Business Diary: Lord Mandelson goes into banking
Saturday 22 January 2011
So now we have a definition of the acceptable face of banking, courtesy of none other than Lord Mandelson.
It was he who last year described Barclays boss Bob Diamond as "the unacceptable face of banking", after hearing, quite wrongly as it turns out, that the banker had been paid £63m. We don't know how much the former Business Secretary is earning in his new role at Lazards, which was formally announced yesterday, but you would forgive MrDiamond for raising an eyebrow.
Addison Lee takes Coulson home
Good to see Andy Coulson, David Cameron's exiting communications man, sticking to his principles to the last yesterday. Before Christmas, the Government got it in the neck in some quarters when it emerged it had authorised payments of more than £160,000 to the cab firm Addison Lee, which was founded by John Griffin, a Conservative Party donor. It did not look terribly good at this time of austerity for the country. So how did Mr Coulson leave Downing Street after quitting yesterday? In an Addison Lee cab, of course.
BRC sends the wrong message
A curious email arrives from the British Retail Consortium, entitled: "Latest retail stats make case for interest rate rise." Is the retailers' trade body, which yesterday published data revealing just how difficult December was for the high street, really calling for a change to monetary policy that is going to make life even harder for consumers? On opening the email, it turns out this is exactly the opposite of what the BRC wants – that title was missing a word such as "weaker". A dangerous error.
Google's less famous roomie
Craig Silverstein, Google's director of technology, who was the first employee of founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, rather explodes the myth of 165 University Avenue, christened the "lucky building" of Silicon Valley because of the number of hugely successful internet start-ups, including Google, that have been based there at one time or another. "In the space right before us was some sort of website for learning Spanish or something like that," he says. "I've forgotten their name, but you've never heard of them."
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