Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 7.3

Knight after Knight250

In Knight & Deigh, Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended and for which neither was fully prepared.

A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.

Knight after Knight. Chapter seven, part three.

During the weeks that followed, Max and I were in constant contact, either in person or over the phone or Skype. Lindy had made the changes necessary to incorporate our activities into Holy Island Services and set us up with office space and the equipment needed for us to do our job and communicate with the world. He had registered HanMax Consultants as a not-for-profit partnership working in the humanitarian sector and prepared contracts which provided for an honorarium to be paid to the partnership by Holy Island Services that exactly matched the charge to be made on us by his company for rental of the office space and provision of services and support to us. All very tidily done, all well within the various local laws and regulations and, as regional director, well within his authority to arrange without needing Board approval. That’s right, the Board knew nothing about it until Max and I were ready to tell them.

David and Jess had been aware that we were up to something but couldn’t get out of us what it was. Beyond saying that we were working on a project which would involve us relocating to Africa, I told them nothing.

So it was that, when we notified the Board, every one of them was surprised. Jess was well into the first trimester of her pregnancy and back to work full-time, so she was at the meeting, too. After expressing their surprise, all present were most supportive of what we were trying to do, happy that we were doing it under the KGT umbrella, but disappointed at the route we had chosen. As Chief Executive, David summed it up at the meeting.

“This is a good thing you are doing and we support it one hundred per cent,” he said, “However, had you brought the proposal to us in the first place, we could have set your venture up as a profit centre within LJ’s domain, funded it properly and had it operate on a more secure commercial basis. And we are a little disappointed that LJ chose to do it all without running it by us first.”

Max stood and faced David. “Before you go any further, let me explain to you why we chose to set it up the way we did. And I need to come to Mr Aldredge’s defence here, too. In the first place, my original plan was to go out there on my own, fully self-funded, and do whatever I could to help people who, through no fault of their own, are in desperate need of help. My intention was to give myself a purpose in my declining years and to give back to East Africa some of the many benefits that it had given to me over the years. It was only after Hannice’s circumstances changed,” …every head in the room nodded gravely in acknowledgement… “that I considered the possibility of extending and formalising it. All I asked of our regional director was assistance with the registration with the authorities of the project, enterprise, whatever you want to call it, and a few pointers. However, whilst talking to him, we saw the possibility of it becoming, in part, a useful and valuable adjunct to what Knight Investments and Holy Island Services are already doing, at no cost to the business. Hannice and I have no wish to act as employees of the Group in this matter. We are to be independent consultants. That we shall provide advice and support services to clients of the Group is a given, but this will be a cost-free option to them. We shall also provide consultancy services to organisations and enterprises that have no connection with Knight Global and who may be unsympathetic or even antagonistic to what you are trying to achieve in the area. Some may be direct competitors. We cannot do that as KGT employees. We cannot select whom we help on the basis of their relationship with this company.”

“Max,” David replied, “of course, we applaud your intentions and we understand your reasoning. However, the fact remains that my father is the Chairman of Knight Global Trading and as such this seems to introduce a deep conflict of interests. Everything he does, whatever his personal feelings, will be seen as being done by Knight Global Trading, simply because he is our Chairman and majority shareholder—”

“Was,” Hannice said.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Was Chairman of Knight Global Trading.”

“According to all the paperwork, you still are our Chairman.”

“Then we’ll have to change the paperwork, won’t we?”

“You mean…”

“I mean, David, that I am relinquishing my post as Chairman of the Group, effective immediately. As my last act from this chair, I am recommending that the Board elect from its number a new Chairman, and I propose and cast my vote for the Chief Executive, David Knight.”

Before anyone could say anything else, at least four voices shouted, “Seconded.”

“Seconded by Mr Aldredge, Miss Voorwinde and Mrs Russell. So minuted,” Owen said, “Any further nominations?” he paused for a while, “In that case, the minutes will reflect that Mr David Knight was elected unopposed as Chairman of Knight Global Trading.”

I got up from my seat and indicated to David that, as Chairman, he should occupy it. I took my place with Max at the other end of the table.

“Thank you all,” David said, “I think that resolves my father’s conflict of interests, potential or actual.”

The meeting came to a close. Back at home, David looked concerned.

“What’s eating you?” I asked.

“You’re going off to Africa with Max,” he said.

“That’s very observant of you, how did you work that out?”

“Don’t play with me, Dad. Don’t you think it’s a bit soon after, you know?”

“After your mother died? Don’t beat around the bush, David. Say what you mean.”

“I’m worried that you’re acting in haste and possibly disrespecting Mum’s memory.”

“So you’d prefer me to mope around here, vegetating. Is that it?”

“No, but I didn’t expect you to run into the arms of another woman so soon.”

“For God’s sake grow up, David. Firstly, I am not running into anyone’s arms, I am entering into a business arrangement with a long-term, trusted and respected senior colleague and friend. Our relationship will never go beyond what it has been for a lot longer than you have been around. And don’t forget that, for some years before I met your mother, Max was her employer and friend. It was Max who helped her through the death of her first husband, Dave. Max and your mother were as thick as thieves well before we met and have continued to be so ever since.”

“Sorry, dad. I just thought—”

“That’s just the trouble, David. You didn’t think. You just jumped to a conclusion. Now, get on the blower to Joe Green or whoever you’ve got looking after the Group now and get him over here.”

“Joe is still our lead, though he has some of his other people doing most things now.”

“Well, get Joe over here. I know him and I’d trust him with my life.”

“Can I ask what you want him for?”

“I need to sign over my shares to you and Jess. That way, my only link with the business will be my pension.”

“What about—”

“Don’t worry about the rest of my stuff. You’ll get it all when I go, and I’m not planning to get through much of it in East Africa. I can manage very well on my pensions without dipping too much into my assets.”

“That’s not what I was worried about, Dad.”

“Spit it out, then.”

“Well, there’s your health—”

“My health is fine, there’s excellent provision in Dar-es-Salaam and if all else fails, I can fly back, like I did before. What else?”

“What about the baby?”

“If you think I won’t fly back to be here in plenty of time when Jess is ready to deliver, you don’t know me very well. Anything else?”

“No, Dad. I’ll call Joe.”


    • Keith Channing

      Not an uncommon thing for a child to criticise a parent like that, but Hannice is a man of strong principles and needed to nip it in the bud. I do rather tend to agree with you about the Bentley, though.
      Meanwhile, we are promised broadband before the end of the coming week, so I should be able to get back to something like normal soon.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Keith Channing

          We’re getting there, John. The amount of paperwork involved in moving countries is incredible, but the worst thing is that we have no credit rating. Simple things like getting a mobile phone contract or a broadband deal are suddenly very difficult. We have, however, managed to buy a newer car and insure it – the car we brought back is 20 years and 180,000 miles old!

          Liked by 1 person