The board meeting was not going very well. The finance director was complaining that whilst global demand for the company’s product had been growing at a compound annual rate averaging 22 per cent for the last ten years, competition was keeping prices lower on a real basis. It was a result of a supply/demand imbalance mainly caused by greedy rival exporters increasing their production with little concern that their actions were flooding the market.
However, he was happy to inform the board that there was every indication that the overall demand growth would actually expand over the next two decades and outstrip current supply. He used a series of PowerPoint charts and an overhead projector to show the largest potential growth regions, which were mainly located in Western Europe, and produced some bar charts showing the percentage of national GDP spent on the product, revealing that Germany and France were definitely lagging behind Britain and Spain.
The FD went on to discuss the developing sub-prime mortgage issue and the potentially damaging effect any upcoming recession would have on consumer spending. He complained that certain competitors were gaining the upper hand in the core US market and debated whether it was worth pursuing either a merger or a hostile takeover of various rival companies. He also argued that their own company had numerous inefficiencies that needed to be ironed out if profit margins were to be expanded, including transportation costs and the price of the raw materials necessary for their product. Finally, he did a SWOT analysis of their company – analysing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Gabriel listened to his subordinate with a degree of disdain. He longed for the old days when drug trafficking was a simple business. Now, like any chief executive of a multi-national corporation, he had so much to think about... so many issues to consider. He hated to delegate, but the operation had become so enormous since the old days when he was just a Bogotá gangster that he had no choice but to form a committee of people he vaguely trusted. Nevertheless, he knew that each and every one of his executives could try to stage a boardroom coup at any moment. The time had come to remind them who was boss…
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