The Business Week In Review: Airbus manufacturer, Pearson, RBS Insurance


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The Independent Online

In profit ...

EADS couldn't help but have an unsubtle dig at Boeing on Tuesday, when the Airbus manufacturer revealed that it had more orders than its main rival for the ninth successive year. John Leahy, Airbus' top salesman, beamed: "It's not just my fault, Boeing helped by not getting their act together."

Mind you, he had every right to be smug: Airbus out-ordered Boeing by nearly two-to-one, largely on the back of the launch of the fuel efficient A320 Neo aircraft and growing demand from Asia.

The $100m divorce battle involving the boss of Kurdistan-focused oil group Gulf Keystone Petroleum reached an end last week. This splendid romp involved complicated share trusts, gentlemen's expenses-paid entertainment and spending sprees with a Lithuanian lover. However, Ashley Kozel, now the ex-wife of Todd, is a single woman with a smile: she received nearly £50m of the company's stock as part of the divorce settlement.

Also grinning was long-serving Pearson chief executive Dame Marjorie Scardino, who upgraded the Financial Times publisher's profit forecast.

... at a loss

Sales of talking Churchill dog soft toys – £15.85 a mutt on the insurer's website – are expected to take a hit after RBS Insurance was fined £2.17m last week. Staff from Direct Line and Churchill were found to have altered customer files and forged signatures to pass regulatory checks.

The Financial Services Authority discovered the breaches in June 2010 and RBS avoided an even heftier fine of more than £3m by settling the case early. RBS Insurance chief executive Paul Geddes admitted that he was "very disappointed that we did not meet the standards we expect of ourselves", but there was no word on whether Churchill would be hanging up his collar in disgust at his colleagues' actions.

Jerry Yang was one senior business figure who did quit, leaving Yahoo, which he co-founded in 1995. Maybe he was thinking about the future of his 46.6m shares. Yang was considered by some analysts to be a drag on the stock price, with management now free to conduct a thorough review of the internet search engine's strategy.

More wreckage on the high street, with Peacocks collapsing into administration. Boss Richard Kirk expressed his "deep sadness".