Bunhill: Hanging up his bookmark

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The Independent Online
SAD to see Sir Simon Hornby hanging up his bookmark. The Old Etonian chairman of W H Smith announced last week that he plans to retire in January, when he will be 59, after 12 years at the helm. The news came just days after the ousting of Terry Maher, his opposite number at Pentos, which operates the rival Dillons and Hatchards bookshops.

Sir Simon's achievements have been many and varied and he happily straddles the worlds of business, design, literature and horticulture. But I must admit the thing I will always remember about him is his extraordinary hair.

Few businessmen bother much with their thatch, accepting baldness or greyness with meek resignation. One rare exception was Robert Maxwell, who was jet black till the day he died.

Sir Simon is another colourful fighter. I've seen his hair the colour of burnished straw, I've seen it bright orange and I've seen it dark brown. There was always an agreeable suspense about a WH Smith presentation or annual general meeting: what colour would it be this time? I sincerely hope that in retirement he won't surrender to dull nature.

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