CITY DIARY

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The Independent Online
Lucy Roberts

The oft-quoted chief economist at Midland Bank, 43-year-old Roger Bootle, is to join those rare people who dabble in the City as well as the academic world. Bootle has been appointed visiting professor at Manchester Business School.

With a string of economic feathers in his hat as deputy head of economic policy at the CBI, chief economist at the stockbroker Capel-Cure Myers and chief economist at Lloyds Merchant Bank, Mr Bootle is not your average book-eating jargon-peppered economist, more of a savvy media man. Not only does he write books and have experience as a dealer at Citibank's London treasury, he is also apt to pop up on TV and radio. The latest addition to Mr Bootle's duties, however, will no doubt have heads swivelling to see if HSBC might at last merge its two economics teams - that of James Capel with Midland's. Who would then wear the economist's crown? Keith Skeoch, who heads Capel's team, or Mr Bootle at Midland?

It was more than just a sink-or-swim day for Marks & Spencer's chairman, Sir Richard Greenbury, on Monday. He had to contend with both media scrutiny of his report on directors' pay and the embarrassment of stocking a swimsuit not unlike that of another fashion designer, Liza Bruce, the queen of cling.

Having coped with the press without losing his temper, Sir Richard managed to dodge one photo opportunity. A woman decked out in nothing but a familiar swimsuit was poised to catch him as he emerged from his press conference so the press could snap them together. The shot, however, was not to be. Sir Richard gave them the slip.

While the Greenbury report gets to the heart of the hard stuff, the money, there is still another business buzzword to deal with: ethics.

John Lindsay of Hebden Lindsay and John Drummond of Integrity Works have launched the first business ethics video to help executives come to terms with ethical issues and how to define ethics for their own company.

Mr Lindsay's own definition of good ethics at work is "a decision you can take home to your family". So next time the remuneration committee meets around the kitchen table, you will know why.

Only Bournemouth University, it seems, is brave enough to run a BA honours degree in taxation. In recognition of this, the Chartered Institute of Taxation has decided to reward this pioneering spirit by donating a medal to be presented to the best student.

The medal will naturally become a must for all tax high-flyers because if everyone works out how the latest tax self-assessment scheme works and dispenses with the need for advice, the medal could come in handy if cashed in.

Good communication is often linked to proximity - something which Fisons, the drugs company, has just discovered. After failing to communicate with its pharmaceuticals rival Medeva, Fisons is to quit its Ipswich headquarters of 150 years and relocate to Broad Street in the City of London. Lease signing was completed last night in the hope that around 90 staff will be able to move in by November. The move, a source says, is intended "to get people to communicate with one another".

A spot of research and development might have helped it come to this conclusion earlier, but that can be difficult when you divest yourself of your R&D arm, which Fisons did earlier this year.

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