Pembroke: Adding a dash of colour

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The Independent Online
BERLEY, the London firm of chartered accountants which has appointed Peter Catto as its chairman, has brought a welcome dash of colour to the grey world of corporate beancounting. Mr Catto chairs Catto Animation, a London gallery specialising in cartoon works, and with his wife Gillian co-owns the Catto Gallery in north London, where an exhibition of Tony Curtis paintings has just finished.

Even his professional life has a touch of celebrity. When a partner at the accountants Casson Beckman a few years ago he acted for Barbara Cleese in her divorce from the former Monty Python comic John Cleese.

Recalling the chartered accountant sketch where the Python team portayed the profession as a band of dull, bowler hat-wearing stereotypes, he spotted an opportunity.

'I told her that I didn't normally take that kind of assignment but in that case I would make an exception,' he said.

SALOMON Brothers has hired a cosmopolitan bright spark as its new Italian equity strategist in London. Jetting in from Milan comes 30-year- old Kevin Tempestini.

Mr Tempestini was born in Kentucky, spent 25 years in Florence and arrives at Salomon from Euromobiliere in Milan. No doubt his new colleagues will think up a suitably waggish nickname for the new boy when he glides through the portals next week.

STEWART Helstead, whose job involves persuading people to purchase Reliant Robin three-wheelers, is not a happy bunny. Yesterday the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders issued monthly figures showing that Reliant sold the grand total of one car in May.

'I nearly had a thrombosis,' spluttered the bouncy Reliant sales director. He claims the company sold 15 four-wheel Sabre 1.4 cars last month plus around 100 three-wheeled Robin and Rialto models. An animated discussion with the SMMT is expected.

AN ENTREPRENEURIAL Yorkshire couple have started a novel strand to their butcher business: mail order bacon.

Chris and Barbara Battle, who run a shop at Oakworth, near Keighley, started the dial-a-rasher service last month. Now they say it has taken off so well they are to introduce other goods such as black pudding.

GERRY Whent, ebullient chairman of the mobile phone group Vodafone, was piling on the excuses at yesterday's results meeting. Was the company's 21 per cent churn rate (the rate at which customers discontinue their service) not a trifle high?

Not at all, protested Mr Whent. Taking into account the death rate, people emigrating and those going to prison (totalling 15 per cent, he said) the figure was really quite good.

VISITORS seemed to be admiring rather than buying yesterday at Asprey, the Bond Street jeweller, as it opened an exhibition of Audemars Piguet watches.

'These are for women whose husbands do not have to worry about how much they have in the bank,' commented one director, pointing to a set of emerald and ruby studded timepieces. He wasn't joking. The price tag on one three-piece set: pounds 1.1m.