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Sir, The general theme of Neil Collins’ Inside London column last week was well-received (“Sad stories of AO and Genel new issues offer a warning on pricing”, June 10). However, coffee was ejected from mouth at this line regarding Saudi Aramco: “The company might struggle to comply with the Slavery or Bribery Acts, it might balk at boardroom diversity, its governance might be suspect, its connection to London is tenuous — but the real problem is its sheer size.”
I admit to having not read the Slavery Act in a while. I am assuming that it is really the Anti-Slavery Act. Yet it seems like something that would be fairly easy to comply with, no? For example, by not having slaves?
And if you do use slaves, you are non-compliant, rather than “struggling to comply”. Where’s the struggle? Are we imagining C-Suite battles between pro- and anti-slavers? PowerPoint presentations entitled “EPS impact of the Slave Dilemma”? Have management consultants benchmarked performance against non-slave-using peers? If so, I shall immediately start work on my latest management book One to Zero: How to Build the Future After Eliminating Your Last Slave.
I agree with Mr Collins that Saudi Aramco’s sheer size is a concern. I also suspect it will struggle to meet our preferences regarding women in the boardroom, or, indeed, anywhere else in the company. However, I advocate that a reluctance to attest to a “zero-slaves target” is also a real problem.
Houston, TX, US