A bungle Down Under results in a bit of froth

People & Business: David Kappler
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The Independent Online
Spare a thought for David Kappler, finance director at Cadbury Schweppes. There he was fast asleep in the early hours of yesterday morning, when at around 2 o'clock his phone went. Somehow, Cadbury's annual results had just popped out on the news wires. The figures were due to be announced at 7.30am - how could such a price sensitive announcement have gone wrong?

A Cadbury's spokesperson explains: "It was an overenthusiastic employee in Australia who took the results to the Sydney Stock Exchange and handed them over too early. The man who usually does it was away. It was a pure accident."

The chocolates to fizzy drinks group is listed in Sydney and New York as well as London, and the head office routinely gives its results to its colleagues a few hours in advance. At 7.30am London-time, London phones the others and the figures are revealed. Or so the theory goes.

And is the poor person who prematurely delivered the results still in a job? A Cadbury spokesperson murmured: "I couldn't possibly comment."

You know you thought accountants were boring? Here's incontrovertible proof, if such were needed. Nearly half of the UK's finance directors (49 per cent) take work with them on holiday.

This supremely depressing statistic was compiled by Reed Accountancy Personnel and was published in this week's Accountancy Age, the bean counter's Beano.

One particularly sad FD is quoted in the survey saying: "I enjoy my work and like sitting by the pool with my laptop enjoying the sunshine." Oh, for goodness sake, someone throw his laptop in the pool.

Earlier this year a Reed survey found that 37 per cent of FDs don't take their full yearly allocation of days off.

The latest survey found that 9 per cent of the 200 FDs surveyed always take work on hols, with 17 per cent saying "sometimes" and another 17 per cent saying "not often". Apparently new technology, such as mobile phones and laptops, makes fiddling with spreadsheets that much easier while you're sunning yourself sur la plage.

Some other FD thoughts: "It's a good chance to catch up on things you never get around to doing in your normal working week." Good grief. Pass the Sangria ...

Looking for a job? Deutsche Morgan Grenfell is offering a package "north of a hundred" to candidates for the Number Two UK Spokesman job underneath Marcus Will, spin doctor-in-chief at the investment bank. The previous incumbent, James Murray, took himself off to NM Rothschild recently, and DMG's boss Michael Dobson has commissioned the City head hunters Odgers to find a replacement.

I hear that the search has fallen to Victoria Provis at Odgers, the head hunter who was responsible earlier this year for plucking Terence Collis from the ranks of Lowe Bell Financial to become chief spokesman of NatWest. There's still time to get your CV in - the search has only just started.

These are uneasy times for Ramon Pajares, chief executive at the Savoy, which has suffered a spate of mice sightings recently. The plush hotel owned by Granada may have just gone through a pounds 72m refurbishment, but on Tuesday a correspondent of this very paper was a witness to a rodent escapade.

The occasion was dinner with some high-powered company executives What could be more civilised? Imagine my colleague's surprise, however, as the party sipped drinks outside the famous River Room, only to be confronted by a "a small but well-fed mouse, which scuttled out from some curtains and disappeared into a sea of chair legs in the restaurant".

I'm told the Savoy staff reacted very calmly - which makes one wonder just how regular an occurrence this is.

A spokesman for the Savoy says that "it is very unpleasant but it is not a big problem''.

He says that the Savoy is a large old building, and they do get an occasional sighting of mice. The company recently called in a pest control company to sort the problem out, he says. "We hope the new measures will have [the problem] completely under control very soon." So does my colleague.

While I was writing about John Mayo's defection from Zeneca to GEC this week I mentioned a former colleague of his at investment bank SG Warburg, another chap also called John Mayo, whom I said was a former senior partner of the City law firm Freshfields. The latter was in fact a former senior partner of the City law firm Linklaters & Paines.