Uncle Arthur’s name rises from the dust. Again.
A group of CPAs in France believe there is so much value in the Andersen brand that they have formed a new consulting firm which claims worldwide rights to the name.
The firm will launch in 2016. They will do consulting but no audit or tax work.
Here are their two registered names, according to their website, www.arthurandersen.international:
Arthur Andersen (r)
The New Arthur Andersen (r)
Their website even uses Uncle Arthur’s fabled double doors.
(I didn’t know that dot international was a valid top-level domain, but it is.)
The Financial Times has a few more details: Arthur Andersen rises from the Enron ashes – twice.
A quote from the founder of the new firm implies they have the rights to the name, not Andersen Tax. Maybe they will have to fight it out. I sincerely hope they can do so in private. Maybe they can work something out so they can both use the name.
I exchanged tweets yesterday morning with Francine McKenna, @retheauditors, who pointed me to the article. I rhetorically asked if I was missing something, what with two different groups who think the Andersen reputation is so valuable they both want to use the name. She said
they’re selling to other AA alums who will never give it up
I suppose that makes sense. The number of people in senior-level decision-making positions throughout the finance world who think good ol’ Uncle Arthur was done wrong by the feds is a big group. If you wanted to do so there would be a large and lucrative market if you make that your niche. If that is your audience in the brand is valuable. Having Andersen in your name would be a major competitive advantage in that specific niche.
Here are a few of my previous posts. First few address the return of the name:
- Andersen name returns from the dead. Part 1
- Just a small portion of people who don’t think the Andersen name is mud means there is a huge potential market. Part 2
- More thoughts on the resurrected Andersen brand. Part 3
A few posts explaining why people who were paying attention over the last 25 years or so don’t think the brand name is something to be celebrated:
- To what purpose did Arthur Andersen die? Part 1
- To what purpose did Arthur Andersen die? Part 2
- To what purpose did Arthur Andersen die? Part 3
- On capital punishment of organizations – Arthur Andersen and Penn State – corporate death versus mild sanctions
Want the one sentence answer to the “why capital punishment” question? So they wouldn’t commit any more massive audit failures. As Professor David Albright pointed out, in that respect the prosecution was quite successful. AA has not been involved in any audit failures since then.
Full disclosure: I worked in the Albuquerque office of Arthur Andersen for a year and a half before moving a few blocks to Peat Marwick. Worked there for 3 years. As you have already guessed, I am in the school of those who calculate a negative number when assessing the value of the Andersen brand name. Filter my comments as you wish.