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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 28 November 2012

FT boss Fairhead steps down

Financial Times boss Rona Fairhead is resigning after 12 years at parent company Pearson. The former finance director was a candidate to replace Dame Marjorie Scardino as chief executive, but that job was handed to international education boss John Fallon. Dame Marjorie's exit has heightened expectations that Pearson will sell the FT.

Severn taps into a price-rise boost

The wet summer sent Severn Trent's water consumption down nearly 3 per cent in the six months to October. The firm said commercial consumption was lower than expected over summer, and household water use was also down. But a 5.2 per cent price rise left turnover up 3.6 per cent at £917.7m. Underlying pre-tax profit fell to £267.2m.

M&B boss praises food strategy

Alistair Darby, the new chief executive of Mitchells & Butlers, has said the pub group needs to "execute better" to improve its sales performance, as it warned of inflationary and regulatory pressures in the year ahead. But the former chief operating officer at rival Marston's said that M&B has the "right" strategy of focusing on food.

Buffett tips Dimon for US Treasury

A re-elected President Barack Obama should pick up the phone to JP Morgan's chief executive, Jamie Dimon, as the best man to lead the US Treasury through a financial crisis, Warren Buffett, the so-called Sage of Omaha, declared yesterday. Mr Obama is looking for a replacement for Tim Geithner, who wants to step down.

Historic order for private jet group

A private jet group for the super-rich that flies out of London City Airport has made a $7.8bn (£4.9bn) order for dozens of new aircraft, the biggest in the history of business aviation. Thomas Flohr, the president founder of VistaJet, claimed that this was an "historic order" for the industry.

Auto Trader ups marketing spend

The car advertising business Auto Trader yesterday dismissed a new online rival from The Sunday Times as "niche", but admitted it should have spent more on marketing in the face of mounting competition. Auto Trader, Britain's biggest car website, has upped annual marketing spend to £15m.

Passport to profits for De La Rue

De La Rue, the banknote printer, enjoyed a 9 per cent rise in underlying, pre-tax profit growth to £31.5m in the first half, mainly thanks to its "solutions" business which makes British passports. De La Rue printed its 10 millionth UK passport during the six months to October.

Chemring flags up tough times

Grenade maker and bomb detector group Chemring has warned that slashed defence spending in the United States, Europe and the UK means next year will be "challenging" after an "extremely disappointing" 2012. In a trading update, it said "operational performance has been weak".

Greencore profits up by a fifth

Convenience food group Greencore has boosted annual profits by a fifth to £42.8m. Revenues jumped 45 per cent to £1.2bn in the year to October. It was boosted by Greencore's acquisition of rival Uniq, which sells desserts, sandwiches and salads to shops.

Topps builds market share

Topps Tiles has boasted market share gains, despite blaming a fall in annual profits on the "stagnating performance of the economy" and a low level of housing transactions. The tile specialist grew its share of the market by 1 per cent to 27 per cent.

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