Pembroke: A fabulous list of favourite things

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The Independent Online
TIRED OF ALL the publicity she has received as a result of Jennifer Saunders' Absolutely Fabulous, PR Queen Lynne Franks is trying to deflect some of the glare on to her youthful managing director, 29-year-old Samantha Royston. Would we like to profile Ms Royston, inquires a missive from her company? Not really, no. But her CV is worth a look.

Surely only people in PR or advertising would list their hobbies as surfing and playing frisbee? But, for anyone interested, a list of favourite things reveals Ms Royston's preferred car (a Carmen Ghia), best football team (Arsenal), and star sign (Gemini)?

THINGS DIDN'T go quite as planned at the FT's World Telecommunications conference held at London's InterContinental hotel yesterday. Mobile phones weren't working near the main hall because of poor reception, so frustrated delegates had to scurry into the corridors or foyer to make their calls. One poor individual, Pekka Ala- Pietila of Nokia mobile phones of Finland, missed his lunch trying to find somewhere where he could make a decent connection.

TO PARLIAMENT, where a clutch of Treasury mandarins are sniffily submitting to the scrutiny of the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee. Are the officials on performance-related pay, asks one of the Labour MPs on grilling duty. Yes, they chorus. But does it improve motivation? Less agreement here. One official says that only 2 per cent of his salary is affected but that it makes quite a difference to him.

Then another fresh-faced Treasury official pipes up: 'Most people in the Treasury are very highly motivated anyway.' There is no response to that.

BEFORE YOU send off those chocolate liqueurs to Granny, consider this: the real target market is young men who like the 'kick' they get from chomping on the sweets and feeling the liquid ooze out. This sex and chocolate scandal comes to us courtesy of Elizabeth Shaw, purveyor of upmarket choccies.

We had hoped to change the packaging from the rather gaudy, flashy colours, but it turns out the men like it, say the designers commissioned to re-package the brand. This Christmas, Elizabeth Shaw is marketing a his and hers range - gold and burgundy for the men and a more subtle ivory for the women.

NICE TO SEE that John Ansdell is back in the frame. He, you may recall, was the finance director of Trafalgar House whose head rolled into the basket in May after a profits re-statement and a takeover from Hongkong Land.

This background has not put off Creston, the property group, now being renamed Co-Ordinated Land and Estates. It has just appointed Mr Ansdell as a non-executive director (salary pounds 7,500 a year) with added responsibilities as right-hand man to Tom King, the managing director. 'The last thing we wanted was anyone with a tarnished image,' says Mr King. 'In our due diligence on John all the evidence suggested we had got a bit of a coup.' Mr Ansdell remains in the market for a full-time job. 'I don't know exactly what I want to do,' he says.

(Photograph omitted)

MORE GRIM news for parents. Sega has just gloatingly announced that its wildly expensive video games are the number one sellers at Hamleys in London. With the mega drive hardware costing pounds 130, this only shows that either some mums and dads have more money than sense or don't have the heart to try and palm little Johnny off with Captain Scarlett instead.

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