Owen to bowl for Middlesex

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The Independent Online

Lord Owen, the former Bosnian peacemaker, and Sir David Alliance, the Middle Eastern emigre who chairs Coats Viyella, have joined forces in a new corporate adventure.

The former SDP leader was appointed as chairman of Middlesex Holdings, a tiny mineral trading group with interests in the former Soviet Union.

He replaces Phil Edmonds, the former cricketer, who chaired the group for the past three years. Mr Edmonds, who enjoyed a successful career as a Middlesex and England off-spinner, will remain on the Middlesex board as a director until stepping down from the board at the company's annual meeting in June.

He yesterday raised pounds 850,000 when he sold 10 million shares in the company. He will retain 5 million shares. The shares rose from 8.25p to 9p yesterday.

Sir David also became involved when he formed a partnership with the company to export steel products worldwide from far-flung parts of the former Soviet empire.

It is Lord Owen's first executive directorship of a public company since he stepped down in the summer as the European Union's peace negotiator in Bosnia. Last year, he was appointed as a non-executive director of Coats Viyella, Sir David's textiles group, where he is paid pounds 20,000 a year.

At Middlesex he will be a part-time executive chairman on a salary of pounds 50,000 a year. He will also be awarded 10 million share options. It is not clear how many days a week Lord Owen will spend with the group.