James Ashton - The Independent

James Ashton

James Ashton is Head of Business across the Independent, Independent on Sunday and London Evening Standard.

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James Ashton: 'Absentee landlord' shareholders? No, we're all activists now

Outlook The attention that has been given to making sure shareholders are not the "absentee landlords" that Lord Myners grumbled about in the aftermath of the financial crisis should have made redundant the description of any investor as an activist. It clearly hasn't, as Carl Icahn's move on Apple proves.

James Ashton: Rentokil is still not sprung from its trap

Outlook Whenever Rentokil Initial says it is doing better, I smell a rat. This is a company that has flattered to deceive for as long as I have been writing about it. A glance at yesterday's figures shows that underlying revenues are falling, it is enduring tough times in Europe, and it is trying to put in place a more efficient country-by-country operating model. So what's changed?

James Ashton: Smart-meter plans aren't looking so bright

Outlook The companies queuing up for a slice of work from the Government's grand plan to put a smart energy meter in every home have been waiting for a verdict longer than most homeowners used to have to hang around for the meter reader to knock on their door.

James Ashton: Extra time for Manchester United with latest sponsor

Outlook I suppose the whole point of companies you have never heard of taking out multi-million-pound sponsorships is to raise their profile. So Bulova, which traces its history back to 1875, must hope that becoming Manchester United's official timekeeper will help it shift a few more luxury watches.

James Ashton: Luck and timing drive the fortunes of BBC and the Bank’s new generation

For the life of me last summer I was trying to write something intelligent to link the twin successions that were occupying two of London’s most important institutions.

James Ashton: Greggs can’t build until construction does

The former chief executive of Greggs, Ken McMeikan, used the expression “from barristers to builders” to describe the broad spectrum of customers the sandwich shop serves every week.

James Ashton: L&G can edge out the Qatari capital flow

Given the strategy that is propelling it forward, it is striking to note that Legal & General’s shares this week reached a high not seen since NatWest tried to acquire the company 14 years ago.

Gym bosses warm up for battle over VAT burden

Industry says cutting tax on memberships would improve nation's health, reports James Ashton

James Ashton: Dictating strategy from despatch box won't help Centrica keep the lights on

Outlook Complaints from senior politicians over profiteering, criticisms that bosses treat customers poorly – the predictable reactions to Centrica's results get more and more like those that afflict the Royal Bank of Scotland.

James Ashton: Young high-flyers just want to count beans

Outlook When I was a student, spending more time scribbling for the university newspaper than leafing through great literary works, PricewaterhouseCoopers was a godsend. The accounting firm always placed with us the largest advert of any recruiter to plug its milk-round days, money that shored up The Chronicle's finances on more than one occasion.

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