Gripping yarn that was out of this world
People & Business
Friday 07 February 1997
He did not pay out pounds 1m to Joseph Carpenter who claimed he had been abducted by aliens.
Simon Burgess of Grip, a self-confessed publicity seeker, said yesterday: "It was a good Christmas tale. Joseph the Carpenter claims he saw a star- shaped spaceship coming in from the East witnessed by three wise men." He is still dining out on the tale and is off to Rome next week to appear on a chat show.
A spoof insurance policy junkie who makes things up to escape the humdrum world of insurance, Mr Burgess is already working on his next stunt: the Millennium Virgin policy.
It will insure chaste maidens against immaculate conception. He is hoping to arrange for - guess who - Richard Branson to present the cheque.
John Hoerner of Burton has won the NatWest Securities retailer of the year award. The amiable American topped the poll ahead of Sir Graham Kirkham of DFS Furniture and Lord MacLaurin of Tesco, who finished third for the second year running.
Mr Hoerner, who became chief executive in 1992, secured nearly 20 per cent of the votes, making him a clear winner. John Richards, NatWest's stores analyst, said: "Burton has come back from the dead twice and its current renaissance under the quiet but determined guidance of John Hoerner looks far more durable than its 1980s rise." Since his appointment as chief executive Burton's profits has risen from pounds 6m to pounds 150m.
Also featuring in the poll were Sir Geoff Mulcahy of Kingfisher, marking a return to form and a first appearance from Carpetright wizard Lord Harris of Peckham. Last year's winner was Archie Norman of Asda.
Fortune magazine need not have been surprised that its attempt this week to place a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal was greeted with a firm "No thank you".
Even though it would have provided revenue of $100,000, the ad in question was not to the taste of the Journal's owner, the Dow Jones company.
It was to have promoted recent articles in Fortune detailing a revolt by Dow Jones shareholders about its stagnant share price and exposing the activities of Michael Price, the prominent New York money manager, who has accumulated more than 5 per cent of the company.
In comments that other Journal rivals took pleasure in reporting yesterday, including the New York Times, Fortune's head of marketing, John Needham, said: "It appeared that senior management of Dow Jones is interfering directly in the operation of the Journal."
Pat Carter, the dapper chief executive at Westminster Healthcare, is developing something of a love affair with Scotland if his latest expansion plans are anything to go by.
And there is something fishy about the notoriously keen angler's choice of locations. Westminster operates the most northerly nursing home in Britain in Thurso, Caithness. This property was acquired when the wader- clad Mr Carter was indulging in a spot of salmon fishing in the area.
Now he is setting his sights further north and is considering opening another home in Orkney. This choice has nothing at all to do with the high quality and free brown trout fishing to be enjoyed in most of the local lochs.
Roger North looked a distracted man yesterday. The Ushers of Trowbridge chief executive was in the City drumming up support for the pub and brewing group's forthcoming float but was on the edge of his seat throughout lunch.
About to become a grandfather for the first time, he was keen to dash to a phone to check on his daughter-in-law's progress.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
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