Zouches is the name that Rob Krane gave to his company that was specially created to manage all of the businesses from Burak Demir’s vast international network. However, the businesses would only transfer into Zouches, once all of the criminal activities that flowed through them had been expunged.
Rob had been very concerned that so many businesses could be closed down as part of the crackdown on Burak’s criminal empire. In many cases, a lot of people would also lose their jobs through no fault of their own, because Burak often channelled criminal activities though businesses with a legitimate side to their operations. In some instances, no one knew that their business was being used in that way. In other circumstances, only a few people were involved with the criminality. In Rob’s opinion, therefore, to close those businesses would be unjust. Zouches’ objectives, therefore, were to protect employment and support those businesses transferring in, assisting them to replace revenues lost through the removal of criminal flows of business and ensure that communities were not adversely impacted.
The wealth generated by Zouches would not become Rob’s personal fortune. Instead, after reinvesting in the businesses, Zouches had to cover a large proportion of the cost of dismantling Burak’s criminal network.
The model Rob adopted was akin to private equity companies that own many businesses, supporting and restructuring them to create value and long-term success. Some of the key people assisting Rob to achieve this are noted below.
Sir William Shields (54) – Special Advisor and Chairman
- Sir William was introduced to Rob by MI5 as someone MI5 wanted involved to both provide guidance as well watch over proceedings, akin to a non-executive director.
- A former CEO of two medium sized international companies (one in real estate, one in logistics) brought in as a turn around specialist. He was very successful leaving both companies in capable hands upon his departure and both companies continue to thrive. He had worked up to those positions as a group strategist at a major conglomerate before becoming the head of sizeable operational divisions at that same organisation. Sir William started working life at a highly reputable consultancy.
Timothy Havering (49) – CEO
- Prior to Zouches, Timothy’s career was in international banking, most recently with Rothschilds. Now living in London for family reasons, he has also lived in Hong Kong, Frankfurt, Geneva and Mexico City. He is multilingual.
- Known to a senior lawyer at MI5, Jed Milligan, through many business deals conducted together before either became involved with the intelligence services. Timothy consequently became known to Steven Gurning having undertaken numerous highly successful financial advisory roles for MI5 as a part of their operations.
- Having frequently expressed an interest in becoming more involved, Steven Gurning leaped at the opportunity to introduce him to Rob when Rob established Zouches.
Karen Ayles (47) – CFO
- Karen was introduced to Rob while still the CFO of a Government quango that was in the process of being wound down having achieved and exceeded the objectives set. Karen was highly regarded throughout Whitehall as a consequence.
- Karen’s background included a variety of finance roles across multiple business sectors, including CFO and Finance Director positions. She has been frequently hailed as a role model for women in industry, demonstrating women’s equality with men.
Julian Smith (31) – COO
- A trusted friend of Rob’s from university days, Julian had risen to Chief Operating Officer at a professional services and consultancy firm with offices throughout Europe. Being a small organisation of 400 staff, Julian proved his worth as the central project manager for a number of corporate acquisitions as the firm expanded its reach. Julian then successfully led the subsequent integration of each acquisition, driving the required synergies in each case.
- When presented with Zouches’ remit, Julian leaped at the opportunity to be involved.
Huw Thomas (38) – Corporate Lawyer and Head of Legal
- Huw became a personal friend to Rob during the years when they worked together at the bank where Rob used to be an operations manager.
- A very sharp corporate lawyer, Huw had risen to deputy-head of the legal team for EMEA. However, like Rob, had become disillusioned with senior management at the time. With no real prospects of advancement where he was, Huw wanted a change and was quick to accept the opportunity to join Rob.
Khalid Shalabi (46) – Asset Manager
- A Qatari national from a wealthy family.
- Prior to joining Zouches, Khalid had worked for a Qatari bank, moving between London and Geneva.
- Khalid met Rob through a number of merger and acquisition transactions over the years, both on the opposing and the same sides for different transactions.
- Mature in all aspects of age, mannerisms and appearance, to relate to the older generations, whilst having an apparent inexhaustible supply of energy to keep up with those half his age. While not religious, he was brought up to adhere to his parents’ beliefs and is utterly respectful of the cultural and religious aspects of his and others heritage and cultures.
- While Khalid’s background was one of privilege, Rob was sure that his friendly, easy demeanour could comfortably establish the essential trust with the businesses and communities that Zouches was to become involved with. Moving and legitimising businesses after their involvement within Burak Demir’s criminal network would be a challenging task, having to overcome a resultant, natural resistance to working hand in glove with the authorities.
Yves Aussourd (33) – Asset Manager
- A Swiss national from Geneva living in London, known to Rob through the banking world.
- The son of a diplomat, Yves was brought up in the US before travelling extensively, firstly with his family because his father held numerous foreign assignments before returning to New York for a posting at the United Nations.
- Multilingual with excellent networks globally thanks to his natural ability to relate to people.
- Prior to Zouches, Yves worked for four years at a niche private wealth firm focused on the ultra high net worth sector. Whilst fun and interesting, that job did not provide adequate stretch, so relished the opportunity that Zouches presented.
All names and characters are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is unintended and entirely coincidental.