Business Diary: A parting shot from Tesco boss

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The Independent Online

Sir Terry Leahy would be the last man to suggest the Tesco show can't go on without him, but he does have a warning for his successor as he nears retirement.

"If they rise in the first place, all companies fail," he tells the latest issue of Director magazine. "You've got to be realistic about that – you just want the time between when it rises and when it falls to as long as possible." It's a message to his replacement Philip Clarke: don't screw up my legacy.

Interest rate is talk of the town

Sterling's rally yesterday followed market gossip that another Monetary Policy Committee member had joined Andrew Sentence and Martin Weale in voting for an interest rate rise at February's meeting. What prompted such gossip? Apparently a dinner on Thursday evening at which Sentance told people the minutes of the meeting – to be published on Wednesday – would be more "interesting than normal". The new boy in the rate rise camp is said to be the Bank's deputy governor, Charles Bean.

Cayman Islands fight back

If you can't go round accusing the Cayman Islands of being a tax haven, what can you do? MP Ronnie Campbell must have thought he was on safe ground when he complained about companies "hiding their money in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands". But now he is in receipt of a furious letter from Roy McTaggart, the chairman of Cayman Finance, who accuses him of "factually inaccurate" statements and "perpetuating falsehoods". No holiday in the sun for the Blyth Valley MP then.

Metro Bank stirs bad memories

Things are going well at Metro Bank, the high-profile entry to the UK retail banking market, which debuted with a splash last year. As it promised, it is slowly but surely opening new branches and is on target to have 40 within a couple of years. Its latest opening, on Cromwell Road in west London, comes with an unfortunate history, however. It is on the site of a swanky BCCI building. It, of course, was the bank that went bust in the Eighties.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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