WEDNESDAY 23rd FEBRUARY 2000; Meeting RBS
Back to work to find that various Redgrave meetings have been cancelled. Richard Delbridge has apparently decided that any decision is now in the hands of RBS. The reality of our situation, that we are no longer the decision makers, seems to have hit people.
The RBS Head of Purchasing, comes down from Edinburgh to visit. He is about my age I guess, English, has worked for Ford and NCR in purchasing, and seems a fairly quiet but intelligent and pleasant guy. We talk about our respective organisations. He tells me what he knows of the integration plans, although much does not yet seem clear. RBS have committed to selection on merit for all jobs, and there are going to be psychometric tests and interviews for all the top jobs. He says he would be happy to stay and work for me if I get the top purchasing job. I thank him, quite genuinely, but feel a bit guilty that I don't immediately reciprocate the sentiment! He is putting together templates for data collection- lists of top suppliers and contracts that we will need to complete. I think we have much of the necessary data already.
His team apparently includes two butlers amongst the purchasing professionals, and there are still executive dining rooms in several RBS offices. So perhaps they are not quite as lean, mean and efficient as they would like us to think or as they claimed during the bid process. He makes the comment that Fred Goodwin wants to manage the integration process without the use of external consultants. That is not what we expected, and I think it is a very brave and admirable decision.
I take him for a quick walk round Lothbury, and he takes me to Waterhouse Place, their Corporate Banking HQ off Holborn; very impressive modem offices behind a listed building facade. There are two of his young female purchasing managers there, who seem very on the ball, as well as very attractive. I might have lots of my young guys volunteering for relocation to Holborn …