Salutory lessons from inside

This month, MT really is the business magazine that gets to the parts its rivals cannot reach.

by Matthew Gwyther, MT editor
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Our cover feature comes from inside Her Majesty's Prison Springhill and contains a long interview with Prisoner LG8356, an accountant called Ian Selby who is doing five and a half years for conspiring to steal from a pension fund. An Average Joe in the world of white-collar crime, Selby was an opportunist who got sucked into something, was surprised to get caught and is still protesting his innocence.

I've been inside on no fewer than five occasions in my working life (as a visitor, of course). HMP Wormwood Scrubs was the most unpleasant - a nasty, edgy place just waiting to 'go off' - but Holloway ran it a close second. The visits left me with the feeling that I did not fancy doing a spell of bird one little bit. That is why I remain, like 99.89% of MT readers, on the straight and narrow. However, as the article points out, it is an indisputable fact that 'risk-taking, recklessness, ambition, drive, egocentricity and a hunger for power are personality traits shared by successful business people and white-collar criminals'. I hope that the handful among you who are tempted to stray take our advice and remember the fate of Robert Maxwell, Nick Leeson and Lord Brocket.

From criminal to responsible behaviour - corporately responsible behaviour.

I've been out to South Africa with Barclays and its NGO partner Unicef.

The bank is involved in some unusual CSR projects now that it is back in that country 20 years after being forced out by collective protest.

My report goes some way to show how CSR has grown as a complex issue over recent years. It won't be going away, either.

I was no student activist, but I watched the whole anti-apartheid movement in full flow when I was at university. A great friend of mine called Chris, known to us all as 'Rentamartyr', was involved in every demo going. He came unstuck on one march when he shouted to some colleagues being loaded into a Black Maria: 'Solidarity, brothers! There's a solicitor on the way!' To which PC Plod standing next to him replied: 'Right, sonny, you're nicked.' Chris, predictably, later become a corporate lawyer ...

Finally, we're back on the track of young and talented women to fill our next 35 Under 35 list. If you are a young(ish) female business high-performer with serious fizz, or you know someone who is, get in touch.

MT is hunting for the nation's brightest business women aged 35 or under on 1 July 2006 - private-sector or public, entrepreneur or corporate staffer - to join the 35 Under 35 Hall of Fame. Send your suggestions by 17 April 2006 to

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime