Credit crisis diary: Fry feels the heat
Thursday 12 March 2009
John Fry, chief executive of Johnston Press, didn't have the best of days yesterday. Not only did he have to unveil more than £400m of losses, admit more job cuts were on the way and concede his company faced question marks over its survival, but when he arrived at his City PR adviser Mr Fry was accosted by striking Yorkshire Post staff who had travelled to London to hold him to account. That's presumably what the company meant, in its results presentation, when it said it was "fostering constructive relations with union officials".
Third time lucky for Bolton?
At the risk of being accused of shooting fish in a barrel, it's difficult to resist poking fun at Anthony Bolton, Fidelity's stock-picking guru, who was out and about calling the bottom of the bear market yesterday. He may be right, but this is the third time in six months that Mr Bolton has made that forecast. UK equities are off by a third since he first suggested a recovery was imminent in late September.
Sticking the knife into budget carriers
Tony Fernandes, founder of Air Asia X, the new budget long-haul carrier, didn't miss an opportunity to be mean about rival operators yesterday. Interviewed on Channel Four News, he was asked whether the company was effectively a long-haul version of easyJet or Ryanair. "We have the operating efficiencies of easyJet," Mr Fernandes replied. "But we think it doesn't cost anything to be nice."
Diary clash could leave Darling red-faced
Alistair Darling's budget is so late this year – 22 April – it coincides with the International Monetary Fund's next big meeting. The IMF is renowned for taking a much gloomier view about the prospects for the UK economy than the Chancellor, and with both releasing forecasts at the same time, the discrepancy could prove embarrassing.
Call off the lawyers
Sir Fred Goodwin may be public enemy number one right now, but that doesn't mean you can just say absolutely anything about him. Hence the rather red-faced email that went round the City yesterday afternoon from Martha Fumagalli, publicity manager for the publishing group Kogan Page, who wanted to withdraw an earlier message. "I realised that my heading of this morning: 'Fred Goodwin: Is he really a crook?' was clumsy and inexact," said poor Martha. "So, please ignore it: it was devised in a rush and doesn't picture reality correctly."
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