The Star reported on April 29 that Emma Harrison has sold her shares in A4E for a cool £20 million.
It’s interesting that whenever Harrison’s name appears in the press it’s almost always linked to some breath-taking numbers.
Take, for instance, the £365,000 salary she paid herself when she was chairman of A4E or the £8.6 million dividend she walked away with when she left that post.
Probably the most remarkable is the £45m it cost the taxpayer for A4E to place a measly 4,020 people in jobs lasting more than three months.
Despite all this, we are still expected to view Harrison as some latter-day Mother Theresa.
The myth, which she has been happy to perpetuate, is that she was inspired by the plight of redundant steelworkers to set up a company to “improve people’s lives” (in particular, it would appear, hers and those of her family).
The fact is that she took over her father’s company, which subsisted on Government contracts to deliver training to the unemployed, and developed it into a vehicle to bid for any and every Government contract regardless of whether it had any expertise in the area.
I wish her well with her fortune but can only hope we have heard the last of her “passion” to help others.