A few years ago an enterprising publisher called Martin Leach set up a company in his own name and launched a magazine called Human Resources. It took the personnel profession by storm and soon became extremely successful. The publication held an annual award ceremony for excellence in people management and leadership; it had strong links with a number of highly regarded companies and gurus; and its editorial board membership read like a Who's Who of the profession.
Martin Leach Publications launched further magazines, including HR World and Enterprise, and it seemed to be going from strength to strength. Eventually the company sold its flagship title, Human Resources, to Haymarket Publications, where it continues to flourish.
And then the cracks started to appear. Cash flow started to become a problem. Editors complained that not enough investment was being made in their titles. Contributors went unpaid.
But it was only when the liquidator was called in that the extent of the rot was uncovered. After more than a year of investigations and communications with Leach, the liquidator, BDO Stoy Hayward, uncovered a dismal state of affairs. Debts that had been factored to Bibby Factors were, it claims, collected by Leach and not passed on to the factoring company. Many of these "debts", according to Bibby, were raised in respect of work not completed or even started.
Leach himself owed the company a large sum of money, but, after protracted negotiations with the liquidator, he disappeared. It looks as if he was simply buying time to plan his exit, because it...