City Diary

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The Independent Online
CHARLES HENDERSON, the chairman of Totalfina in Britain, has got a new job alongside his role as an oil company boss - avant garde fashion guru.

Here he is pictured with a platform shoe designed by Vivienne Westwood, the doyenne of punk and grande dame of British design.

Totalfina, which is currently in the throes of buying rival oil company Elf Acquitaine, has launched its first ever arts sponsorship, at the Victoria & Albert museum in London. The exhibition of some of the V&A's most striking works will open on 14 October.

WHENEVER THE purchasing managers index (PMI) for the UK is announced the markets have to look out for whether output has gone up or down the odd percentage point. Now Moscow Narodny Bank is taking the brave step of setting up the first ever PMI for Russia since Gorbachev launched perestroika.

Paul Forrest, group economist at the bank, says it has commissioned NTC Research to undertake a monthly poll of 300 Russian manufacturers in order to come up with the Moscow Narodny Purchasing Managers Index.

"There have been no reliable figures on output for around 15 years," says Mr Forrest. "It will take about two years for the market to start trusting our index as a reliable indicator."

MARY JO JACOBI, the rather intimidating American who has been public relations adviser to Sir Willy Purves and his merry men at HSBC for the last nine-odd years, has been appointed a non-executive director at Tate & Lyle.

Before that Ms Jacobi made her name in various high-powered roles in the presidential campaigns of both Ronald Reagan and George Bush. She was also formerly a senior vice president of Drexel Burnham Lambert, the Wall Street junk bond house.

PHILIP YEA, one of the leading architects of the merger between Guinness and GrandMet to create food and drinks giant Diageo, is joining Investcorp as finance director.

Mr Yea spent six years as finance director for Diageo before leaving last May. Before that he worked for Mars, Cope Allman and Perkins Engines.

Mr Yea is joining one of the world's top five private equity institutions, founded in 1982, which is quoted on the Bahrein stock exchange and partly owned by the management.

Over the past 17 years Investcorp has invested around $13bn in companies such as BPC/Watmoughs, Gucci, Welcome break and most recently Zeneca Specialities Chemicals.

Mr Yea started his career as a trainee management accountant at Perkins Engines in 1977, immediately after he'd left Oxford.

"The first time I touched a calculator was my first day at Perkins," Mr Yea recalls with a rush of nostalgia.

He was also one of only two people to start the Guinness merger talks with GrandMet in April 1997, his partner being Sir Anthony Greener, chairman of Guinness. Together they met George Bull, chief executive of GranMet, and one other at a top secret soiree at the Churchill Hotel, Portman Square.

Anyway, now Mr Yea is going to be a member of Investcorp's management committee, and as such will be sniffing out investment opportunities in Europe.