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Angus McDowell 1946-2013
"Angus McDowell" when enunciated by Angus was a clear statement as to where he came from.
And when asked if he was Scottish the twinkle in his eyes told the spectator that something witty was to follow. And follow it did.
There are so many stories to tell about this colorful Brit who made the US his home for around 40 years. From his time at Columbia University where he made friends with so many fellow students to the time we traveled the Baltic Sea in '92 to witness what the other system (without CPAs) had "achieved" since WWII and to his house hunting days.
We first met at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan in 1988 attending a Christmas ball. A fun evening it was and in many ways the fun never stopped for the next 25 years. During his many years of operating his business in Prague it was standard operating procedure after arriving at a New York airport for Angus to call us on the way into Manhattan and for us to enjoy a welcome home dinner and/or drinks. There were stories to tell and new knowledge to exchange. There never was a dull moment.
In the early 90s a bunch of friends started The Third Club. It was a men's social club that met in Manhattan on the first Wednesday of every month. We were all involved in various businesses and enjoyed getting together for dinner and brews. Angus' cup of tea!
This was also at the time that Angus would "hold court" in his apartment by frequently inviting a variety of friends for drinks. The apartment was often filled to the brim, many languages were spoken, and a good time was had by all. Nobody knew how to do this better than Angus.
As has been pointed out so often that Angus loved everything Danish and especially the food. Back in the 50s Angus' father was posted to Copenhagen as an accountant for one of "the big five" accounting firms. Angus did not attend school there but as he always maintained: "I learned Danish in the streets!". It wasn't until his early teens that he was sent to boarding school in the UK. It looks to me that he caught up quickly! What was remarkable was that he kept his Danish language current. It actually irritated him if he had to switch to English in the middle of us talking Danish together - and why didn't I know what the British equivalent to the American word was? With our frequent visits to Denmark, IKEA, and the Danish Church in NY we never lacked Danish smørrebrød that went down quite easily with a variety of, often Danish, beverages.
Angus loved CPA work and reluctantly attended the many required courses offered. As he often pointed out, the new rules and regulations were ridiculous, however, it would keep him busy and drive up his clients' cost of doing business.
For more than 30 years Angus resided in the Churchill building but he really wanted to get a house somewhere within a couple of hours of Manhattan. Over the past six years or so Angus looked, researched, made offers, and repeated it over and over again and it seemed to never end. Of course it all started when he bought his first Mini Cooper. It was a big change in his life and in our relationship as we were able to meet in the country and enjoy many rides together (looking at houses!).
Angus had the admirable ability to attract so many people from many walks of life. The ripple effect was seen everywhere. Why such a rich life had to be cut short we will never understand and accept.
May the world be populated by more people like Angus or Goose as I endearingly called him.
We will miss you forever.
Bjarne "BJ" Mikkelsen
Extracts from this week´s Danish export to US - Nov 8
We have selected a couple of business items from this week’s news. Enjoy!
Danish companies in the US
Paradis Group opened its headquarter in Los Angeles only a few months ago, but is already determined to take a larger bite of the global ice cream market. The ambition is to increase the number of American franchise stores from three to about 20-25 within the next two years.
Denmark is the top spot to do business in Europe
Denmark maintains its position as the leading European country when it comes to providing favorable conditions for the private sector. This is the third straight year that Denmark claims the top spot.
Connecting the leaders of tomorrow with the leaders of today
The lucky lone ranger - no leadership preparation before entering the US market
Epic stories of wanting to conquer the US have been told by generations. The variables for how to be successful in the US cannot be easily distilled. Many adventures have turned into huge successes and others became very public failures.
We are interested in understanding the leadership challenges and opportunities Danish companies face in the US; how they prepare their leaders and managers to enter the US market and how they continue to develop them to grow their business.
We sent out a survey to more than 200 companies followed up by several interviews. The survey respondents cover a large spectrum of industries from shipping to banking, pharmaceuticals and furniture to fashion and food.
The lucky lone ranger
Surprisingly 77% of leaders taking up an assignment in the US had received little or no training or coaching prior to coming to the US. This trend continues throughout the assignment and Danish leaders in the US receive significant less leadership development than their colleagues in Denmark. It was put this way by an executive; “The company does not spend money on leadership development in the US, but they do in Europe.”