CITY DIARY

Sighs of relief all round at headhunters as the prospect of finding a new job for John Major evaporated. Most were hard-pressed to come up with an alternative. He has made much of his early career in banking but the sector has moved on since his days at Standard Chartered.

Mr Major is thought by Frances Cook at Sanders & Sidney to be held back by his lack of a degree from an old university and other networking attributes.

"It all depends on how much money he needs," said Hilary Sears of Korn Ferry/Carre Orban. Perhaps a charity might be the best place for his talents. Heading the Lord's Taverners could provide the perfect opportunity to combine fund-raising with his famous love of cricket.

The Saudi investor Prince al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul-Aziz is said to be keen to add Canary Wharf to his Kingdom Investments portfolio.

One wonders how he will fare against the rival bid involving the original developers, the Reichman brothers.

The Reichmans' fortunes rose when Margaret Thatcher was PM. The brothers' office was a stone's throw from Number 10. And while they liked to make tea for their guests, flourishing the pot themselves, they preferred to pop round the corner to share a cup with the Iron Lady herself.

Happy family could well be a misnomer at Saatchi & Saatchi. Jennifer Laing, chairman, will throw a party for the Saatchi "extended family" to celebrate the agency's 25th anniversary in September, as advertised in this week's Campaign magazine.

The party, billed as the "biggest ever", will take place at the agency's Charlotte Street offices. Anyone who has ever worked there is invited to phone for tickets. So will Maurice and Charles show? "Of course they would be welcome," said Laing through what sounded like gritted teeth, while a dose of tongue in cheek could be detected in the small print at the bottom of the invitation: Will the agency ever recover?

After you, Sir, was the reaction to a call for volunteers to front the publication of Sir Richard Greenbury's report on executive pay on 17 July.

Much discussion on the committee as to whether Sir Richard, known as a straight talker and abrasive with it, should give way to someone more smooth-tongued on the day.

There was alarm at the risk of Sir Richard flying off the handle under aggressive questioning about executive greed.

Committee members Tim Melville Ross, the super-smooth director-general of the Institute of Directors, and Sir Iain Vallance of BT were among those canvassed as stand-ins, but the excuses came thick and fast.

If this report fails to meet its high political expectations, the hot seat may not be too comfortable on the day. But the committee was determined: Sir Richard must occupy it himself.

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