Business week in review

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The Independent Online

In profit...

With Vladimir Putin easing himself into the Russian presidency and Barack Obama surely in stitches that the best candidates the Republicans can muster are an unelectable asset stripper of Mormon faith and a gobsmackingly right-wing fruitcake, what has been the most exciting election of 2012? Surely, the KPMG senior partner/UK chairman tussle that was resolved on Monday.

The big four accountants' almost 600 partners elected Simon Collins, who already held the Fancy Dan title of global head of KPMG's transactions and restructuring group, from a shortlist of three.

The 51-year-old beat better-known rivals Oliver Tant and Alan Buckle and in his victory speech rather curiously said that there were signs of "sunshine and daffodils" from British business. He might want to work on those soundbites.

David Nish gave long-suffering Standard Life shareholders a bit of cheer on Tuesday, unveiling a 6.2 per cent increase in the dividend to 13.8p. This should at least partly make up for a rather disappointing share performance since the insurer floated in 2006, with the stock barely budging from the 230p at which it debuted.

On Thursday, Royal Dutch Shell's annual report revealed that boss Peter Voser's pay more than doubled to €11.6m (£9.6m).

... at a loss

Plain old Fred Goodwin – it always bears repeating that the former Royal Bank of Scotland boss was stripped of his knighthood earlier this year – finds himself in trouble yet again, this time being hit with a £2.4bn legal claim from furious investors.

Goodwin, the former chairman Sir Tom "I've still got a K" McKillop, and the ex-head of its banking division Johnny Cameron all received claims letters on Monday from the RBS Shareholders Action Group, accusing them of misrepresenting RBS's financial circumstances when it launched a £12bn rights issue in April 2008.

The group is backed by 7,400 private shareholders and around 80 institutional investors, including big names such as Deutsche Bank and stockbroker Collins Stewart, which suffered terrible financial losses in the wake of the bank bailouts.

The fallout of the security group G4S's failure to snaffle the Danish group ISS last year in the wake of a shareholder revolt last year continues. The chairman and advisers have gone and on Wednesday the chief executive, Nick Buckles, accepted his punishment: he waived a £750,000 bonus.

On Wednesday night it emerged that Richard Brasher, Tesco's head of UK operations, was quitting, raising questions over the supermarket chain's current strategy.