Business week in review


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The Independent Online

In profit ...

After months of feverish speculation, one of the City's most respected female bosses finally snaffled a big new job on Monday.

Former WH Smith chief executive Kate Swann, has taken on the top job at travel concession giant SSP, which has a turnover of £1.7bn.

Another City figure welcomed to a big new role was Ben van Beurden, named chief executive at Shell on Tuesday. Van Beurden was a surprise appointment, but he has been with the oil giant for three decades.

Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts hailed a "standout" spring/summer season after producing forecast-busting first-quarter sales of £339m on Wednesday.

... at a loss

On Wednesday, the news posties had been dreading arrived: the privatisation of the Royal Mail was confirmed.

Bill Hayes, the general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, warned that strikes were "inevitable" and that the sell-off would "destroy postal services".

On the same day, Charles Wilson, the boss of cash-and-carry group Booker, outlined the huge impact the display ban on tobacco has had on its Makro business, where like-for-like sales were down six per cent in the three months to June.

Ashmore's Mark Coombs said on Thursday uncertainty over the Fed's money-printing programme hit the fund manager in the second quarter.