Business Diary: 31/10/2009

Fred the Shred still making headlines

Bless. Sir Fred Goodwin formally stepped down as boss of Royal Bank of Scotland at the end of January, but he's still managed to attract more press coverage than any other FTSE 100 chief executive this year according to research by Sweet & Maxwell. Gone, but not forgotten.

The train takes the strain for Stobart

Haulage business Stobart is proud of a new rail service it is operating to bring fruit and vegetables from Valencia to the UK which, it points out, creates much less pollution than importing the goods by road. Not as carbon-free as simply sourcing local produce instead, of course, but still.

Mixed fortunes for the 'Apprentice' exes

Ping. An email arrives from former Apprentice contestant Syed Ahmed, with news of the Vortex, a device he claims will "revolutionise the hand-drying industry". Better tidings than from contestant Tre Azam, who this week dropped his appeal against a conviction for benefit fraud.

Thirteen years old and on the scrapheap

Poor old Kane Middleton. On the one hand, he has broken a record by becoming the youngest ever worker to be made redundant. But, sadly for the 13-year-old paperboy from Bedford, he has been offered a pay-off of "nought pounds" by Letterbox Direct, which is dispensing with his newspaper delivery services.

John Lewis cashes in on recession fun

There's been much talk of what cash-strapped couples have been getting up to at home during the recession (clue, it costs nothing). Now John Lewis says its sales recovery is being lead by people buying beds. Is that down to more people moving house again, or just the inevitable consequence of all those evenings spent at home?

Number of the day: £57m

The profit made by Sony Music in the third quarter, delivered almost entirely by sales of Michael Jackson songs