Business Diary: Why it is time to lay off Sir Fred

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The Independent Online

We're as happy as anyone to give Sir Fred Goodwin a kicking, but it does strike us that picking on him is rather too much like shooting fish in a barrel. A new book from Matthew Hancock and Nadhim Zahawi, snapped up for serialisation by a Sunday newspaper, makes claims about Sir Fred's autocratic style of leadership at RBS, recounting some well-trodden gossip about the banker's fury when staff served the wrong biscuits at a meeting. The problem with knocking Sir Fred is that it's just too easy: since he has such a diminished reputation these days, people think they can say what they like about him.

Obama's magic didn't work

Bad news for the folk at Guinness, who have already been through one round of job cuts at the famous factory in Dublin where the black stuff is made. When President Obama was pictured drinking Guinness on his visit to Ireland in the spring, everyone assumed the marketing fillip would be tremendous. But it hasn't quite worked out that way: Diageo, Guinness's owners, warned yesterday that sales in Ireland – north and south of the border – are off 3 per cent so far this year and that there could be more job losses.

Hay should get in touch with Hays

Public-sector organisations are not doing enough to reduce their wage bills, according to a new report from the management consultancy Hay Group, even though this failure is putting jobs at risk. Perhaps Hay should have a word with its near-namesake Hays, the recruitment consultant that accidentally told the world earlier this week that it is recruiting consultants for taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland on rates that can go as high as £2,000 a day.

Microsoft gets its own back at last

News reaches us that Microsoft has finally gained its revenge on Apple after all these years of watching the upstart technology company's success with an all-consuming jealousy. Apparently, Steve Jobs's statement on Tuesday evening read "I reign as CEO of Apple" but he made the mistake of writing the statement in Microsoft Word, which did one of its quirky auto-correct things to the second word. And then there was no going back.