fulfils an important role in sustaining the heir to the throne, who receives little help from the public purse. The estate is well spread throughout the West and South West, including the Scillies, but also such unexpected sites as the Oval Cricket ground. The Prince of Wales is also surprisingly landlord of Dartmoor Prison. The estate was significantly expanded in 2000 with the purchase of the Prudential Estate for £49 million with major landholdings in Herefordshire. Revenue of the estate is £14 million p.a. and there are total of 79 employees. A lot is clearly done by such a small team. The Prince of Wales sounds a fine landlord to his agricultural tenants. Yields are low at 2%. The game there is always a long one. The estate also has 570 residential properties with tenants. The yields however from the estate‟s commercial ventures are driving revenues up sharply. (20% over 2% from agricultural land) Poundbury, a 400 acre housing development site has produced a substantial amount of „column inches‟ for its sensitive „traditional‟ village and housing development and the way it has delivered house prices 30% above surrounding properties. Some hate it. The residents, mostly well heeled and from the older age groups like it very much. Another Duchy venture is on the way on Duchy estate land in Newquay The Prince believes in steering his team to mirror his strong environmental views and the Duchy estate management has pioneered a number of key initiatives. All new housing is naturally built to very high energy efficiency. The Estate is not at all convinced about wind generators. They are expensive to build and also expensive to link to the national grid. Currently wind generators are dependent on subsidy. They have a long payback. Also they can be very unsightly indeed in their view when you see the giant wind farm clusters that are springing up around the country. On bio fuels they were initially very much in favour in driving farm machinery with bio fuels, but recently are having serious second thoughts. As the price of wheat (a key constituent for bio energy distillation) has climbed from £62 per tonne to over £200 a tonne. At over £100 a tonne and bio energy becomes uneconomic. An acre will produce 5 tonnes of wheat in a good year. On heating they report good success with large central biomass boilers using woodchips. A biomass boiler produces not just heat but also electricity for a group of houses with a low carbon footprint. Their own biomass boilers produce 60% less cost than using conventional fuel oil. Biomass boilers may be expensive to install but have a 30 years life. Currently the best biomass boilers are manufactured in Europe and imported here. The woodchips interestingly come from an Ironbridge based business, not from the estate. They are also beginning to experiment with all-electric Smart cars with 100 miles range before a re-charge. Their conclusion was that these estate initiatives are in their infancy and blind alleys are to be found along the way. But at least they are experimenting and communicating what they are learning. Agriculture may have been somewhat in the doldrums for 20 years but the agricultural leaders are waking up fast to the new challenges and opportunities of energy conservation and renewables. Soon, as produce prices rise, we will see much less talk of „set aside‟ land as we further experiment to harness the sun to at least go part of the way to solve the real crisis coming up- the finite nature of our most used cheap sources of energy, coal, natural gas and oil. The rising cost of oil will inevitably cause increases in the cost of food, and will encourage perhaps the greater consideration of „food miles‟ and the desirability of buying locally produced food and in season. One really does wonder at the greater than ever profusion of African grown red roses- all arriving just in time for Valentine‟s Day this year. On the one hand valuable revenue for hard pressed African farmers. On the other a hell of a lot of cargo jumbos and road distribution from the new Covent Garden.