Business Diary: Co-op boss for next PM!

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The Independent Online

The Co-operative Group has expanded massively by acquiring the Britannia Building Society and the grocer Somerfield over recent years but Diary wonders if its new-found status among the big boys is going to the head of its chief executive, Peter Marks. Asked yesterday about the Co-op's involvement with the Government, Mr Marks said he sits on a commission that looks at ownership structures of organisations. He added: "Myself and my team are fully engaged in transforming our business but we don't have that much time to run the country." Perhaps Mr Cameron should watch his back while he's off on paternity leave.

Sportech states the obvious

Shareholder in Sportech? You must be very happy. The company, which runs the football pools (remember them), among other gaming-related activities boldy stated in yesterday's interim results announcement that it was transforming itself into a "profit orientated business". Well, thank goodness for that. We'd be more than a little worried about any business that wanted to be anything else.

Microsoft and the Meter Maids

Ooops. Australia's bikini-clad "meter maids" might have earned the adoration of a million male motorists by topping up parking meters on the Gold Coast for free, thus saving them from getting tickets. But they were rather less welcome when hired by Microsoft for a conference on the Gold Coast which had as one of its key sessions a discussion on how to persuade more women to join the IT industry. Back to the drawing board, boys. After you've fixed your software.

Getting the right reputation

So reputation management company Reputation 24/7 says more and more firms from abroad are hiring cyberspace experts to help bury poor publicity or negative comments that are posted about them online. Apparently something called search engine optimisation allow you to hide bad news quite effectively. Presumably that's easier than, you know, just offering half-decent customer service.