Business week in review

In profit...

In a week that was truly dominated by the death of Baroness Thatcher, it was a tough time to sell good news. Certainly, she overshadowed one of the men who so adopted the Iron Lady's "can do" attitude.

So, let's give Sir Richard Branson's new domestic airline venture, announced just minutes after the former prime minister's death was confirmed, a plug.

Little Red was created after Virgin Atlantic bought 12 take-off slots at Heathrow last year. BA was forced to cede them after buying bmi. It will fly to Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Manchester.

Auction house Christie's announced plans to open in China to get a slice of the country's $5bn (£3.3bn) art sales. China has imposed restrictions on the market, but chief executive Steven Murphy said the government's permission to allow Christie's to open up in Shanghai was "a major step forward culturally" for the country.

WH Smith's outgoing boss Kate Swann is leaving on a high with its best half-year profit for a decade revealed on Thursday.

...at a loss

The soon-to-be-unknighted Sir James Crosby publicly apologised for the failure of HBOS, one of the most shocking failures of the crisis. On Tuesday, Crosby bowed to the inevitable and agreed he should be stripped of his title having been blasted as "the architect" of the disaster by a committee of MPs.

HBOS was rescued by Lloyds in 2008 – two years after Crosby left the bank, but MPs felt the aggressive expansion policy that brought it down was largely his creation. Crosby said the report made "very chastening reading".

After the announcement, No 10 turned up the pressure on Crosby's successor, Andy Hornby. On Wednesday, a PM's spokesman said Crosby had "done the right thing" and it was "a matter for their consciences" whether others followed suit. This was thought largely to refer to Hornby, who is still eligible for a £240,000 pension from HBOS.

Also on Wednesday, JP Morgan chief Jamie Dimon again apologised for the "London Whale" fiasco that lost the bank $6.2bn (£4bn) last year.

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