Column Eight: Food for thought at RHM

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The Independent Online
One hopes poor David Hankinson likes a challenge. Barely had he walked through the door of Ranks Hovis McDougall yesterday on his first day as finance director than Hanson Group turned on the heat. Mr Hankinson has been finance director of six companies in the past 13 years, including Lucas. Hanson, which runs a tightly managed ship, could ensure that his seventh is not far off.

Meanwhile Robert Hanson, aspiring offspring of his lordship, left readers of Saturday's Financial Times with the distinct impression that the group's next big deal would be on the Continent. Perhaps young Robert is not as close to the centre of power as some believe, which will please critics who feel his appointment to the board is turning Hanson into a family dynasty.

Faces are so red at the Automobile Association, they're almost beetroot. The road people seem to have lost their way, locating several towns in the wrong county. According to its Weekend Breaks Hotel Directory, Loughborough has been moved from Leicestershire to Lincolnshire. Flamborough now nestles in the Yorkshire moors rather than Humberside. Do the good people of Swansea know they reside in Dyfed, not West Glamorgan? And visitors looking for the Holmedale Hotel at Whitley Bay in Yorkshire should try 50 miles down the road in Tyne & Wear. 'Yes, we know some are wrong. And 3 million directories have been printed,' a sombre AA spokesman said.

The days when executives at Aegis Group soared across Europe in the company's luxury jets are drawing to a close. One of the two Cessna aircraft put up for sale by the cash- strapped media buyer could be about to change hands. The Citation V jet has been on a test flight in Puerto Rico where it impressed its potential buyer. The smart money says the jet will find a new home in Dallas and Aegis will be dollars 4m richer.

Sheepskin slippers were the height of fashion in the mid-nineteenth century, with the shoe firm Clarks employing up to 900 workers to make them. The factory, at Street in Somerset, was still going strong until Clarks hit the financial rocks last month.