City People

The Lord Mayor of London, Lord Levene, had a smashing time yesterday when he bulldozed a concrete flower tub.

This was no wanton act of vandalism, however. Accompanied by the theme from The Dambusters played by the central band of the Royal Air Force, Lord Levene officially initiated the demolition of Paternoster Square, the long-derelict 1960s office block adjoining the north side of St Paul's Cathedral.

The whole thing is being redeveloped by Schroders and Stanhope together with the Japanese owners of the site, MEC.

Mick Newmarch, the former chief executive officer of Prudential, has popped up as a non-executive director at Weston Medical Board. Weston makes an award-winning needle-free device, Intraject, which is set to transform the way injections are given.

Mr Newmarch, 61, spent 40 years with the Pru before he bowed out a couple of years ago. He is currently a director of Celltech, a biotech company, and chairman of Bourne End Properties.

Who should I bump into at 3i's annual bash at Claridge's on Tuesday night but Michael Stoddart, chairman of Electra Investment Trust.

A bit of a surprise, considering Electra has only just succeeded in beating off a hostile bid from 3i.

The urbane Mr Stoddart says merely: "They were very kind to invite me so I thought I'd go along."

Roel Pieper, 43, is to leave the board of Philips Electronics NV on 1 June, just 13 months after joining. Personally wooed away from Compaq in the US by Philips boss Cor Boonstra to the specially created post of executive vice-president, he had been seen as heir apparent. But a bit tactlessly, Mr Pieper turned himself into a media personality, uttering such sound bites as: "I don't like being number two, I want to be number one."

Mr Pieper's departure brings the number of top-level Philips leavers to eight in the recent past. Among them were two Brits: Dudley Eustace, credited with saving Philips from bankruptcy in the early Nineties, who took early retirement this March; and Doug Dunn, forced out when the consumer electronics division he ran failed to meet its earning targets.

No one has mentioned a payoff for Mr Pieper yet, but he's unlikely to accept anything but a hefty wedge. He arrived from Compaq as a multi- millionaire.

Now is the time of year when the various accountancy bodies introduce their new top brass. The ICA is about to elevate Dame Sheila Masters to its helm. And the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants has appointed "a very keen pianist" as its new president. CIMA David Melvill tells me he is looking forward to showing his young daughter a groove in the floorboards at CIMA's HQ in Portland Place.

Jacqueline du Pre, the famous cellist, lived there when she was a teenager, and the groove concerned is where she used to place her cello stand.

Ms du Pre's father Derek was secretary of CIMA. I must say I missed that particular detail in the recent biopic of the tragic musician ...