James Ashton

Head of Business at London Evening Standard, The Independent, Independent on Sunday, i

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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.

James Ashton: No wonder Tony Hayward doesn't want to stay on

Outlook Now his business is concentrated about as far from Britain as you can get, Tony Hayward is ideally placed to comment on our looming energy crisis. A manifesto published by the former BP boss the other day urged the Government not to turn its back on fossil fuels, to build our own nuclear power stations instead of hoping the French will do it for us and to slash subsidies for on and offshore windpower. Sounds easy.

James Ashton: One more mountain to climb, Sir Nigel?

Outlook Eyebrows were raised four years ago when Sir Nigel Rudd took the chair at Invensys, the industrial controls group that agreed to be sold yesterday to Schneider Electric of France. It was too small, too dull and probably didn't have much of an independent future. All that remains true today, except by repairing its finances and plugging its pension deficit, Sir Nigel and his chief executive Wayne Edmunds have made it saleable.

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