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Business News

Business Diary: Sandler's plan to reboot the Rock

Northern Rock chairman Ron Sandler was treading on shaky metaphorical ground yesterday when discussing cost cuts at the group. "'We need to grow into our shoes,' is what I've said in the past," he said. "We need to make sure they are constructed as best we can to make them fit the size and type of business we are." Diary, and perhaps Mr Sandler himself, had rather lost the thread at this point. Was there a pair of shoes waiting for Mr Sandler and company to grow into? Or is he making another pair of shoes? Either way, it all sounds like a load of cobblers to us.

NYT finds US's happiest man

Gallup last week released its much-anticipated Well-Being Index in America. The New York Times asked the pollsters what the happiest person would look like and the answer was: "A tall, Asian-American, observant Jew who is at least 65 and married, has children, lives in Hawaii, runs his own business and has a household income of $120,000 a year." Hacks at the paper found Alvin Wong, who meets all the criteria. He said he was indeed happy but added: "This is a practical joke, right?"

Déjà Pru over executive pay

Prudential seems to have got its messages in line since the communication fiasco of its failed AIA bid. Asked early in the day about potential board bonuses, chief executive Tidjane Thiam's line went like this: "Although a chief executive does many things, one of the things I don't do is set my remuneration. That's for the remuneration committee. It's probably not a topic for today." By late afternoon, we had another go with the Prudential's finance director, Nic Nicandrou. "I'm responsible for many things in my job but one of the things I don't do is set my own remuneration..." And so it went on.

Greek bond banks on national pride

The Greek government is planning what has been dubbed a "diaspora bond". The country has found hitting the bond markets so prohibitively expensive after its near-default last year, that it has changed focus and hopes to raise $3bn from investors of Greek descent living in the US by appealing to their national pride. Investors will be asking themselves: Do they feel souv-lucky?