Business Diary: Choking on the chocolate
Wednesday 29 June 2011
Thorntons' strategy-review statement yesterday was a grim example of management speak. The lowlights included "a more focused retail estate with a differentiated customer proposition", "a de-risked business" that "positions the company for sustainable future growth", and a push to "grow the relevance of other all-year-round gifting occasions".
Compare that with Lord Harris of Peckham's description of trading conditions at Carpetright. "Bloody awful," he said. Couldn't be clearer, could it?
The real solution to Greece's woes
Good to see Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason taking the temperature on the streets of Greece yesterday. According to his tweets, Mason's taxi driver had a solution to the country's woes: he favoured a military coup followed by a dictatorship. How that suggestion went down with Mason, who has something of a reputation for being aleft-wing firebrand, remains unreported.
Arise then, Sir Mervyn King
It would seem that the Diary owes the Governor of the Bank ofEngland an apology (and never let it be said we will not eat humble pie, especially for a knight). Last week we poked a bit of fun at the Bank for granting Sir Mervyn King his new title as soon as it had been announced, even though he had yet to be granted an audience with the Queen. As it turns out – although Sir Mervyn was far too polite to make a fuss – the Cabinet Office explains that people areentitled to use their title as soon as such honours have been announced. We hope theGovernor will forgive us.
Dougan taken to the cleaners
This is what you call a bad day. Brady Dougan, the chief executive of Credit Suisse, is $750,000 poorer following a US court ruling that he must pay his ex-wife that much in interest for being 12 days late with a divorce-settlement payment in 2006. Mr Dougan had appealed this judgment, claiming that he ought to pay interest only for that 12-day period, which would have cost him $25,000 on the settlement of about $7.5m. But a judge has now upheld the ruling, on the grounds that the original divorce settlement made it absolutely clear that interest would be due from the word go in the event of any tardiness.
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