Few would think of London's Royal Academy of Music as a sharp-end business. Patrick Maddams is the exception. Maddams, 42, was taken on 18 months ago as its first ever managing director and charged with instilling a business culture. He is well - if unconventionally - qualified. His first job was under John Major at the Standard Bank (now Standard Chartered) in West Africa, his most recent as head of the industrial textiles division of the notoriously hard-nosed BTR. His departure from the latter caused consternation: 'The personnel director flew up to Manchester to check that I hadn't taken leave of my senses,' he recalls. Though the switch involved but a 'modest enhancement' of income, the rewards, he says, are not purely monetary. 'People here talk of a psychic income - of the benefits of being surrounded by some of the world's finest musicians.' Despite the harmonious surroundings, Maddams has had to tread softly: 'a business culture has to be sold carefully in what is essentially an artistic environment'.
So far the BTR treatment (now known within musical circles as Better Try Regardless) appears to have worked. Services are put out to tender, staff contracts have been renegotiated and everyone given budgets. A £500,000 deficit has been erased and, due to a tightening of the public purse, a quarter of all revenue is now raised from the private sector. The repertoire has broadened, with masterclasses of finance being added to those on music. Outside the academy, no doubt enriched by his 'psychic income', Maddams pursues his hobby as a choral conductor - amateur, of course.