Business week in review

In profit...

Here come the girls! The glass ceiling is cracking, rather than shattering, but if the number of women appointed to big jobs on Monday is repeated every week maybe we'll no longer have to comment on their gender.

First up, a shareholder coup at haulier Stobart Group saw Avril Palmer-Baunack take, ho-ho, the wheel as chairman, moving across from boss at logistics company Autologic which Stobart bought last year.

Invesco Perpetual fund managers are said to have led the coup, which came a week after a profit warning. Two non-executive directors, including veteran chairman Rodney Baker-Bates, resigned.

Then, Christine Tacon became the first Groceries Code Adjudicator, giving the former Co-operative Farms' boss the power to stop supermarkets if she thinks they are bullying suppliers. "I have experienced a reasonable number of abuses supplying retailers," Tacon was quoted as saying. So she's unlikely to accept any excuses from the big grocers.

To retain some sex balance, on Tuesday, ex-M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose was named Ocado chairman.

...at a loss

How do you follow Dame Marjorie Scardino? John Fallon, the new boss of Pearson, owner of the Financial Times and Penguin books, seems to have decided the best tactic is to downplay expectations, cutting its profit forecast for the first time in ages.

On Monday, Fallon, who first joined Pearson as communications director in 1997, thus inspiring all ambitious City spinners, said earnings per share would be 84p. That's just 1p less than his illustrious predecessor's forecast in October, but enough to see stock fall 4 per cent after the announcement.

Flybe's head, Jim French, confirmed the airline had hit turbulence on Wednesday when he warned 300 jobs would be axed to save £35m. Flybe nose-dived to a £1.3m loss in the six months to 30 January, down from a £14.3m profit a year ago.

Peter Hickson, bullet-maker Chemring's chairman, announced a full-year pre-tax profit of £18.8m, a 78 per cent slump.

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