Telling tales in the City

In appointing John Barnsley managing partner, the UK firm of Price Waterhouse has created a notable double act that should work in more ways than one. As Mr Barnsley says, the creation of the role is intended to allow the senior partner, Ian Brindle, "more time to concentrate on our clients, on the increasing Europeanisation of our markets, and on the external representation of Price Waterhouse on official bodies". He, meanwhile, will ensure the firm's structures are properly focused on clients, markets and products.

The two men also complement each other in the social arena. While Mr Brindle goes in for repartee, the other "Mr B" has more of a penchant for the tall tale. These usually hark back to the days when huge negligence suits were a nightmare yet to be invented, audits involved long, dull days of counting - only rarely with the aid of an adding machine - and the business world was inhabited by characters who stretched credulity. Now 46, and a tax specialist for nearly 20 years, he admits to finding DTI inspectors' reports entertaining bedtime reading.

Raised in the North-east, he left Newcastle University with a first in law and joined PW's office in the City in 1970. Although a member of the firm's European management board, he still finds the time to be a non-executive director of the Tyne & Wear Urban Development Corporation and chairman of the Special Trustees of the Newcastle Hospitals.