Clinton's former spokesman to give his spin on the election

People & Business

President Clinton's former chief spokesman, George Stephanopoulos, is coming over in May to present the "Sword of Excellence" to the winner of the UK's Institute of Public Relations' annual awards.

Simon Lewis, president of the IPR and spin doctor-in-chief at Centrica, says it is the first time Mr Stephanopoulos has visited Blighty since his stint as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford.

Mr Stephanopoulos was the close confidant of the President during his first election campaign and only left the White House staff following the start of Clinton's second term.

During the first election campaign he was one of the key figures who coached the future President using the slogan: "It's the economy, stupid."

He is much admired by several of my female colleagues ("What a hunk" being one of the more printable comments). He was at one time suspected of having written Primary Colours, the anonymous book which lifted the lid on the Presidency. In fact it was somebody else, and Mr Stephanopoulos is now writing a book of his own.

He also lectures at Columbia University in New York and speaks on a Sunday morning programme for ABC News. Mr Lewis enthuses: "It's quite a coup for the IPR."

Over 200 spin doctors will attend the black-tie dinner in London on Monday 12 May, just 11 days after the British general election.

Mr Stephanopoulos will give his views on electioneering and then present the winner of the pr of the year with the ceremonial sword, originally donated by the first sponsors of the event, Wilkinson Sword. Whether the winner is allowed to use the sword in anger at work remains unclear.

Nicholson Graham & Jones has always claimed that as a firm of City solicitors it attracts star performers. Now this claim has become literally true.

Step forward Elaine Hanks, secretary in NGJ's Banking Department, who is shortly to appear on ITV's Stars In Their Eyes! as the singer Peggy Lee.

The game show, hosted by Matthew Kelly, was recorded last November and will be shown on Saturday 5 April. "I've been sworn to secrecy about who won," says Mrs Hanks.

"My boss Paul Salsbury (banking partner) has been telling all his clients about it, so I think he's pleased. Every time I get in the lift people ask me about it."

Mrs Hanks has been a legal secretary for 25 years, and with NGJ for around a year. She's always liked singing but only started taking it seriously last year, when she started "gigging" with Reg, a keyboard player and friend of her husband Gary's, who both work in the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

"I've appeared twice at the British Legion. I chose Peggy Lee because I look like her and a lot of people say I sound like her. She was a showstopper. I sing Fever in the show."

She says appearing on the show was "mind blowing", not least because she was on last and had to walk through a cloud of dry ice. "As I walked through it, the clapping from the audience was overwhelming."

So does working at NGJ appear a trifle dull in comparison, now she has tasted fame? "Oh no - I haven't changed my image at all."

Roger Smith, 58, director on the convertibles desk at BZW, retired yesterday after 43 years with BZW. Mr Smith is so highly regarded and popular that he was cheered off BZW's dealing floor as he left for the last time.

Mr Smith joined what was de Zoete Gorton in October 1954, just before his 16th birthday. He also had an interview at Jeyes Fluid prior to joining, but opted for the City rather than cleaning liquids. A lucky escape.

Mr Smith's service at BZW has only been broken once when he did his National Service in Jamaica in the 1950s. He spent most of his years on the loan and preference market, and the last 10 years on convertibles. He also recently celebrated his 33rd wedding anniversary.

Mr Smith has another claim to fame. His son Mark, now in his mid- 20s, competed in the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada, representing England in the 100m and 400m relays.

On Wednesday night Mr Smith's leaving party packed out the City of London Club near the Mansion House. The uproarious shindig was hosted by Simon de Zoete, chairman of equities at BZW.

Mr Smith can anticipate a quieter life - he plans to "go fishing".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada