Hewlett ready to rejoice in half-year ritual of rejoicing

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The Independent Online
Only hours to go for the happy band that is the Hewlett Packard workforce. Today Lew Platt, the computer giant's president, chief executive officer and chairman, announces the six-monthly profit share. This is not a figure to be sneezed at. Last summer every employee world-wide collected 11 per cent of basic salary.

But the announcement itself has developed into something of a ritual. Mr Platt likes to deliver the good news personally and simultaneously to all corners of Hewlett's global empire.

At 0800 hours in California (1600 hours in the UK) the international workforce will down soldering irons and gather round the tannoy expectantly. The inevitable bit of static will be followed by the unmistakable voice of the illustrious leader (only the third in the company's history) as he announces the figure. This will then be followed by a traditional and resounding "Hurrah'', and the money will be in the pay packets two weeks later.

Oh, by the way, Hewlett has never announced a quarterly loss since it was founded in 1939. Funny that.

Airbus Industrie has hit back in decisive fashion over the loss of the pounds 8bn Singapore Airline order to Boeing. The European consortium has finally succeeded in suppressing further publication of Karl Sabbagh's 21st Century Jet, which chronicles the development of the Boeing 777. You will recall that Singaporeans ordered 77 of the offending planes this week.

"We are required to recall all copies of the book,'' says Macmillan, co-publishers of the book with Channel Four. "Airbus Industrie has complained.''

A quick leaf-through reveals nothing too sinister. But a hint of what was to come can be gleaned from page 12 where Mr Sabbagh writes: "Before libel lawyers from all seven continents descend on the publisher of this book it is worth pointing out that

Never reluctant to issue guidelines where none are needed the Americans have published the definitive guide on how to look acceptably scruffy at work.

A booklet from Haggar Clothing, a brand new company that's been around for years (sic), describes the finer points of dressing down, the wearing of more casual clothes than tradition dictates.

"Like the information highway and political correctness, dressing down is off and running before anyone's figured how it works,'' warns Haggar. "Though 75 per cent of Fortune 500 companies now have some sort of dressing down policy, they rarely spell it out in a memo. It's almost as if they are testing employees to see who will screw up.''

Should you feel the sudden urge to dress down, follow the code. Instead of traditional, standard colour silk ties, switch to cotton and knit fabrics. "Show appreciation for a holiday or display your favourite dog.''

Come to think of it, there was a polo neck seen at SBC Warburg recently.

Hectic trading at Credit Lyonnais where some entrepreneur has been trying to shift a load of rugs in the run-up to Christmas. Telephone callers to the bank could even hear prices being quoted over the main tannoy.

Cocking a snook at the anti-nuclear movement, Barclays Bank attempts to take the public relations pressure off Shell by embracing the Beaujolais Nouveau. Various branches were offering free tastings yesterday, with Holborn branch even hanging out French flags. In the City, Balls Brothers reported that the light and fruity number, "which shows no excess of the yeast that has marred some of the previous vintages'', had sold 500 bottles by 10am at pounds 4.20 each plus VAT.

We shall have to see how it goes down in Tahiti.

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