I was once a director of a British PLC publishing business. The idea was to produce a magazine on the subject of inward corporate investment, acquisitions, relocation and development worldwide. We only needed a minimal amount of staff to keep the office running as my partner and I spent our time travelling the world having meetings with anyone and everyone involved in the field. Law firms, Corporations, accountants, business movers and shakers, even government leaders. It was an awesome, frustrating, exciting experience that is sometimes difficult to describe. My partner and I had had a background in producing country reports on inward investment for a major international publication, and it seemed logical that, at some stage, we might set up on our own. Even today countries and regions within those countries hold vast budgets for the promotion of their respective areas as the place in which to expand their business interests: it’s a highly competitive environment in which the winners might expect to reap great rewards for their environment, kudos and employment prospects. In a strange twist of recall I was jolted into remembering those days when I heard of the return to the UK of the former Chief Executive of Polly Peck Asil Nadir, the fugitive tycoon who has flown back to Britain, after evading trial since 1993.
Our little business had the great fortune to have employed one of the best Editor’s in the field and a local woman who had all the grace and elegance of a swan mixed with superb business acumen: perfect for keeping things running whilst my partner and I jaunted around the world. However, there was one thing about her of which we were blissfully unaware, something conveniently missing from her curriculum vitae. Her previous employer had been none other than the aforementioned Azil Nadir for whom she had been working as an assistant in one capacity or another. She had decided to tell us of her ‘true’ past when she told us that she was leaving our company to join a ‘friend’ in Cyprus. I remember being stunned. I also recollect trying to extract as much information from her about her exact past relationship with Nadir, alas, all to no avail. She was well practiced in confidentiality and obviously had other things on her mind. The next day she was gone: never to be seen again. Or so I thought.
Last month I was watching the morning news which was full of the return to England of Nadir. As I watched the footage of him arriving at the airport I could swear that there, in the background, somewhat fleetingly, was someone I used to work with on a daily basis. Could it be her? I thought. Then I received a text from my ex business partner which simply read ‘Do let me know if Susan…..’ (Not her real name for the sake of propriety) … ‘needs any help or somewhere to hide in Wales’. I wonder if she’s looking for a job?