Business Diary: Hitting the top is easy, but try staying there

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The Independent Online

Richard Moat, boss of T-Mobile UK, needs to learn that timing is crucial in business. After a 16-year career at Orange, Moat agonised earlier this year about a change of company before finally deciding that the opportunity to run T-Mobile in Britain was too good to pass up. Just four months into his new post, the merger of Orange and T-Mobile here will see him lose the top role to his old boss at his former employer.

Old friends ring up for a chat

In fact, the T-Mobile/Orange deal is a case of friends reunited all over the place. Orange's chief executive Tom Alexander made his name when launching Virgin Mobile 10 years ago. The virtual network was operated by T-Mobile. So now Alexander is returning to the fold.

Time to put the past behind them

Euphemism of the day award goes to Travelzest, which has just raised almost £6m of emergency funding. "This has been a challenging six months for Travelzest as we have restructured our business," says the travel agent. That's one way to describe having your shares suspended and losing your chief executive during an investigation into "a potential misappropriation of company funds" (the boss in question was subsequently cleared).

Colin the Caterpillar rides to rescue M&S

Marks & Spencer has a new star. Colin the Caterpillar is the fastest selling sweet in the retailer's revamped confectionery range, launched last week. With more than a million Colins sold so far, he looks set to become the most popular character since Percy Pig launched in 1993. That should help sweeten the mood at M&S's head office after a tough 12 months.

Last rites for a firm family favourite

A £100m investment programme at Pontins reflects the fact that the holiday park business is doing well in these tough economic times. Not everyone will benefit, however. The company is shutting its site at Blackpool, the spiritual home of the British holiday, complaining of years of underinvestment in the resort.

Number of the day: 5,000

The level through which the FTSE 100 broke yesterday, the first time it had done so since 3 October 2008.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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