It’s nearly three months since the Land Registry proposals were announced, and I’ve not said a lot about them since. There’s not been that much to say, as those of us in the offices marked for closure can really only sit and wait: the formal consultation period ends on January 31st, and there’s then a “period of reflection” before the final decision is revealed – probably sometime in March. So things had settled down somewhat and people had generally just been getting on with their work until we know exactly what’s happening.
But on Monday we were all unsettled again. An email to all staff from the Chief Executive, Peter Collis. Announcing that he’s leaving. On January 31st.
This from the official press release:
“It has been an enormous privilege to lead Land Registry for the last 10 years and I am immensely proud of all that has been achieved during that time. But, looking ahead, it is clear that, just as Land Registry is changing, so the role of Chief Executive will change. In my view, now is the time to make way for someone with different skills and experience to take Land Registry forward.”
What, only a couple of weeks’ notice? Hmm. Seems odd. Lots of rumour and speculation going round as to why he’s going so suddenly, and whether he’s been – ahem – “asked” to leave, and if so by whom, but of course that’s all it is: rumour and speculation. And a little hearsay thrown in for good measure, but as a magistrate I know how careful you have to be with hearsay as a reliable source of information so I’ll not repeat any of that on here. Oh, and for good measure the deputy Chief Executive has also announce his departure on the same date. He was due for retirement after 43 years with Land Registry anyway, but again a very sudden announcement and short notice period. Curious.
The timing is very significant: they’ll not be overseeing the “period of reflection”, and won’t be around to deal with the repercussions once the final decision is announced.
So who is going to be in charge? Let’s look at that press release again:
Marco Pierleoni, currently Director-General, Finance and Commercial at the Ministry of Justice, will be succeeding Peter until the role of Chief Executive is advertised and filled.
“I am pleased to be joining Land Registry at this exciting time, and to be taking forward the proposals set out in the accelerated transformation programme to enable Land Registry to become the lean, flexible and even more customer-focussed organisation that we all want it to be.”
Ah, I see. They’ve not yet advertised and recruited a replacement, so we’re going to be run by someone from the Ministry of Justice. Someone who sees this as an exciting time, and who is pleased to be “taking forward the proposals set out in the accelerated transformation programme”.
Yeah, he’s got the mood of the offices just right – we’re all really excited, too.
UPDATE: March 2011, Marco Pierleoni has now resigned. See here for details.