Column One: Dutch comfort

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The Independent Online
NEWLY-WEDS Reed International and Elsevier were at pains yesterday to point out how successful their Anglo-Dutch marriage has been. All is harmony, it seems, at the newly created Reed Elsevier. The two Reed executives closest to the deal are no strangers to the Netherlands. Peter Davis, chairman, has a Dutch mum, Nigel Stapleton, finance director, a Dutch wife.

Pierre Vinken, chairman of Elsevier, who is spending so much time in London that he is considering moving out of the Savoy and into a company flat, is able to reassure me about Elsevier's pretty corporate logo. Since the merger on 1 January, a dull and designerish symbol (top) has started appearing everywhere. But Vinken insists the old logo (bottom) will survive on subsidiary company letterheads. Happily, it dates from an era when Rembrandt was the closest the Dutch got to a corporate image consultant.

To this day mystery surrounds the identity of the man in the robe - 'But there is a dissertation on the subject that I will gladly send you,' says Vinken helpfully.

SIR GRAHAM DAY, the crotchety Canadian who steered Rover into the British Aerospace garage, is stepping down as chairman of Cadbury Schweppes. He retires on 5 April, to be succeeded by Dominic Cadbury, whose great-grandfather, John Cadbury, founded the chocolate business in 1824.

Wisely, tennis-playing Dominic, 52, is not hanging on to his chief executive post. His elder brother Sir Adrian is known to be touchy on the subject of combining the two roles.

KWIK-FIT'S chairman Tom Farmer was in sparklingly acid form yesterday. Asked whether he wasn't optimistic to employ an extra 100 fitters in 19 outlets last year, he parried quick as a flash: 'Well, we tried opening them with no people but somehow it didn't work.' As they say, you don't get quicker than a Kwik-Fit fitter.

GEORGE Mallinckrodt, chairman of the merchant bank Schroders, has his own theory of why Taurus went wrong. 'It was as complicated and unintelligible as the postcodes,' he says, with the despair only a German-Swiss can muster for inefficient Britain. 'In my square in Chelsea there are four different postcodes,' he harrumphs.