Business week in review

In profit...

So, axe 5,000 jobs and pocket £3.7m. Nice work if you can get it. Pascal Soirot plays the role of the rich axe-man at drugmaker AstraZeneca, where he is chief executive. It emerged on Monday that he got those millions for just three months' work, which is about £40,000 a day at a time when the pharmaceuticals giant is trying to save money.

Soirot has announced closures at a string of Astra sites, including a major R&D facility in Alderley Park, Cheshire. On top of his base salary of 1.1m, he received compensation for bonuses lost when he left rival Roche for Astra.

Dame Clara Furse was unveiled as a member of the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee last Tuesday. The former head of the London Stock Exchange will be joining a committee that will oversee the UK's financial system from next week.

The FPC was set up as part of sweeping regulatory reforms in the wake of the financial crisis.

Lloyd's of London, the world's biggest insurance market that was founded in 1678, announced it was back in the black on Wednesday after a lossmaking 2011. Boss Richard Ward acclaimed the "strong results".

...at a loss

Monday was tough for men looking for love, as Cupid chief executive Bill Dobbie was forced to defend the dating website against allegations that not all of its users may be genuine.

The BBC claimed that men were encouraged to sign up to the site after receiving fake responses from women agreeing to a drink or dinner. The report also alleged that the fake profiles were created by Cupid staff.

Dobbie said he was taking legal advice over a "great deal of misrepresentation and ill-informed speculation". Directors said their investigations found no evidence to support the claims.

A retailer blaming the weather for poor results? Yes, it's true: high street chains continue to roll-out this excuse for falling profit. Ian Cheshire, the boss at B&Q-owner Kingfisher, said on Tuesday that "depressing wintry weather" had hurt the DIY chain, as sales of barbeques and garden furniture plummeted.

Tidjane Thiam may be considered one of the UK's top bosses, but the Prudential chief executive was licking his wounds on Wednesday after being censured by the Financial Services Authority for misconduct over the failed takeover of AIA in 2010.

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