KEVIN McNeany, the cuddly face of capitalism, braved a sceptical audience of those public service types who occasionally feel just a little threatened by Kevin's company, Nord Anglia, and its ever-expanding work in the state sector.
Education's first millionaire, who has taken his first steps into local authorities by taking over services at Hackney, joined a panel in Manchester at a conference organised by the British Education Management Administration Society (stop yawning at the back). He didn't exactly get roughed over (you don't get that sort in BEMAS), but he did get some close questioning from the assorted heads, academics and researchers.
Just how, for example, did he propose to make a profit - the word apparently uttered by delegates as if it left a nasty taste in their mouths - without doing anything dastardly such as driving down wages?
With that impish grin of his, Kevin said simply: "That's for me to know and you to find out."
He did, however, admit, with a quick look over his shoulder ("I don't want to panic my shareholders") that Nord Anglia hasn't made a single penny from the state sector - yet. Nor could he see how anyone could make the fortune predicted by some.
"We do intend to make a profit eventually but it is unlikely to be huge," he said. Very reassuring.