Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


A husband who's really worth his weight in gold

Not many women get the chance to buy and sell their husbands. And for a profit, too.

The placing document for Birmingham City Football Club tells the tale: "During the year ended 31 August 1996, Paul Peschisolido, husband of Karren Brady (managing director), was bought and sold by BCFC. On 28 March 1996, he was purchased for pounds 400,000 and sold on 22 July 1996 for pounds 550,000."

Nice business. I wonder, will other wives take up this idea? Might Mary Archer, for instance, consider hiring out author hubby Jeffrey on an hourly rate?

Not all the club's deals have been so successful. The document continues: "BCFC purchased the former residential premises of Karren Brady in November 1995 for pounds 157,000, being the market value at the time. The property was acquired for use by the former team manager and has since been sold at a loss of pounds 4,000."

Better stick to flogging husbands.

Phil Kitchener of K&H Options is celebrating 40 years in the City with a bash for 300 guests tonight at the Merchant Taylors' Hall.

Mr Kitchener, a sprightly 55, left school at 15 to start as an office boy in brokers LA Seligman, now Seligman Harris. He has been dealing in futures and options ever since the things were introduced to this country in 1958.

It's a joint celebration, also marking the sixth anniversary of the launch of Mr Kitchener's business, K&H Options. "I set the firm up with my partner Bob Holt, and now my oldest son Paul works for us," he said. "My other son's in the Securities and Futures Authority."

Despite being a gnat in the global markets, K&H enjoys backing from MeesPierson, itself owned by Dutch behemoth ABN Amro. "This opens a lot of doors and gets us a lot of business," Mr Kitchener said.

So did he have to wear a uniform when he started as a City messenger 40 years ago? "Uniform? We were lucky to get a wage. But I still enjoy the job."

Associated British Ports Holdings has gone outside the company for the first time since it was privatised in 1983 to appoint a new managing director for its ports division, Andrew Smith.

The present incumbent, Alastair Channing, is retiring after around 20 years with the company. ABP runs around 23 per cent of the UK's ports.

Sir Keith Stuart, chairman of ABP Holdings, hints that Mr Smith's international experience with P&O Containers and Inchcape in the Middle East and Far East could prove invaluable if ABP decides to expand overseas: "This is important, since there could be scope for us to use our port management expertise overseas if the opportunities arise."

Mr Smith, 46, was born in Glasgow and educated at Southampton University. His first job was as a deck officer, or cadet, on Clan Line, a merchant shipping line that plied its trade between the UK and South Africa.

He was managing director of Redland's bricks division from 1992 until last year. Now he's swapped bricks for his first love, ships.

As the City holds its breath to see whether NatWest Markets will report better results next Tuesday than the stinker from BZW yesterday, the former announces yet another high-paying appointment. NWM has poached David Buchen from Citibank in New York to be managing director of its global proprietary trading in foreign exchange.

Mr Buchen will be based in the US and will report to Howard Kurz, who was appointed last August as a managing director and head of global foreign exchange.

Using typically transatlantic bizspeak, Mr Kurz welcomed Mr Buchen's appointment: "This is a key hire for NatWest Markets in terms of our ability to leverage further our research and knowledge base." The City will be thinking more about costs bases next week, I think.

John Gummer, Environment Secretary and Minister for London, launched the first strategic planning guidance for the River Thames yesterday at Walbrook Wharf in the City. The wharf transports 59,000 tonnes of waste down the river, and Mr Gummer saw it in operation, including the arrival of a tug and the loading of a barge. Unfortunately he didn't fall in.