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Of Comets and Queens

Of Comets and Queens

Ref: 5085

In stock

Price: 6.50

{detailed description}When young Basil Smallpeice, conventional English public schoolboy, chose accountancy he could not have imagined the headline controversies into which it would lead him.
No doubt accounting proficiency helps people to the top; anybody who gets responsibility for running great international companies like BOAC and Cunard must be expert in the technicalities of budgets, balance sheets and capital. But other qualities are needed - even advantages other than a `box-office' name like Basil Smallpeice (with the e before the i). Integrity is the quality apparent to everybody who knows the man.
Virtue does not always smooth the path of business, and his principles may have led him into more controversy than might be sought by many men of power. For example, he and his chairman in BOAC could have played the looming financial crisis
differently, glossing over truth about the cost of Ministerial interference (as compliant accountants might have done).
The truth was not palatable to Aviation Minister Julian Amery, who sacked him and his chairman in the most disagreeable act in the history of Government-nationalised industry relations. Smallpeice had managed an airline which had loyally supported the British aircraft industry and which - at heavy cost - had pioneered jet and long-range turboprop services. Today everybody flies in jets, but in the fifties aircraft without propellers were the preserve of fighter squadrons and test pilots. BOAC paid the price of pioneering. Even so, as a national duty, he and the team which he led set out again to be first - this time with transatlantic jets. The de Havilland Comet 4 beat Pan American's Boeing 707s by three weeks.
Besides handling a revolutionary new transport technology, he led the way in the technique of management-union consultation which today is best industrial practice.
At Cunard Sir Basil's job was to save the passenger-shipping business which, ironically, he had done so much as an airline chief to undermine. He was at the centre of the QE2 storm, determined on getting a Government decision to back a replacement for Britain's great but 30-year-old Queens. He succeeded, developing the cruising business, taking Cunard into the new world of containered cargo, and handling the new ship's seemingly desperate technical troubles as calmly (on the surface anyway) as he had the afflictions of BOAC's early Comets and Britannias.
His attractive personality and natural kindness must have helped to distinguish his progress, though paradoxically these assets may have contributed to a chapter which he must have written with least pleasure. When the restructured company Lonhro was seeking men of honour for its masthead, he agreed to join the board. He and 'Tiny' Rowland soon parted company.
Sir Basil was appointed administrative adviser in Buckingham Palace in 1964 - an assignment which must rank as the ultimate professional accounting accolade and character-reference.
{Author / Publisher / Date}by Sir Basil Smallpeice
published by Airlife 1981 1st edn. illustrated, index 14x22
{condition}slightly yellowed, some foxing to edges, binding slightly distorted, otherwise good in good d/j
{delivery info}
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U.K.
first class (1-2 days)3.99
second class (2-3 days)3.49
E. U. / Eastern Europe / Russia
Air Mail (3-5 days)9.00
Rest of the World Zone 1
North & South America, Africa
Air Mail (5-7 days)13.75
Surface Mail (6-12 WEEKS)8.85
Rest of the World Zone 2
Australia, New Zealand, Singapore
Air Mail (5-7 days)14.70
Surface Mail (6-12 WEEKS)8.85

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