Getting down to business at Oxford

City Diary

Oxford University's own business school, Templeton College, has appointed an American anthropologist as its new president. Michael von Clemm is better known in the City as a former chairman of capital markets at Merrill Lynch, as well as having played an important role at White Weld and Credit Suisse First Boston. He originally took a degree in anthropology, which no doubt proved useful in the understanding of traders and the like.

He has been in the UK for over 30 years and is joining Templeton, Oxford's newest graduate college, at a delicate time in its development. The college is not just a hot-house for would be industrialists; it is currently providing a high-profile series of courses for the Labour party on the management of change.

Potatoes to Italy. This is the sales success story for East Midlands company A&C Exports, which won a prize yesterday from the National Languages Export Campaign.

The company found that since it had embraced the "language and culture" strategy sponsored by the BBC its exports to non-English speaking countries had risen by 40 per cent. In particular, by recruiting a linguist, Karen Burdett, to go after the Italian market, the company discovered that they were trying to sell the wrong kind of spuds to the Italians. The latter want "Wilja" potatoes for their gnocchi, a type of potato ball. Sounds yummy.

There were a few predictable Euro-sceptic gibes at the Institute of Directors annual convention in the Albert Hall yesterday as speakers like the Prime Minister and Lord Tebbit addressed the subject of "Europe".

The delegates voted solidly against both a single currency and the single chapter, so it was no surprise when Lord Tebbit blasted the conference's lunch which included French butter and Perrier Water. "Would the French IoD serve Malvern Water?" the former Chingford skinhead enquired? Delegates were asked to test the voting buttons in the hall; 83.7 per cent confirmed they were male, 14.9 per cent said they were female, and 1.4 per cent "didn't know," which tends to confirm what Continentals say about the English.

Those attending the shindig could quaff free champagne at the United Airlines stand, lust after the new Audi 8 and gawp at a full-scale model of British Aerospace's latest fighter, the EF2000. Best of all, they were offered "a Champneys massage" courtesy of the health club of the same name.

Talk about poacher turned gamekeeper. The man who helped draft the Financial Services Act has just been hired by investment bank UBS. Mark Harding is leaving the giant law firm Clifford Chance to a newly created senior post at UBS, that of general counsel, UK. Harding was involved in the consultation process leading to the FSA and the Self Regulatory Organisation (SRO) rule book. He was also co-head of Clifford Chance's Derivatives Group. A useful man to know.

Investment watchdog Imro has appointed Peter Dean as its new Investment Ombudsman. Dean must have impressive time-managing capabilities, since he will continue as deputy chairman of the Monopolies & Mergers Commission and as Chairman of Highgate Counselling Centre in London. Imro set up the Ombudsman scheme so that there would be an independent system for dealing with complaints brought against investment companies by customers. Dean will take over from Richard Youard, who has done the job for the past seven years. Dean is a keen skier and likes music, especially choral works, tra la.

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