City People

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The Independent Online
DISPIRITED CITY traders at Paribas are exhibiting their own brand of gallows humour as they contemplate the chop if their bosses succeed in fending off the hostile bid by Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) in favour of the bosses' own cosy deal with Societe Generale.

A rogue e-mail is doing the rounds concerning the discovery of a new element: "French Managerium".

This substance is "highly dangerous to your health; it's volatile, and consists of a large number of particles spinning around a nucleus apparently aimlessly".

No doubt Madame Curie, who discovered uranium, would have been proud of such a discovery. What Paribas' "grands fromages" in Paris will make of this very Anglo Saxon e-mail is another matter.

DESPITE TAKING over $700m (pounds 450m) in the first seven weeks of its release, the company which produced the Star Wars prequel Episode 1: The Phantom Menace insisted yesterday that it "isn't in it for the money".

So says Rick McCallum of Lucas Films, who was in London yesterday for the premiere in Leicester Square. At a Soho press briefing yesterday, Mr McCallum observed that money is only important to the degree it allows Lucas films "the independence to pursue creativity".

He did admit, however, that since opening stateside the film has grossed over $400m.

Then there's the not so small matter of $325m in sales clocked up by two accompanying video games.

Mr McCallum even showed a degree of modesty unusual for Hollywood or the entertainment business generally. Dismissing the critics' drubbing of the prequel, Mr McCallum observed that having more than 100 million people see your movie tends to soften any critical blows it might receive.

He concluded: "Having made so many movies that nobody comes to, this is certainly a better feeling."

TOSS AWAY your "Drucker on management". Kogan Page is about to publish "Shakespeare on Management; Leadership Lessons for Today's Manager," by Paul Corrigan.

Review copies aren't available yet, but apparently the book is a perfectly serious attempt to apply the lessons of Shakespeare's plays to modern management.

We've had Winnie the Pooh on management, so why not the bard?

Macbeth, Hamlet, the Taming of the Shrew ... the mind boggleth over, verily.

THE ASSOCIATION of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA), yet another umbrella trade body for insurance salesmen, was launched yesterday, headed by Paul Smee, a former spokesman for the Independent Television Commission (ITC).

AIFA aims to heal the internecine warfare that has raged among previous trade bodies. Let's hope it succeeds.

Previous bodies have produced a headache-inducing alphabet soup of acronyms: BIIBA (British Insurance and Investment Brokers Association); NFIFA (National Federation of IFAs); CAMIFA (Campaign for IFAs); IFAP (Independent Financial Advice Promotion); even Sofa (Society of Financial Advisers). To name but a few.