MONDAY 6th SEPTEMBER 1999 - It’s all going swimmingly…
Home again, I'm still on leave, and Coral Reef in Bracknell is packed. It takes us twenty minutes of queuing to get up to the water slides, then twenty seconds to come down again. My great theory that most kids would be back at school (daughter has another couple of days off) is clearly, noisily and claustrophobically wrong. Strange, water-based teenage mating rituals, mainly involving screaming and splashing, are breaking out all around us.
In the evening, I get a call from my boss, Richard Delbridge, the NatWest Group Chief Financial Officer. We established that yes, the news did travel to Schladming, and yes, it was very exciting. "There's going to be a few management changes connected with the deal," Richard announces. I'm not sure I like the sound of this. "One of them is Purchasing. You know I've really enjoyed working with you, but we think there’s some logic in swapping things around. We've decided you should report to Bernard Horn, and Audit is going to come into me rather than Bernard."
I am relatively happy and quite relieved about this. It is not an unexpected move, and one I'm fairly neutral about. It's been fine working for Richard for the last year or so. We seem to get on very well personally, and I have huge respect for him. But Bernard seems a good guy from my dealings with him, he is also a main board director (like Richard), and his role is more operational than Richard's (his title is Chief Executive, Group Operations) so he probably has a broader interest in what Purchasing actually does.
2019 notes – Richard Delbridge took on various non-exec and charitable roles after NatWest. This suggests, sadly, that he may have passed away in 2015, but I can find no obituaries or other reports. More happily, this indicates that Bernard Horn is still involved with not-for-profit organization Social Finance, as Chair Emeritus.