Pembroke: A flaming costly symbol

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The Independent Online
I suppose it was only a matter of time before British Gas jumped on the new logo bandwagon. Now it is spending pounds 3m to do just that. Its new corporate identity, a flickering red and blue flame inside a natty blue globe, is supposed to suggest all kinds of wonderful things about the company, such as how global it is, how modern it is and, somehow, what an excellent reputation it has.

'We are still British and we are still in gas,' chairman Richard Giordano said helpfully at the annual meeting in Birmingham yesterday. But the new design is supposed to reflect the company's evolving international role. 'The old logo was a bit 1970s,' says designer Coley Porter Bell, which oversaw the project.

Anxious to calm stroppy gas customers still chafing at the prospect of VAT on fuel bills, British Gas says the new logo will replace the old one over a five-year period 'to keep costs down'.

They are obviously feeling the decline of influence over at the head offices of British Coal. Wandering around Hobart House the other day, a colleague remarked how empty the once-busy building now seemed. 'I know,' sighed the coal man. 'All corridors. No power.'

Hobart House may be a shadow of its former self these days, but entrepreneurship in the coalfields is not dead. A Rotherham company, backed by British Coal Enterprise Board, is flogging Yorkshire puddings to the French. Kenay Foods sent a trial batch of puds and they went down a treat. Now director John May is planning to export the long-standing family recipe across Europe.

Kenay is whipping up 300,000 puddings a week and plans to increase production to a million.

A flurry of action in the 'magic circle' of top London divorce lawyers. Helen Ward, formerly pounds 200-an-hour head of family law at Penningtons, is forsaking the firm to tie the knot with a competitor. She is joining Manches & Co, where she will team up with Jane Simpson, another of London's elite group of matrimonial lawyers.

'This appointment gives us an extremely strong team in this area,' says Alasdair Simpson, the firm's senior partner and Jane Simpson's husband. Ms Ward, who is in Budapest attending a matrimonial law conference, is steeped in the business. Her husband is Alan Ward, a High Court judge in the family division.

Once described as a rottweiler, she prefers to think of herself as more of a retriever. 'She has great strength of character, but I wouldn't call her a rottweiler,' Mr Simpson says.

The Bring Your Daughter to Work day was being claimed as a great success yesterday by its organisers, the Office of Public Management, which says 100,000 teenage girls took part. But some of the companies that played host to the students with a view to broadening their career horizons might wonder why they bothered.

BP arranged an expensive three- way video conference link between 20 girls in London, Cleveland and Houston. At the end of the day an eager BP chaperone asked the girls if they would like to join the mighty oil company when they finished school. Not one of them did.

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