Pembroke: An alarming way to conduct a headcount

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The Independent Online
NOW that Matthew Clark has finally got its hands on Gaymer, the Babycham and K Cider drinks business, staff should keep their eyes on Peter Huntley, the company's director of strategy.

When Matthew Clark was looking to buy Gaymer a couple of years ago, the Australian Mr Huntley paid a visit to the cider company's West Country offices to do a spot of due diligence. On arrival, he got the impression there were rather a lot of staff. Keen to get a more precise idea on numbers, he pressed the fire alarm and then counted them on the way out.

THE Birmingham branch of the accountants Price Waterhouse has resorted to desperate measures in the property market. The firm is offering pounds 1m to anyone who will take its old Brummie office off its hands, as the place is proving a beancounter's worst nightmare.

PW vacated the offices on Edmund Street two years ago but is still paying the pounds 850,000 a year rent. The eight-storey building has only one tenant, who is chipping in pounds 220,000, leaving the accountants paying the rest.

'I wouldn't call it desperate,' PW's indignant surveyor says. 'It's just a different marketing approach. The market up here has been very tough.'

SARAH Heward, the new managing director of the Corney & Barrow wine bar group, has big plans when she takes the job in December. In addition to the City bars, she would like to open one in Fleet Street and then target the West End.

Ms Heward says she is 'thrilled to bits' at her new job, and so, it seems, are some of her customers. A bunch of regulars at the Fleet Place branch invited her in for a few celebratory glasses yesterday and presented her with an 18 carat gold Cross pen.

EMBARRASSMENT at a performance of Richard III at the Theatre Royal in York this week. At the play's conclusion the lead actor was scaling some wire mesh before, as the script demands, being impaled with spears by Henry VII's men.

All did not go to plan. At the end of the performance the actor was left pinned to the netting, unable to descend to take his bow.

When he finally freed himself, the actor appeared to be in some pain as one of the spears had hit him in the groin.

Appropriately the performance was sponsored by General Accident. As the insurer's slogan on the programme stated: 'A hard act to follow.'

SYDNEY Pennington, formerly managing director of Virgin Atlantic, has traded his wings for a more sedate world. He is now managing director of The Insurance Service, a subsidiary of Royal Insurance.

Mr Pennington will find a few familiar tensions at Royal's Bristol headquarters. Richard Gamble, the chief executive, is a former director of Virgin's arch- rival, British Airways.

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