For Richer, for Poorer

I have followed the fortunes of Julian Richer (founder, owner and boss of Richer Sounds) since he started out in 1978. His story is to be admired because his achievement in commercial success is matched by his principled and ethical management style. Sadly, few business leaders can measure up to him in either capacity.

His latest move, to hand 60% of his business to his 522 employees – through an Employee Ownership Trust – really does emphasise how different he is from, say, a Sir Philip Green.

It is time that the get rich quick approach – whatever the cost to the long-term wellbeing of staff – by so many of our corporate fat cats was readdressed. This means that shareholders should be preventing senior directors from milking a company – through ultra-high salaries, share bonuses and hefty pension pots – just because they happen to be senior employees and have the authority to do so and lack any reasonable idea of ethics to inhibit their selfish actions. Where outside shareholders can wield sufficient authority to curb the excesses, then they should do so.

Equally, top management must start behaving according to a less greedy moral code. Behaving well in business is not just a philosophical ideal – it can bring its own rewards especially those not measured purely in financial terms.

By all accounts, Sir Philip Green cuts a lonely figure these days for all the luxury yachts and accumulated wealth that he holds with his business-owning wife in the tax haven of Monaco. His businesses are facing survival pressures.

Contrast that kind of position with the no doubt personal contentment of a Julian Richer. Which kind of success would you wish for yourself?

Image by Hunters Race

Published on Jun 10, 2019 by Neil Thomas