Comments

DAMESATHOME@YAHOO.CO.UK
send the Dame your information, discretion assured.
Comments are welcome but do not necessarily reflect the view of the Dame.
Offensive/inappropriate comments will be deleted and the poster banned.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

RETIRED CEO SLAMS OPERA HOLLAND PARK PROFLIGACY

A retired CEO made this interesting and highly relevant assessment of the waste that is Opera Holland Park. 
Thank you Retired Chief Executive....

A RETIRED CHIEF EXECUTIVE






  1. Retired Chief Executive15 January 2014 11:48
    Makes my blood boil. Another example of businessmen running rings around local Government types. Analysis of the "deal" demonstrates the rip off that failed Travel Agent Volpe has fallen for. He trailed a £525k sponsorship deal for approval by the Council. Everyone is running so scared that only the Leader could have approved it - the rabbits all looked to him for a lead. Lets analyse the fundamentals. Investec is a hard nosed Wealth Management company with many private clients in the area. Profits are huge but so is churn in the industry as clients move between suppliers to try and better their returns. So relationship management is one of the best ways to reduce churn and Investec believes that a "night at the opera" is a good way to reduce churn and get more business from their clients. Investec has contracted for £175k per year cash sponsorship. Of course they offset this against tax so the net cost is, say, £145k. They also demand 300 "free" tickets (valued at £55 per ticket) and 280 "free" meals (valued at £14 per meal) in the Opera Tent. So that's £90k claw back of the sponsorship grant. If Investec did their soft selling at Covent Garden the 300 "free" tickets would cost them an extra £45k and the 280 "free" meals would cost an extra £22k. So they obtain a benefit of £170k that costs them £145k. A bit complicated I know, but people striking deals need to understand these things. If Volpe had an ounce of commercial sense he would have pushed hard for a £400k per year sponsorship (stressing the "wow" factor of Opera in the Park and responsible giving to civic projects, and the average £15k per year Present Value saving for every client that is prevented from churning ) and been prepared to walk away with a £350k per year deal. But of course he does not have a clue
    Reply

28 comments:

  1. Basically: we're being screwed over by bankers. No surprise there!

    The problem now is the Council's unwillingness to call it a day and shut the whole thing down. We don't want a lengthy discussion about whether or not it was or wasn't a good idea in the first place. We just want them to stop burning our money!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How can anyone not read that and think "they're all so out of their depth they're in the mariana trench"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Apart from staff costs, the major cost center fro City PR companies and Wealth Managers is client entertainment. Much frowned on by the Inland Revenue. Investec has gone one stage further. They found a way to provide client entertainment at no cost to themselves. They did a clever deal with Kensington & Chelsea that takes advantage of subsidised opera in Holland Park. A subsidy paid by hard pressed tax payers.

      Delete
  3. This is not their money, so they don't give a monkeys how it's spent. It's our money and our needs and wishes are repeatedly ignored. Shame on them and shame on us for tolerating such a situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seriously narked resident15 January 2014 at 14:03

      Very, very true and very, very sad.

      They clearly don't care how much of our money they wast. However much they may claim to be "responsible" or "financially accountable" squandering a million quid a year on a third rate opera is neither.

      Some of us would love to get shot of the lot them. But we simply can't when far too many of our neighbours vote Conservative without thinking. This place has been compared to a rotten borough for a good reason.

      Delete
    2. Don't look to the pathetic local Labour Party to help either. Too busy spending their time colluding with the Ruling Party.
      Councillor Blakeman, the Leader of the RBKC Opposition Labour Party loves nothing more than to be seen puffing up her ego at HPO.

      Delete
    3. Dear Seriously narked resdient,
      I take your point about local residents automatically vote Conservative. I think however, the Cameron effect is making lifelong true blues such as myself think again. I will probably vote UKIP or spoil my vote; simple as that really. As for Holland Park opera; it really makes me so angry and so I will leave it at that and comment no more!

      Delete
  4. Good for Investec. They found a freebie. Keeps down the cost of my financial advice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tired Tory Councillor15 January 2014 at 16:10

      Dearest Dame

      Given that you are so well connected and highly respected, can I make a suggestion? Why don't you via your wonderful blog set up a petition and encourage your readers to sign up?

      respectfully yours

      Delete
    2. I doubt it.

      Got a freebie opera ticket? Well done, you've saved yourself £55.

      Got no tickets? Bad luck, you probably haven't benefited at all.

      Delete
    3. Exactly, only the bankers benefit. Some customers get a few freebie tickets. Most customers get nothing. Local tax payers get screwed.

      Delete
    4. Thank you Tired Tory Councillor....there is nothing the dear old Dame loves more than this sort of laudatory comment.

      Delete
  5. But not on my taxes, mate

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kensington Resident15 January 2014 at 18:24

    A good friend recently said to me:
    "I know Holland Park Opera. My wealth manager took me there. I have no idea why I was invited and I have no plan to leave them. And I have no interest in opera. But it was an agreeable evening, including dinner. And I am glad I went. But I would not go again".

    ReplyDelete
  7. Did you tell your mate that your taxes helped to pay for his dinner?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kensington Resident15 January 2014 at 18:33

      Of course not! What an impolite suggestion. You must live in Hammersmith or some such place

      Delete
    2. Counciillor Ian Donaldson16 January 2014 at 01:10

      Councillor Ian Donalldson writes:

      About 18 years ago I was asked by the then Leader of the Council Joan
      (now Baroness ) Hanham to become Chairman of the then Libraries and Arts Committee. At that time Holland Park Opera made a loss of £270,000 on a budget of £780,000. By a combination of strict control of
      expenditure,an innovative pricing structure - ie charge more for the best seats on the most popular evenings - a bit like Easyjet - and personally
      securing sponsorship the season which followed my 3 year Chairmanship made a profit of £37,000 - the only time it ever has !
      I was greatly assisted by 'Mike' Volpe who unlike me is an 'Opera Buff '.

      Delete
    3. The Dame has heard from other sources that Cllr Donaldson was instrumental in ensuring Opera Holland Park turned a profit.
      Cllr Donaldson has a reputation for being an honest and hardworking councillor.
      The Dame INSISTS that he consider his position and fights Royal Hospital ward as an Independent Conservative.
      It's good to hear from you, Cllr Donaldson.
      Unlike Schlinker Rinker, Donaldson lives in the Ward and doesn't spend all his time in New Orleans.

      Delete
    4. The Dame is right to suggest that Cllr Donaldson considers standing in May. But he'd be on a hiding to nothing standing as an Independent Conservative. If he went down that route he'd start from a base of having no funds and no activists to help him.

      Far better if he made contact with UKIP and was their only candidate in that Ward. I have no idea how many members UKIP has in RBKC-but nationally they claim to have 30000-and let's say if 6 activists helped a sitting Councillor that might make for a tight contest.



      Delete
  8. It would be very interesting to hear the opinion of Cllr Donaldson about what should be done about the current situation of Opera Holland Park

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Public Realm Scrutiny Committee set up a working group over a year ago to look into the whole spectrum of issues surrounding Opera Holland Park. Its first meeting was postponed and never re-scheduled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As sure a sign as any that the last thing the powers that be at the Council want is for anyone to scrutinise Opera Holland Park. Although we can probably guess what they'd find - that it has bugger all chance of breaking even let alone making money; there's a better chance of a one-legged stool standing on its own two feet!

      Delete
  10. Interesting comment from Retired Chief Executive. I have had quite a bit of experience of negotiating hospitality deals from suppliers and in this case my guess is that Investec would have briefed their negotiator along the lines of:
    (i) £350k/year walk away price (ie the open market price for what they want to do)
    (ii) Offer a cheeky £50k per year but dress it up as £150k per year before claw back and see what happens. The client (ie OHP) is desperate for funds and frightened of closure so they will grasp at anything

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Cabinet Meeting that discussed the infamous Tot Brill report into the future of Holland Park Opera agreed a finite and final funding of £500k/year for three years ending in 2015, plus a negotiation about how all the freebies (erection of tent, dismantling, storage, admin etc) would be paid for by OHP. The Cabinet Member for Finance (Cllr Lightfoot) insisted that everyone had to understand that this was a final decision. What on earth has happened? Who has reversed this decision and reinstated the open cheque book of resident taxes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As usual: all done on the quiet; fingers crossed no-one notices.

      Delete
  12. What happened to all the worthies who were appointed to the Board of Opera Holland Park (eg the Chief Administrator of the Royal Albert Hall) who promised that they could deliver independence from the council tax?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And cocky Volpe who said that he does not need Council funding because he has sponsors up his sleeve

      Delete
    2. Clearly not all that worthy (or effective). Opera Holland Park still costing us too many organs.

      Delete

Comments are your responsibility. Anyone posting inappropriate comments shall have their comment removed and will be banned from posting in future. Your IP address may also be recorded and reported. Persistent abuse shall mean comments will be severely restricted in future.