CITY DIARY

Elizabeth Vallance, the wife of BT chairman Sir Iain Vallance, who has just published Business Ethics at Work, maintains that business ethics is not a passing fad "like muesli and jogging". Inspiration came from the likes of Sir Adrian Cadbury and Sir Jeremy Morse.

The tome, geared to students of business rather than students of philosophy, contains more than the passing influence of her husband.

She says that Sir Iain "read most of the text as it came hot off the word processor and eliminated some of my lapses in logic in discussing many of the issues with his usual robustness and clarity".

Acquisitive merchant bank, Singer & Friedlander, has added Steven Dotsch, formerly assistant director at Hill Samuel, to its corporate finance department as an assistant director to advise other companies on acquisitions.

S&F should know about acquisitions, having made quite a few of its own. There was Collins Stewart in 1991, insurance broker Edgar Hamilton Group in 1993 and international stockbrokers Carnegie Holding in 1994.

Better-than-expected interims reported yesterday will have Guardian's latest non-executive recruit, Sir Colin Chandler of Vickers, in good cheer.

Royal Insurance, to report next week, may not be recruiting any non-execs but it is not to be outdone on wheeling out the big guns. US CEO Bob Mendelsohn will be attending the analysts' meeting. Cue upbeat statement.

From booze to bananas for Mark Pullen of Guinness, who moves over to join fresh foods company Geest as finance director from October.

Current chaos in the banana market will mean Pullen needs all the pure genius he picked up during 11 years as finance director and business strategy and development director for Guinness brewing worldwide.

Merging building societies can have confusing consequences for customers, not to mention the re-branding costs. The recent marriage of Halifax and Leeds has meant closures and combinations where they were next door to each other.

However, some remain. At Tooting Broadway, two face each other across a road. A Halifax spokesman insists this is not a waste of money. Confused customers might think otherwise.

It seems Tarmac, Britain's biggest housebuilder, is making headlines for other reasons than its decision to quit the housebuilding market.

Kenneth Ling, who was managing director of Tarmac Midland Homes, is being prosecuted by the Inland Revenue Service. He is accused of six counts of failing to provide income tax information between 1984 and 1992.

At its height, the Cannock-based Tarmac Midland Homes was building 750 houses a year. But as we know, the housebuilding market ain't what it used to be. Mr Ling quit the UK to live on the Costa Del Sol.

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