Enterprise Rome

There are three things not to discuss with friends. They are politics, money and religion. As I have not really talked about religion before (with the exception of the Jehovah’s Witness guide to marketing and sales) I think on the occasion of the Pope’s first state visit to this country I need to change that.

I was impressed by the Pope’s visit and I hope inspired us all in difficult times. I want to look at the visit of his Holiness as an Enterprise.

The Church of England demerged from the Catholic Church some 500 years ago. Apparently there have been merger talks going on for the last 40 years – I must have missed that in the papers. I have seen several demergers and it takes some time to get used to being on your own after the initial excitement, but 500 years? Each church has developed in its own direction so perhaps it is time to focus on some more current issues.

Then we have the issue of financial control. I read this trip cost the British taxpayer £20 million. Now how do you get to that? The Finance Director needs to have a good look at cost control. I looked on Ryanair and it costs less than £1400 to fly 25 people from Rome to Stansted, return, including taxes and booking fees. This is assuming of course there are no special offers.

There are no doubt some problems in flying Ryanair, but then Alitalia has its problems. The clothing – weren’t the costumes magnificnent? – was not something you can pack into the 15 kilos allowed by Ryanair, but it could probably go into the boot of the Pope mobile. I am assuming they did not fly that to the UK in line with the Church’s green credentials.

Also with the average age of the entourage the loo would have to be available but I am sure that even Mr O’Leary would do a deal for say £50 to have the loo open for use rather than coin operated (or maybe it is not coin operated yet).

I would not want to fly Ryanair either, but we all have to make sacrifices or so we are told by his Holiness and his hosts, so best to lead the way. So this cannot be the reason for the high costs.

So it is probably security. Being generous and leaving £1 million for travel, hotel and the odd trinket for the PM and Her Majesty, leaves £19 million. That sounds like an extraordinary amount to me, but then it does come out of the public purse and as we know the public sector have an unbelievable ability to make the most trivial item cost a fortune (did you know Councils say it costs £2500 to paint the lines on a parking spot – £25 for the painting and the rest for sitting around in meetings I think).

Last but not least for Enterprise Rome is the question of team discipline. It appears that each country has a lot of autonomy, but perhaps it is time to review the franchise agreements. Abusing kids is not acceptable and the franchisee who partakes must go. End of debate. I cannot understand how people who have been convicted of such crimes can still be in a position of dealing with vulnerable people. Time for serious management reviews.

Pope Benedict – thank you very much for coming. Now please get with the times, stop looking back, and look forward. There are plenty of CEOs who can give you good advice.

And lastly – what is the retirement age for this job or have your pension arrangements also been taken away like the rest of us?

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