Pembroke: Bic's board sails into new era, sort of

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The Independent Online
BARON MARCEL BICH, the 78-year-old president of the disposable pen makers Bic, stepped down last week from the company he founded in 1950. (European Business and Industry, by the way, lists Bic's products as writing implements, lighters, razors and, unexpectedly, sailboards). His son Bruno, who succeeds him, must have been wondering if his moment would ever come.

Not that Bruno can now expect a working life free of family input - in fact he'll be hard pressed not to trip over relations at every turn. Two more Biches (the cognoscenti pronounce it Beesh), Francois and Claude, sit on the governing body. There's also an Antoine, and eight other brothers and sisters who are variously shareholders, employees or advisers to the company.

NEWS OF PROGRESS on the jobs front for the offspring of another business dynasty, this time the O'Reilly family, whose clan chief is Tony O'Reilly, president and chief executive of Heinz. Of Dr O'Reilly's three sons, the eldest, Tony, is chief exec and executive director of Arcon, an exploration company, in which his dad owns a 23 per cent stake.

Another son, Cameron, has a boardroom position at Independent Directories, a subsidiary of Independent Newspapers, an Irish newspaper group of which his father owns 28 per cent. He is also on the board of Australian Provincial Newspapers, a group controlled jointly by an O'Reilly family trust and Independent Newspapers.

And last week the third son, Gavin, joined Cameron at Independent Directories as managing director. Clearly Dr O'Reilly believes that his children are as bountifully endowed with business acumen as himself.

A NOSTALGIC HUMMING and droning swept this office with the news that Carpetright, Sir Phil Harris's new group, which is floating this week, has bought the rights to the song Tiger Feet, by Mud, for an advertising campaign.

Tiger Feet, for those on the wrong side of the generation gap, was a big hit in the early 1970s. According to people who should have better things to remember, the lyric ran approximately thus: 'That's right, that's right, that's right, that's right, I really love your tiger light, That's neat, that's neat (etc, etc,) I really love your tiger feet.'

Thanks to Sir Phil's 24-year-old son, who works in the marketing department and thought up the adverts, the chorus now goes: 'That's right, that's right, that's right, that's right, we really love that Carpetright . . .'