Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Spy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Spy

Article excerpt

JOBS for the (not so young) boys. Another nail is driven into the coffin that is improved corporate governance with the news that Sir John Egan is to chair Severn Trent, the water and waste group. Not only is Egan almost 65 but he also chairs another major company, Inchcape. Higgs, Egan's defenders will point out, specifies that the same person shouldn't chair more than one FTSE 100 company and Inchcape isn't in that list, so he's all right.

It's a mystery as to how this definition has been allowed to seep into the business consciousness - possibly by the same people who think it fine for a minority to take all the best jobs - as it's quite wrong.

Higgs says one person shouldn't chair the board of more than one major company. In which case Inchcape, the international car distributor, must surely qualify (indeed, it's hard to imagine someone such as Egan deigning to chair something that is not "major"). As the most-recent past president of the CBI, you might be forgiven for thinking he'd lead by example. Or maybe that's the point: he is, and Higgs was a complete waste of time.

BERNIE ECCLESTONE is short of stature but not of chutzpah. In a newspaper interview, the Formula One boss nominates three character referees: Nelson Mandela, Silvio Berlusconi and Pele. He then adds: "If you can get hold of them..."

AS the gloves well and truly come off in the Stuart Rose/Philip Green struggle, with the latter raising his offer for M&S, other issues haven't gone away. We'd still like to know, for instance, what was said between the two men on 7 May, straight after which Rose (who wasn't even in his office or at home at the time, but in Folkestone of all places) got on the phone to his broker and bought 100,000 shares. A reader has suggested Stuart might like to furnish us with his trading pattern so we can establish if he was in the habit of making such calls and purchasing such large amounts. …

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