Jon Moulton - a dinner discussion

Hosted by Nabarro

April 21 2015


It is a tough time to be defending capitalism. The UK’s recovery has yet to yield much in the way of pay rises for most people; penalties for various scandals exposed since the financial crisis continue to mount; no-one of note has gone to jail. Against that background, the corporate failures that are inevitable in any system governed by financial reality are depicted as rubbing salt in the populace’s wound. It’s even worse, if the failure is announced on Christmas Eve, as happened with the deliveries company, City Link. Business and ethics seem to be at odds.

Jon Moulton, founder and managing partner of City Link’s private equity owner, Better Capital, faced grillings from press and politicians in the weeks that followed. “The press,” he said in a Management Today article, “were as unpleasant as expected and reckless with their approach to factual accuracy”. As for the politicians: “The quality of the questioning was variable, with some right on target and some in the learners’ class.”

Jon, a turnaround expert with a long career in venture capital, can clearly give as good as he gets. But how worrying is it that many journalists and politicians appear to be ignorant about the facts of business life? Is it healthy that Jon is seen as one of those rare capitalists prepared to put his head above the parapet to explain and defend those facts?  And if the basics are difficult to get across, what about equally important but more subtle questions about risk-taking, which is at the heart of business investment?

We are delighted that Jon has agreed to discuss these issues with us over dinner. Apart from Better Capital, he is a trustee of the UK Stem Cell Foundation, an active angel investor, non-executive chairman of the stockbroker, FinnCap, and on the advisory board of the £3.2bn Regional Growth Fund.