Business Diary: Dyson is second only to Brunel
Tuesday 10 May 2011
For services to vacuum cleaners? When GE surveyed 900 British engineering undergraduates about their views on the greatest engineers in history, it received some surprising answers. Not so much Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a worthy winner of the poll, but the runner-up, James Dyson. Now, the Diary bows to no one in its admiration for the great man's contribution to household cleanliness, but the likes of Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, Thomas Telford or Thomas Edison might be forgiven for rolling over a couple of times in their respective graves.
One sin certainly not receding
So what does Stephen Hester, the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, think about payment protection insurance now? With Barclays and HSBC having set aside money yesterday to cover the cost of the scandal, and Lloyds having done so last week, RBS has had to make a hasty provision for mis-selling too. On Friday, Hester told people that RBS's "sins from the past are receding" as he unveiled its first-quarter trading figures. PPI, however, is one big sin that is still very much with him.
Blankfein laughs off quit rumours
Let it never be said that themasters of the universe do not have a sense of humour. Gossip has been doing the rounds for months that Lloyd Blankfein would use last Friday's annual general meeting at Goldman Sachs as an opportunity to announce plans for quitting the investment bank. The agm was a rancorous affair, with Goldman taking all sorts of stick for the rewards paid to Blankfein and his colleagues, but one shareholder asked him about the rumours, the boss replied, "What, and give up all this?". Looks like he's staying.
Iceland's boss conquers the ice
Well done to Malcolm Walker, the founder of grocery chain Iceland, who is on his way back to the UK with his son Richard, after climbing to the summit of the North Col of Everest, 7,020 metres up, in a bid to raise £1m for research into Alzheimer's disease. Having reached their target, the Walkers left asmaller team to make a final push to plant the Iceland flag on the peak. To find out more, see www.icelandeverest.org.uk.
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