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British Aerospace may be merging its missile business with France's Aerospatiale Matra and and Italy's Finmeccanica, but the press launch yesterday was anything but missile-like.

British Aerospace may be merging its missile business with France's Aerospatiale Matra and and Italy's Finmeccanica, but the press launch yesterday was anything but missile-like.

Alberto Lina , chief executive of Finmeccanica, flew in from Italy to RAF Northolt but missed the London press conference completely when he got stuck in traffic. The solution? Get the Continentals to take over our roads. Railways also.

Some people might be offended if you called them a "geek". Not Kevin O'Connor , managing director of commercial banking applied technology at Deutsche Bank.

This week's issue of Computer Weekly reports on a recent City IT directors' forum when Mr O'Connor said: "I know it is an unfashionable statement, but most people on my team work for me because I am a geek."

"Geeks like working for geeks. Geeks don't like working for accountants. They don't like working for project managers. They are suspicious of management. In fact, they are suspicious of most things. What they relish is technology and other geeks. "

Glad to have got that out of the way. Mr O'Connor adds his views on promotion: "Some geeks are good geeks and they want to remain geeks.If you are a geek and you can't make more than a limited amount of money, you are in the wrong place."

Mr Uber-Geek concludes: "Some people are seriously nerdy and it is in the company's interest that they remain nerdy. So you have to treat them nicely. Don't make them managers because they'll probably be lousy managers."

Incidentally, what is the German for "geek"?

Still on matters Teutonic, Mannesman, the company which set to gobble up Orange, is also about to deliver a single tank to Turkey in an attempt to win an $8bn order for 1,000 armoured fighting vehicles.

Mannesman owns 49 per cent of Krauss Maffei Wegmann, the engineering company based in Munich which builds the mighty Leopard II tank.

Robin Cook and the rest of the UK Government can comfort themselves that they're not alone in having trouble pursuing an "ethical" foreign policy. Germany's greens are appalled that the tanks may be used against Turkey's Kurdish population.

The decision to supply the "taster tank" has split the German government, pitting Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping and Economy Minister Werner Müller against Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Overseas Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul .

Perhaps we're more like our Continental counterparts than we thought.

Credit Lyonnais' London office jettisoned four foreign exchange operatives yesterday, but the French bank was quick to quash City gossip that it is switching its forex operations to Paris.

A spokesman said: "The job losses were in response to changes in market demand. Graham Whitehair, CL's global head of forex, is based in London and will continue to be so."

Scottish Provident is running an ad campaign in the financial adviser press featuring five pictures of David Bowie in successive periods of his multi-image career; the Sixties "David Jones" phase, the early Seventies "Ziggy Stardust", the late Seventies "Thin White Duke", the Eighties "Tin Machine" era and finally the rather sad-looking Nineties Internet-head.

Scottish Provident's slogan for its life assurance products reads: "If people stayed the same, they wouldn't need a protection plan that can be changed after its written."

All well and good, until you read further: "David Bowie in no way endorses Scottish Provident or its products."

Does Mr Bowie know something about Scottish Provident we don't? Or is he just Alladin Sane?

Germany Part Three: Bayer, Germany's second-largest drugmaker, has named a Brit to head its worldwide pharmaceutical operations.

David Ebsworth is a 45-year-old Englishman who currently leads Bayer's US drugs division in Connecticut. He replaces Horst Meyer, 57, who retired in the spring.

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