I rush off to the archives when I hear that Martin Taylor, a Lex columnist with the Financial Times from 1978 to 1982, is to be the new chief executive of Barclays. Alas, there is no excoriating attack on the bank in the faded pink pages. Only a niggle in August 1982 over the bank's 'apparent nonchalance' about Third World debt. Lex (aka Taylor) proved prescient. Over the next decade, Barclays proceeded to lose several billion pounds on bad loans to poor countries.
Taylor tells me his greatest scoop as a Reuters newshound was when he was 10 minutes ahead of the AP-Dow Jones wire service in reporting a cut in French interest rates. 'That was a record.'
He will be able to catch up on a few Fleet Street reminiscences around the Barclays boardroom table. Among his fellow directors are Lord Lawson, a former City editor, and Sir Peter Middleton, who once ran the Treasury's press office.