Column Eight: Fraternal split at Lloyds

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DO NOT accuse Allen Lloyd of Lloyds Chemists, the fast-growing pharmacy chain, of being unresponsive.

In November, Mr Lloyd, then chairman and chief executive of the company, encountered flak on the corporate governance front. He also got a 70 per cent pay rise to pounds 348,000. Yesterday the top roles were split and Allen's long-serving brother, Peter, became chief executive. Peter's salary was a positively meagre pounds 120,000 last year. It now remains to be seen whether they will also split the difference in their salaries.

As it happens, Lloyds has also appointed Sir Eric Pountain as a new non-executive director and head of the company's remuneration committee. Sir Eric, as chairman of Tarmac, is on a modest pounds 313,000.

PERHAPS it's catching: Lawrence Urquhart, chairman and chief executive at Burmah Castrol, is giving up the chief executive slot to Jonathan Fry, currently managing director.

MEANWHILE, Norman Ireland is about to attend the most important board meeting of his life. This from a man who was finance director of BTR for 20 years and chairman of Bowater for six (he stands down as the latter in three months).

The important gathering is of the Ireland family, and he says his wife has the casting vote. The agenda? What Norman, 65, does next. He has also resigned from Intermediate Capital and the Housing Finance Corporation, and will have time on his hands.

AFEW MORE swallows in the housing market. No sooner did Crest Homes proclaim that buyers started queueing at 5am on Saturday to bag houses on its development at Chislehurst, Kent, than it was trumped by Headland Properties, where one buyer started queueing 29 hours early for its development at Cove, south of Aberdeen. Do they know something we don't?

THE LEISURE research team at the stockbroker Smith New Court will go to any lengths to bring sparkling information to investors. In this month's letter, Bruce Jones proudly proclaims: 'South Mimms service area visited'.

WE KNOW times are tough at Lloyd's of London, but the market appears to have abolished that hallowed tradition, afternoon tea. One wag said it was not necessary as lunches went on too long.