CITY DIARY

Bernd Pischetsrieder, the car-loving chairman of BMW, has fallen foul of the awesome power of his British-made Maclaren F1. Last weekend, the German industrialist, who has a small collection of vintage cars, decided to take one of the British motors, powered by a BMW V12 6.1 litre engine, out for a drive. He was humming alongside Lake Chiemsee in south- east Germany when the vehicle, capable of speeds up to 230mph, left the road in circumstances yet to be explained. One passenger broke an arm but Mr Pischetsrieder and his wife escaped with minor injuries. "Mr Pischetsrieder was back at his desk at 8.00 on Monday morning," reassures the spokesman from BMW.

Maclaren stresses that the accident raises no questions about the safety of the high-performance car. "The car is not just a toy for boys," a spokesman said. "It has been designed in a very radical way and is very useful for tasks like shopping at the supermarket."

The headhunting industry, famous for long lunches, has gained a new business. Hogarth Davies & Lloyd is a new executive search agency run by James Hogarth, former head of capital markets at Yamaichi International, Guy Davies, former director of Kleinwort Benson Securities (Asia) and Nicholas Lloyd, a former lawyer at Yamaichi. The trio claim they were so disappointed by the services offered by headhunters in the past that they decided to set up a company of their own.

The good ol' boys at John Siddall, the Manchester-based broker, have recruited another mature broker to their London trading room. Errol Fuller, 52, was at BZW until 1988 and will be in a room where the average age is approaching 53. "There's nothing the people in this room have not seen," he said.

The latest gem from those masters of marketing is the Benetton pager. Billed as this summer's most desirable accessory, the low-cost pager is being launched today in conjunction with BT and Motorola. Included in its number-only services is a code book that allows those in the know to send special coded messages to the pager-holder. 107 means "come back" and 221 means "why have you not called?" More controversial are the love messages. 618 means "you were incredible" while, for those less talented lovers, the code 608 means "piss off".

Retirement is looking pretty sweet for Peter Duffy, the fund manager at Henderson Touche Remnant. The property specialist, whose career has included spells working with the Red Army and the Daily Telegraph, is quitting his job to take up a string of directorships at property companies including German City Estates, which is connected to Peter Beckwith, and Malcolm Barber's Capital & Regional. He is also looking at doing a little property development of his own around his second home at Le Vignan near Montpellier.

Money should not be a problem. His wife, Antonia Byatt, is one of the country's most popular novelists and a Booker Prize winner. Recently the couple jetted to Cannes to watch the press screening of Angels and Insects, a film based on her book. Mr Duffy was given a chance to meet Patsy Kensit (left), who stars in the film. "I enjoyed the meeting tremendously," the 58-year old fund manager gushes. "She is a very talented woman."

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