Scuttled: The Sinking of the Palmer Cay
by Ron Collins

"This is a story not of evil wrongdoing, but of runaway egos, greed, and the lack of entrepreneurial skill or knowledge to lead the company forward."

Collins gave some of the best years of his career to Palmer & Cay, a prestigious commercial insurance brokerage firm based in the American South. Dubbed "The Ship" by those closest to it, the 135-year-old company was both successful and highly respected in the industry. When first hired as one of three people in the Atlanta office's benefits division, the author learned that they only had $90,000 in annual revenue on the books. Fifteen years later, through the hard work of his dedicated team, that number had climbed to $10 million, and the group had ballooned to forty-eight staff members. As the division's Senior Vice President and Managing Partner, Collins was in a comfortable and satisfying position. Then, in the span of just two years, The Ship sank.

In Collin's analysis, the first sign of trouble on board the Palmer & Cay came in the form of new, outside leadership at the helm. Other personnel changes soon followed in this captain's wake, and these junior officers, like their skipper, brought with them ways of doing business that were often at odds with the ones that had kept The Ship afloat for over a century. Excessive spending and aggressive expansion combined with poor decision making quickly caused the once sturdy company to flounder.

In a well-written chronicle of events that reads like a novel, the author offers up a candid, no-holds-barred account of Palmer & Cay's dreadful demise. Collins is not afraid to name names nor to place the blame for the company's downfall on the shoulders of those he finds responsible. He maintains a good pace throughout the book with short, well-constructed chapters that explore specific subjects with enough depth to inform the reader but never bog down the narrative. Engaging, insightful, and obviously heartfelt, Collins cautionary tale of corporate collapse is a must-read for business leaders.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home