This chapter identifies the key features of a business that by 1982 had been in existence for 100 years. The main theme is how the engineering-led strategy and devolved management structure created by the de Ferranti family up to 1975 had been built on by the chief executive, Derek Alun-Jones, imposed by the government as a result of its bail-out in 1974. Addressing the major market challenges facing Ferranti in the 1980s, the chapter concludes with an analysis of Alun-Jones’ ‘American Strategy’ which culminated in a major acquisition programme.
This chapter unravels the fraud that had been perpetrated by James Guerin in compiling ISC’s accounts over many years. This requires a detailed analysis of the missile contracts that Guerin claimed to have secured in the Middle East, Pakistan and China. While Ferranti executives conducted extensive enquiries into the veracity of these contracts, it was almost two years after the merger before they realised the full extent of the fraud. The key theme will be the extent to which Ferranti executives continued to place considerable faith in Guerin’s claims, indicating the importance of trust in such relationships.
This chapter provides a detailed analysis of how multi-agency American and British investigative teams unravelled the highly intricate web of illicit activities created by James Guerin since the 1970s. By the time that the Grand Jury (in Philadelphia) was charged with investigating the criminal counts, there was an enormous amount of evidence implicating Guerin and his key executives. This finally resulted in a series of trials, consequent upon which Guerin was given a 15-year prison sentence and his co-conspirators a range of smaller sentences. At the same time, Ferranti also pursued compensation through the British courts, but in the end was obliged to accept a small sum from Peat Marwick Mitchell as ISC’s auditors.
This chapter analyses the strategies devised by Eugene Anderson in order to effect a recovery after the traumatic discoveries of 1989. This will include an assessment of the extent to which he was able to rebuild a ‘New Ferranti International’. As well as restructuring the business, and especially the American subsidiaries, further disposals were also effected, reducing the size of the business and its prospects of recovering fully. This also coincided with dramatic developments in the world defence market, not least the end of the Cold War and the consequent mergers in military-related sectors.
While the court cases were taking place in the States, Ferranti management was assessing how the fraud could be accommodated in the accounts, and especially the extent of bank borrowing required to prevent bankruptcy. It will become clear that while a bank syndicate provided extensive loans, the conditions placed on these funds resulted in an extensive disposal programme that left Ferranti bereft of profitable activities, and especially the hugely successful Scottish division. Another condition was the replacement of Derek Alun-Jones as chief executive with Eugene Anderson, an American with extensive experience of corporate turnarounds. These developments marked a dramatic change in both the nature and size of the business, as well as the corporate culture that had flourished for over 100 years.
This chapter traces the career of James Guerin and his establishment of ISC in 1972 as a vehicle for his aspiration to be a major player in the international defence markets. After failing to develop a viable product range, Guerin resorted to covert arms deals on behalf of the CIA, building a highly secretive business that was eventually obliged to register on the London Stock Exchange, rather than in New York, because of the liberal English company law. Whatever the reality behind Guerin’s business model, the firm attracted Ferranti management because of its American and international links.
This chapter provides a detailed analysis of the 1987 merger between Ferranti and ISC, highlighting the involvement of both senior management on both sides and a host of major City of London finance houses and associated firms. The key theme is the way in which contemporary regulations were followed rigorously, providing the opportunity for ISC to cover up some of the more dubious aspects of its accounts. Another issue developed is the personal relationship between James Guerin and Derek Alun-Jones, given the role this played in both the merger negotiations and consequent amalgamation.