CITY DIARY

Peter Davis's leap from a non-executive seat in the Pru's boardroom to the chief executive's office may have pleased the City, but there are bound to be a few noses out of joint at the giant insurer's HQ in Holborn, London.

The Pru has never before appointed an outsider to the top job, and there must be question marks over the future of Jim Sutcliffe, who runs the Pru's home service division. He is widely considered to be the brightest and best of the Pru's current management - but at the tender age of 37 was ruled out by the worthies on the board for being too young.

He will surely get offers of the top job at other insurers as they come up, but the Pru will be keen to keep him. The betting is that a quiet reassurance that he would be ideally placed to succeed next time may have been made by the top brass in Holborn.

KPMG thought it was on to a winning marketing ploy when it started a programme yesterday to send experts in company motivation, led by Will Carling, the England rugby captain, to businesses round the country.

The Celtic fringe do not agree. Apparently, since the tremendous victory of Carling's team at Twickenham on Saturday, Scottish and Welsh businessmen have voiced disquiet about being preached to by the England captain. As a result, Carling's company, Insights, has decided to send less controversial speakers such as Adrian Moorhouse and Sebastian Coe to the nether regions of our divided nation.

Negotiations for a £2m oil workers' housing complex in Azerbaijan were reaching a climax for Douglas Bone, the Baku-based projects manager for Morrison construction last Friday when all of a sudden the streets were filled with demonstrators mounting an impromptu coup.

Filled with British aplomb, Mr Bone remained completely unrattled. He had, after all, more or less slept through a similar coup attempt in 1993. "I thought it was the locals coming back from the pub," he says.

London Business School is launching, for the second year running, a special course for women. The first proved a great success, said Marcelle d'Argy Smith, editor of Cosmopolitan, which is sponsoring the course, providing self-employed women with a stronger sense of self-confidence and professionalism.

What special issues does a women's course address? "Women tend to be terrible at delegating," says Ms d'Argy Smith. "They do not like to ask for help, they are scared to take on people to help and they do not trust people enough."

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