Deadly Agenda

Date: 11 October 1996                                                                                               Location: Rockwell, Birmingham
Kirk Smallman, the American Chief Executive of Kids Inc. an leading US toy company has just purchased Small World Ltd., a UK toy manufacturer based in the Midlands.  Kirk, accompanied by his son George, has flown over to understand more about his purchase and why things are not going as he had planned.  He has already placed his own Financial Director, Gwen Ames, into the business, but there are issues that Smallman needs to sort out and he is not the sort of man to ask nicely.  He has a reputation of getting what he wants, even if other people’s careers and interests get in the way. He is going to meet the UK board members of Small World for the first time. They are husband and wife Rex and Jennifer Cousins, and their long time friend Victoria Ryan, all of whom are founder members of the company.  Also present will be Charles Xe Hong, the Production Director of the Malaysian unit, Matt Rogers, the Head of Distribution and Repair, Rose Cousins, the Distribution Unit Manager and the hostess for the day, the glamorous, budding thespian and Secretary to Rex Cousins, Juliet Holmes. Will Kirk sort this out, or will he get more that he bargained for?

Meet the Cast

Kirk Hunter Smallman – 58
Kirk Smallman is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kids Inc. He joined Kids Inc in 1955 at the age of 16. His father, Carl Smallman was a founder of the company, who died in 1990. He has large number of shares in the company, which he inherited from his father. He married Amy West in 1969, divorced in 1971, remarried in 1972, divorced in 1973. He lives in Peoria, Illinois USA, which is where Kids Inc is based.  He has one son George, from his first marriage. Although he has visited the UK on several occasions this will be only the second time he has met Rex, Jennifer and Victoria. The last time he met them was at the signing of the contract at the London Offices of Small World’s Solicitors, Beech, Rankle and Butter, in Chancery Lane. It will be the first time he has met Charles Xe Hong; Matt Rogers, Rose Cousins and Juliet Holmes. He was in charge of the negotiations for the take-over of Small World, although Gwen Ames undertook all the earlier investigation work.

Rex Alan Cousins B.Eng – 48
Rex Cousins is the MD of Small World Ltd. He set up the company in 1982 with his wife Jennifer and Vikki Ryan. All three previously worked with Triang. Rex graduated with a Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Manchester University in1971. That year he joined Triang as a graduate apprentice, working his way up to Production Manager. He and Jennifer met when she joined Triang in 1975. They married in 1977 and have no children.

Jennifer Cousins BA – 49
Jennifer Cousins is Company Secretary of Small World Ltd. She set up the company in 1982 with her husband Rex Cousins and Vikki Ryan. All three previously worked with Triang. She is a Chartered Accountant who graduated from the London School of Economics in 1970. She took her articles with a small London firm Ames and Barrett, then, in 1972, joined Arthur Andersen. She left Andersen to join Triang, as a Financial Controller in 1975. There she met Rex. They married in 1977 and have no children.
Vikki Valerie Ryan B.Eng – 45
Vikki Valerie Ryan is Design Director of Small World Ltd. She set up the company in 1982 with Jennifer Cousins and Jennifer’s husband Rex. All three previously worked with Triang. She has designed many of Small World’s products including the latest model, the Minirider tricycle. She graduated in mechanical engineering from Wolverhampton Polytechnic in 1973 and worked there as a demonstrator for two years. She then joined Jaguar as a designer, before leaving to join Triang as a Senior Designer in 1978. She is single.

Juliet Holmes – 27
Secretary to Bob Cousins, Juliet first came to Small World as a temp and joined the permanent staff five years ago. Prior to that she attended the Esther Jones School of drama and dance. She is a keen amateur actress and a member of the Company of Ten, based at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. She has had several small professional parts. She regards work as something that you have to do to live and enable you to act. A year ago Rex granted her 6 month’s unpaid leave so that she could take a West End part.

Gwen Amanda Ames BA – 32
Gwen Ames is the new Financial Director of Small World, placed there by Kids Inc., which means by Kirk Smallman, who is the sole owner of the company. She undertook all the initial investigation work, including the Due Diligence, prior to Kids Inc. buying Small World. She now lives in the Moat House hotel near Birmingham Airport, but previously lived in Peoria, Illinois USA, which is where Kids Inc. is based. She is looking to rent a flat in the area. She graduated from Harvard with a BA in Law in 1989 and joined a Boston Law firm, Jarvis & Daniels.  One of her clients was Kids Inc., whom she joined in 1993 as a legal advisor. She rose rapidly to Senior Legal Advisor and then Vice President, Acquisitions. She married in 1990 and divorced in 1993.

Charles Xe Hong OBE BSc – 42
Charles Xe Hong is Production Director of Small World in Malaysia. He joined the company in 1989, and helped set up the Malaysian Factory. Charles was born in Malaysia, the son of a Malay Prince and British Mother. His mother was the daughter of British settlers who were killed by the Japanese in the Second World War. She and her husband escaped to Malaysia, where they evaded capture and then settled. Charles was born and bought up in Malaysia, but sent to England to study. He went to Winchester School and Kings College Cambridge. He graduated in 1980 in Physics. He returned to Malaysia where he joined GEC as a designer of radios. He switched to Production, at which he excelled. He rose to factory manager before leaving to join Small World. He has long been an activist for proper safety standards for Malay workers. The agreement between Small World and the Malaysian Government, guaranteeing safety standards in exchange for tax concessions, was largely thanks to his efforts. It was his primary reason for joining Small World. The Queen awarded him an OBE for his work in 1994. He and Rex have been friends since 1972, when they met through a mutual friend. They kept in touch even when separated by half the world, taking the opportunities to visit each other and meet up whenever they could. Since joining Small World he has made regular trips to UK on business, but usually finds some extra time to visit Rex. Those he meets generally regard Charles as the best mixture of Eastern and Western culture. He has a passionate desire to improve the working conditions of his fellow Malay people, but at all times showing impeccable manners and acts with a British reserve. Had he not taken the job with Small World, he may well have entered, and been successful in, Malaysian political life. He flew in two days ago and is staying at the Allenbury Manor hotel.

Rose Cousins – 25
Kirsty Rose Cousins is the only child of Rex Cousins and his first wife Rose Edwards.  She is the Distribution Unit Manager of Smallworld Ltd., based in Birmingham.  She joined the company from school at the age of 16 as an apprentice, working her way up through all the jobs in distribution, repair shop, administration and even has an HGV licence. She reports to Matt Rogers.

Matthew Michael Rogers – 34
Matt is Manager of the Distribution and Repair Unit in Birmingham.  He joined Smallworld Ltd as Deputy Manager two years ago from GEC Traction in Birmingham. Prior to his joining Smallworld, the unit had reported directly to Rex Cousins, who ran it remotely from the main factory two miles away. He has been a steady influence in bringing proper management practices to a unit which had previously been typical of a start up company that had grown without the control procedures required when small companies expand.

George Hunter Smallman – 27
George is the son of Kirk Smallman and Amy West.  He is an executive of Kids Inc., but has no specific role.  He has worked there for three years, starting in the warehouse and then moving into various management roles. He travelled over with his father, who said that he would be attending the meeting, but he had to travel economy while his father went first class.