Don't take the elevator! Linthwaite's past returns to haunt him
Have you ever dreaded getting into the office lift in the mornings with your boss, the secretary from accounts you had a dalliance with, or worse? Well spare a thought for Peter Linthwaite, the former chief executive of the British Venture Capital Association. Linthwaite was the highest-profile casualty of the Treasury Select Committee, chaired by John McFall, during its grillings into the buyout world last year. His dithering display, in which he was later described as "out of his depth", was followed by his prompt ousting. Luckily for Linthwaite he soon got a job at the investment arm of the Carbon Trust to banish the horrors of the past. Unluckily, though, his new employers are based in, er, the same West End offices as the BVCA – a couple of floors up. Oh to be a fly in the lift.
Into the camel's den
Spare a thought as well for Linthwaite's successor at the BVCA, Simon Walker, the former head of communications at Reuters who is due to make a speech at the GMB union's annual congress next month. It was the GMB that waged a war against the private equity industry, infamously venting its fury by parading a camel outside Permira boss Damon Buffini's church in south London. (Camel, eye of a needle etc.) As if to add insult to injury, we learn that Walker, who is believed to earn around £350,000, was second choice for the job. Neil Bentley, the CBI's director of public services policy, is thought to have been the first, and no doubt cheaper, choice.
Sovereign wealth left to sweat for the summer
It seems that Treasury Select Committee head honcho John McFall and his "pals" will have the summer to put together a list of questions to attack the great and the good of the sovereign wealth world. Earlier reports had the Scottish Rottweiler sharpening his claws to take on the funds' bosses before the break. But a committee spokeswoman tells us that there are "no plans" to grill anyone before Parliament shuts up shop.
Pillow talk is not part of the plan
Simon Milton, the newly installed senior planning adviser to London Mayor Boris Johnson, has hit back at conflict-of-interest allegations. Milton's civil partner, Robert Davis, is cabinet member for planning at Westminster City Council, where Milton will be leader until next month. Milton told 'Property Week' that he didn't think "one person should have to sacrifice their career just because they are in a relationship". Yes, but maybe Davis shouldn't have publicly joked about looking forward to "pillow talk" on Westminster planning decisions.
A must-miss interview
A collective scratching of heads in the office last week at CNBC's trumpeting of an exclusive interview with Ben Verwaayen, the departing chief executive at BT. Verwaayen on decision making: "I will jump without a parachute. I will jump without a parachute because only then can you make a change in an organisation." Confused? We were. On joining BT: "It's like buying a new car. If you don't want to buy a new car, don't go to the showroom." Needless to say we passed on watching the full interview.
Boring? If only the Chancellor's life were dull
No chance of fisticuffs at the CBI dinner last Tuesday, though president Martin Broughton did his damnedest to provoke guest of honour Alistair Darling. In his speech, Mr Broughton reminded the Chancellor that he was voted the most boring politician in Britain two years running earlier in the decade. Since then, "he has battled with almost everybody over capital gains tax", "scrapped with non-doms" and nationalised a bank. Chuckled Mr Broughton: "I suspect there were plenty of times over the last nine months when boring would have been just fine."
The walls, and windows, have ears
There are now just inches between the London headquarters of big four accountants Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), which is building its new base at London Bridge near City Hall. The close proximity of its rival is spooking staff at E&Y. "We are going to have to get blacked-out windows as they are right on top of us," says one disgruntled insider. The concerns come after rumours that PWC's top brass insisted on offices looking down on their rivals.
City bosses with hearts of gold. No, really
Is the city changing? After reports that JP Morgan bosses are ringing up their City chums seeking work for soon-to-be-redundant Bear Stearns employees, we hear Citigroup doing the same for its soon-to-be-unemployed staff. "The City gets its fair share of criticism – most of it totally legit – but the calls I've received this week are genuinely heart-warming," says one chief executive. "We're not always the heartless bastards we are made out to be by you lot!"
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