City Diary: ANZ Grindlays gets that sinking feeling

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The Independent Online
Everyone remembers the Cambridge Boat Race crew sinking beneath the waves in 1978. ANZ Grindlays suffered the same ignominy this weekend when they capsized in the first heat of the annual ECGD Dragon Boat Race.

Observers speculate that it may have been because ANZ's crew of 20 was beefier than most of the 15 City teams taking part.

London's Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre, at Westferry Road, was transformed into a scene from Hawaii-Five-O as teams of rowers from the Bank of England, Lloyds and NatWest Markets battled it out in long boats which originated in Hong Kong, complete with helmsman and drummer.

BZW won the title, while last year's victors Banque Indosuez came in joint fourth.

A former employee of Warburgs - which did not take part - sniffs: "Warburgs used to win the Dragon Boat races in Hong Kong, you know."

A female spokeswoman for an investment bank which will remain nameless, disagrees with the comparisons with Hawaii Five-O: "They haven't got the surf - or the handsome men." Ouch.

Worried about getting downsized? Expect short shrift from the Inland Revenue.

Picture the scene at the Institute of Chartered Accountants annual conference in London (no, don't fall asleep): a leading bean counter is expounding on the virtues of self assessment for income tax.

Because of self assessment the Inland Revenue will be able to cut 3,000 staff, he says. He adds that there will also be an impact on staffing levels in accountancy firms.

The Inland Revenue spokeswoman, Christina Smyth, pitches in: "It is the Revenue's explicit aim of reducing jobs."

The accountant then adds helpfully, just to clarify matters: "No, I'm not talking about accountants having to cut jobs."

But Ms Smyth corrects him: ''No, that's what I mean."

A shadow falls over the proceedings as hundreds of tax accountants try to remember whether they still have their cv on the word processor ...

The Queen Mother has been presented with a fish fly (as used for trout fishing) made with the delicate hairs snipped from the testicles of RamRod, "a splendid Dorset Horn ram, who is the living trademark of Young's Brewery".

The 180-strong Young's pub chain and brewery has launched a pounds 2.5m corporate image makeover, in which, according to a spokesman, the ram's manly equipment on Young's trademark has been painted back in, after having been airbrushed out for a number of years.

The Young's spokesman says: "The testicles have a new pride of place, as the hair from them is very fine and prized by fly makers.

"A fly maker asked for a snip of hair from RamRod recently, and he made two 'tup-flys', one of which he presented to the Queen Mother, the other to us."

I am not making this up.

Management fads are bunk So says "top UK guru" Sumantra Ghoshal, professor of Strategic Leadership at the London Business School. "Too many companies in the UK are tired and weighed down by change overload. After rounds of rationalisation and restructuring, they have created an oppressive internal environment that saps their employees' initiative, creativity and commitment. The critical challenge for managers is to create the right internal environment. If they do so, their people will deliver the profits." So forget downsizing and make your employees feel happy and secure. That'll be the day.