Mr Sykes made his first fortune in scrap metal, and met Cecil in 1976 when he was chairman of Barnsley Conservatives. Lord Parkinson tells the Yorkshire Post: "I suppose that although we never talked about it before, it was always in the back of our minds that one day we might work together."
Lord Parkinson was a chartered accountant and a businessman himself before he joined the Government in 1979, where he rose to be Transport Secretary.
"When Paul invited me to become chairman, I thought about it and I was intrigued. It's an entry into a whole new world for me," he says.
Mr Sykes and Lord Parkinson are whisking journalists to Paris in two weeks' time via Eurostar to announce a new global Internet partnership with another company. The beano will climax with lunch at La Coupole, one of Paris's ritziest brasseries. Sadly, I will not be attending.
A no-holds-barred biography of controversial Carlton Communications boss Michael Green by the FT's Ray Snoddy comes out on 9 September, titled Greenfinger.
When contacted for a reaction yesterday, one person in Mr Green's office said he was "in a meeting," while another said he was "out of the building". Turning to a spin doctor close to the media mogul, the pr man said he had not read the 306-page tome. But, he added smoothly, people who had assured him that Snoddy's book was "tame - very tame". Snoddy himself is in Iceland, presumably avoiding the wrath of Mr Green.
Kalon Group managing director Mike Hennessy likes to boogy when he announces his results. This year's interims were headlined Keep on Running, which, Mr Hennessy claims, was a hit by Del Shannon in 1965.
In the same vein, last August's interims were headlined Even the Bad Times are Good, a Sixties hit by the Tremeloes. The finals were titled More than I can Say, a top 10 smash for Bobby Vee in 1965.
But hang on a minute. Surely Keep on Running was sung by the Spencer Davies Group. Mr Hennessy must be confusing it with Del Shannon's record Runaway.
Ashen-faced spokespeople for Kalon confirmed last night that the Independent was right.
No doubt Kalon will be making a suitable statement to the Stock Exchange.
M&G, the UK's biggest PEPs and unit trust group, has promoted Michael McLintock to succeed David Morgan as managing director.
I'm sure Mr McLintock is good at his job - he got a first at Oxford in 1983 and then worked for Morgan Grenfell and Barings before joining M&G four years ago. What is galling, however, is his youth. Mr McLintock is a mere 35.
An M&G spokeswoman finds this reaction amusing: "If you met Mr McLintock you would be not at all surprised. He's been the obvious choice for the last two years."
So has he got any interesting hobbies? "He's very business focused. If you asked him about hobbies it would be a waste of your time."
Huh. Sounds like a right prig. "Oh no, he's very likeable." Worse and worse...
Howard Davies, deputy governor of the Bank of England and Manchester City fan, has urged his club not to make George Graham its next manager. Mr Graham was sacked as manager of Arsenal last year over the "transfer bung" affair.
Speaking on Radio 5, Mr Davies said: "I would prefer someone who still had something to prove. I don't see why Manchester should become a rehabilitation home for tarnished managers. I'd rather have someone like Neil Warnock of Plymouth, or Dave Bassett of Crystal Palace. I hope we don't go for Graham but it looks as though it's moving that way."Reuse content