Business Diary: Ex-Anglo executive has nookie on the brain...

Graham Boustred, a former deputy chairman of the mining group Anglo American, startled readers of the South African newspaper Business Day with his loathing for the company's chief executive Cynthia Carroll, saying: "This woman's hopeless. There's no morale." Unfortunately, that was just for hors d'oeuvres. "Do you know why it's difficult to find a female CEO?" the enlightened 84-year-old continued. "It's because most women are sexually frustrated. Men are not, because they can fall back on call girls, go to erectile dysfunction clinics. If you have a CEO who's sexually frustrated she can't act properly."

... and reckons he is a real Anglophile

Meanwhile, Boustred is desperate to prove his British heritage because he wants to migrate here if "the wheels come off" South Africa. Any place in particular, the interviewer asked. "The Isle of Man. There are no Muslims, no blacks," he explained. Thanks, but no thanks.

Huff slashes his stake in Virgin Media

Bill Huff, a US hedge fund manager who has been a director of Virgin Media since 2003, has been reducing his stake in the group of late. Huff, who had a bit of a ding-dong with rival shareholders in 2005 over his influence at Virgin, reduced his 16.2 per cent holding to less than 2 per cent in November. Since then, he and his company (it is unclear how the holdings were split) have sold 99 per cent of their holding from more than five million shares to just 26,000. Virgin insists this doesn't mean their director is storming off in a huff.

Market storm rains on Meriwether's parade

It feels as if an era is ending. John Meriwether, the legendary player of "Liar's Poker" on the trading desks of Salomon Brothers, is folding his hand. He is winding down JWM Partners, the hedge fund he set up in 1999. This is the same man who set up Long-Term Capital Management, the fund whose implosion in 1998 threatened to bring down the financial system. JWM's flagship fund lost 44 per cent in the 18 months to February, and the flight of many investors hobbled any attempt to repair the damage. What the blow-up of Salomon and the LTCM crisis somehow failed to do, this even bigger financial calamity finally has.

Number of the day: 17.88%

FTSE 100's current level above the March trough. That technically leaves the blue chip index in a bear market.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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