Credit Crisis Diary: 16/04/2009

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A family business with grand ambitions

Curious goings-on in Knightsbridge, where John Duffield is sub-letting an entire floor of the former HQ of New Star, the fund manager he founded and was subsequently forced to see sold to Henderson after it got into financial difficulties. As we report on page 44, Mr Duffield plans to launch a new fund management business, Hyde Park. But why do his PR people insist Hyde Park has been set up purely to run the Duffield family fortune? The clan presumably has a bob or two, but do they really need the whole floor of a Knightsbridge office block, or a separate chief executive in the form of John Jay, the ex-New Star marketing director?

Not a carriage clock

The pressure group Art Not Oil has a retirement present for Peter Sutherland, the BP chairman who is set to stand down later this year. The question is whether Mr Sutherland, who will chair his last BP agm today, will accept the gift, a T-shirt with this rather lovely logo festooned upon it, above. Art Not Oil will find out shortly – they plan to turn up at the agm to hand over the T-shirt in person.

Still flying high at shareholders' expense

Don't think all those fat-cat businessmen are using public transport now they've been forced to sell the corporate jets in the face of public opprobrium. Jet Republic, an independent company that hires out posh planes on day rates, says 10 per cent of its sales now come from the corporate sector – five times what it normally sees.

Phorm sinks on Amazon

Phorm, the clever-but-controversial targeted internet advertising company, is having a bad week. First, it emerged that the European Commission may take legal action against the UK for allowing Phorm to operate in the way it does. And now it turns out Amazon, the biggest online retailer of them all, has exercised its right to opt every single one of its website users out of the service.

Sticky wicket for Surrey

Surrey's county cricket side started the new season yesterday as they ended the last one – watching the opposition rack up a huge total of runs. Maybe they were put off by an announcement made before the first ball was bowled – the club's profits fell almost 20 per cent last year.