Home > Uncategorized > Fred Goodwin. Making it Happen

Fred Goodwin. Making it Happen


Have just finished a very readable and fascinating biography of Fred Goodwin’s ultimately disaster laden tenure at RBS. The book has been quite well publicised and much has been made of the his obsessive and bullying nature. Certainly many of the tails are extraordinary and without doubt the overall impression is of a thorough detail man who somehow found him self in a role that required a much wider vision

The key to the story is that he actually believed he had this “vision” but ironically failed catastrophically because of a complete failure to analyse the actual. detail. Most specifically the ABN Amro deal

But the blame clearly was not Goodwin’s alone. Not by a long way. Having said that it was exacerbated by a culture where “bad news” or a simple difference of opinion was deemed to be dissent. Furthermore he demonstrated genuine insecurity by failing to question any issue he couldn’t immediately understand

In effect it is an object lesson in bad management. 

Another interesting angle was the nationalism behind the expansion of RBS. In fairness Goodwin was a unionist but there was a culture of “outdoing London” (at all costs) which appears to have been goaded along by certain senior figures including the currently high profile Alex Salmond


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