City People

n Ian McCartney, Britain's Trade minister, had a mishap in his Paris hotel room yesterday morning, ahead of the ministerial meeting he was due to attend at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

A slip in the bath left him concussed.

According to one veteran: "Given the choice between a spot of concussion and the ministers in session, I know which I'd go for."

It was not the first accident linked to the meetings. Last month, Bill Callaghan, the TUC's economics supremo, was in Paris for a fraternal preparatory discussion with the trade union committee of the OECD. He broke his ankle and had to spend several days in a Paris hospital.

So beware the curse of the OECD.

n Robert Jeens is leaving his post as finance director of Woolwich in order to take up a big new job, but, tantalisingly, he will not say what it is yet.

He told the converted building society about his intentions two months ago, enabling them to start recruiting a replacement - Richard Meddings, a managing director in the investment banking side of CSFB.

Mr Meddings was involved in Woolwich's flotation in April 1996.

He has previously worked in corporate finance at Hill Samuel and BZW, and has advised the director general of Oflot on the lottery franchise.

Mr Jeens will continue in his post until Mr Meddings' arrival at the end of June.

Mr Jeens was in Paris yesterday at a meeting of Banque Woolwich, the bank's French mortgage arm, which it bought in 1931.

n Judges at the Appeal Court have ruled that Lloyd's of London cannot avoid paying out on a cancelled Michael Jackson concert following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales two years ago.

Lloyd's underwriters must pay Quinta Communications pounds 625,000 for a Barcelona concert cancelled by the grieving pop idol following Diana's death, according to Post magazine. The concert was expected to net pounds 1.5m.

n Brewing four pots of tea per day for six years will cost the world the lives of two trees. Heating and lighting a typical home for a year will cost 10 trees.

These worrying figures come courtesy of Avis, the car rentals giant, which has joined with Future Forests, the environmental taskforce, to try and do something about harmful carbon dioxide emissions. Avis is set to plant 8,500 trees in the UK to offset the CO2 its head office and 170 branches emit here, and another 18,000 trees in the autumn to offset the effects of the cars it rents out. Oh, and if you care about the biosphere - steady on the tea, there.

n The "treble effect" is not having much impact at United Utilities, the Manchester-based group which owns North West Water and Norweb. Manchester United's historic trio of victories sealed on Wednesday night was a bit wasted on the United Utilities management.

Derek Green, chief executive, isn't interested in football, whilst Bob Ferguson, finance director, is, even worse - a Liverpool fan.

So neither was distracted when they were in London on the night of the Bayern Munich match to prepare the prelims announcement.

Nevertheless, the duo are proud to boast that their region now has the world's most successful football club.

Considering that United Utilities has underperformed the stock market by 55 per cent over the past year, the question is still open as to whether the region has the world's most successful utilities company...

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