CITY DIARY

Bill Rooney, the former chairman of the kitchen and bathroom outfit Spring Ram, and now chairman of the shower fittings group Atreus, appears to be settling into his new company. Reporting losses yesterday, Mr Rooney announced a name change to the Senate Group and also a spot of reorganisation.

The results for the year to March bear only 13 weeks of Rooney management style, but this will not stop City watchers wondering whether his new venture will be flushed with success - or down the pan.

Mr Rooney has harsh experience of the bathroom and kitchen business: sales at Spring Ram roared from pounds 7.6m in 1983 to pounds 194m in 1991 but collapsed shortly afterwards. Even Mr Rooney's famed management style, based on the "magic bean" theory - feeding jelly beans to his management at regular intervals - was not enough to save him, and he was duly ousted. Shares in Atreus rose 44 per cent on his arrival to 12.5 pence but were down to 10.5 pence last night. All eyes are on those jelly beans.

Economists in the City with their sights set on strategic thinking should take note of Richard O'Brien's latest move.

The author of The End of Geography has departed from his former job as chief economist at American Express Bank and will now join the US consultancy Global Business Network, which specialises in predicting future trends.

The Network was formed in 1987 by Peter Schwartz, an early Internet fan who is now on the board of the ironic cult magazine Wired. It is building up its European operations.

Mr O'Brien's spotting skills have served him well. Having noted the globalisation trend before it became a cliche, he has obviously spied a good opportunity to surf from a contracting industry on to the wave of the future.

Trading in share options and the issue of directors' pay keeps corporate lawyers busy sharpening their pencils.

Interesting to note then that David Jackson, company secretary and director of legal services at PowerGen, will speak at a conference on compliance with Stock Exchange rules.

Mr Jackson's talk on "the constant challenges of the company secretary" precedes a role play session entitled "some of the more tricky aspects of the model code on directors' share dealings and related issues surrounding price-sensitive and financial information". It is not yet known if Mr Jackson will attend the session.

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