Ashridge Business School hopes ‘strategic alliance’ will put end to fears about its deficit

Ashridge House
Ashridge House

Ashridge Business School will merge with another organisation after recently recording its first ever operating deficit.

Records submitted to the Charities Commission show that its income amounted to £32,738,000 but expenditure was £34,207,000 in the year ending December 31, 2012.

The school recorded a £665,000 operating deficit in that period.

A report explaining that year’s figures says: “The global market for executive education tightened considerably and has yet to recover.”

Perhaps more worryingly, its pension deficit rose sharply from £23,810,000 in 2011 to £29,687,000 at the end of 2012.

The school is also responsible for the costly maintenance of the Grade I-listed Ashridge House in which it is based, and the property’s Grade II-listed gardens.

The year 2012 saw the school having to shell out for costly repairs after wind, rain and nesting bees caused part of a wall of Ashridge House to crumble

Ashridge chief executive officer Kai Peters told the Financial Times that business has been booming since last August at the school thanks to growing demand for its short courses. Its 2013 accounts have yet to be published.

The Ashridge institution has now entered into a ‘strategic alliance’ with American education provider, the Hult International Business School.

In the short term, the two organisations will be collaborating closely and in the longer term, the aim is to merge the top management across the two organisations.

The vision is to create the world’s most relevant business school for employers. The two will remain as separate entities – with their own brands, programmes and management – for the foreseeable future.

Mr Peters said: “The alliance brings together complementary organisations, both of which are run by business people for business people.

“We share a philosophy that learning has to be informed by the realities of business, as well as the theory.”