Fred the Shred’s opulent office at Gogarburn is still one of the most potent symbols of the banking crash.
Tales of the excess that was witnessed in his executive suite are legion in Edinburgh and will live long in the popular memory. So what better than taking it and turning it into a place that will help young people?
Times are tough for anyone trying to get a foot on the ladder right now, whether it is getting a job, buying a home or starting a business. That is the human cost of the economic crisis sparked by Fred Goodwin and his fellow bank bosses. Turning their former chief’s office into a centre to support the entrepreneurs of tomorrow is, of course, part of a determined effort to rebuild the Royal Bank of Scotland’s damaged reputation.
The events of recent years have caused colossal damage to what remains one of Scotland’s most famous institutions. It is impossible to forget the disastrous decisions taken by Fred and his fellow executives and the failure of the bank’s non-executive directors to hold them to account. The Royal Bank under their charge not only made the wrong calls, it was also an organisation which did not have its customers and the community at heart.
There are many good people working at the bank today – almost everybody reading this will know one of them. It has changed and continues to change.
This is a part of that process of renewal and has to be welcomed as another step in the right direction.
Giving fledgling businesses a helping hand to get off the ground has the potential to reap huge rewards for the Capital. Those that succeed will go on to create jobs for other young people, many of them will probably be in new hi-tech industries that promise so much for the future.
Let us hope that the young entrepreneurs who learn their trade there have a better grasp of decision-making than Fred Goodwin.