Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Spy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Spy

Article excerpt

FORGET the CBI, IoD and various trade bodies. The most exclusive business group in Britain is the Tercentenarians Club. As its name implies, members must have been in existence for 300 years or more.

Currently, there are just nine of them and they include C Hoare & Co, the country's oldest bank, founded in 1672, and R Durtnell & Sons, Britain's longest-living building firm, established in 1591.

According to the client newsletter of accountants HW Fisher & Co, the Tercentenarians (the French equivalent is Les Henokiens - after Enoch who, says the Book of Genesis, lived for 365 years - and its members must be at least 200 years old) are mere striplings compared with others elsewhere in the world.

Sweden's Stora, a forestry products company, traces its roots back to 1288 and wine-producer Chateau de Goulaine in the Loire, dates from the year 1000.

Even that looks young when put against the world's oldest: Japan's Kongo Gumi, a construction business created in Osaka in 578. Oldest retailer?

Canada's Hudson Bay Company (1688). Quite why some companies survive for so long, and others fall by the wayside is exercising academic minds. John Davis of Harvard Business School believes there are three factors: trust, pride and money. As they go on, they build up financial and cultural reserves to "maintain the momentum of the business and the spirit of the family".

Rupert Murdoch and all those other dynasty builders, eat your hearts out.

CHARLES ALLEN was entitled to do many takes yesterday. The ITV boss woke up to a slew of newspaper headlines about his new salary package. The Times' headline figure was [pounds sterling]2 million, The Guardian's [pounds sterling]3 million, the Daily Telegraph's [pounds sterling]4 million and The Independent's [pounds sterling]8. …

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