An Old Friend

Every time that McLeod Governance visits London, we are greeted by an old friend.

This old friend stands tall and salutes the weary traveller and we know for sure that the next time that we visit the Mother Land there she will be again.

The old friend is more than 80 years of age and is a celebrity in her own right … not to be outdone by the Beatles (in which she appeared in the movie, Help!) or Pink Floyd (in which she appeared as album cover art).

Without being overly callous, though, McLeod Governance thinks that this old friend is past her use by date … yet we are attracted to her in a way that that we can neither describe nor is it necessarily rationale.

In her original form, she served her masters well and a metropolis turned to her during the depths of the Second World War to keep them warm and safe.

But now she sits there unkempt staring across at the great buildings of the world …. the Westminster Palace; Buckingham Palace and Stamford Bridge Football Stadium (OK so perhaps only two out of the three qualify … your call!).

Many have tried to reinvent her; many have failed.

Great ideas conceived in inspiration have come to nothing in reality.

And yet there she rots away – reminding us all of the tragedy of her unfulfilled promise.

The old lady is the Battersea Power Station.

Battersea Power Station is a now unused coal-fired power station located on the south bank of the River Thames near Battersea in London. The station comprises two individual power stations, built in two stages in the form of a single building.

The two stations were built to an identical design, providing the well known four chimney layout. The station ceased generating electricity in 1983.

The station is the largest brick building in Europe and is notable for its original, lavish Art Deco interior fittings and decor.

Sadly years of neglect have seen her condition to be described as “very bad” by English Heritage. Since closure the site has remained largely unused, with numerous failed redevelopment attempts from successive site owners.

Another re-development attempt is scheduled to be finished in 2016 / 2017.

We reserve the right to remain professionally sceptic until we see the first piece of furniture being lifted through its renovated doors!


Every time that McLeod Governance drives (or let it be known in a recent visit … ran!) past her, it is struck by the analogy that something that is so dominant and once so useful can become not only useless in its intended original form but dangerous to those around it.

And with that analogy in mind … our thoughts always detour to the longevity of the practice of risk management (funny how one’s mind works when afflicted by jet lag!).

There is little argument that risk management as a practice has served us well in the past in the same way that Battersea provided power to London in her times of need.

What concerns McLeod Governance is that the frameworks upon which the concept of risk management is based are no longer capable of serving the functions for which they were originally designed.

Where was value at risk during the global financial crisis?

Where was business continuity planning when the great banks of the world fell or threatened to topple?

Unless there is a radical overhaul of the frameworks and our applications thereof, McLeod Governance can see a future for risk management not to dissimilar to the Battersea Power Station.

An impressive edifice for which there is no real, viable current use.


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