Pembroke: Cadbury taste

It is ironic that the long-awaited splitting of the chairman and chief executive roles at Barclays Bank involves a chain of players for whom the separation of the twin pillars of corporate power has not come easily.

Martin Taylor, the incoming chief executive, was formerly chairman and chief executive of Courtaulds Textiles. He was handed the joint role by Sir Christopher Hogg, who had held both roles for 10 years. More significant was that Sir Christopher was an adviser to the Cadbury committee, which recommended that the roles of chairman and chief executive should be split. Now, with his protege decamped to join Andrew Buxton at Barclays, Sir Christopher will once more be chairman at Courtaulds Textiles. But not chief executive as well, obviously.

Sipko Huismans, chief executive of Courtaulds, who used to work closely with Martin Taylor, has not wasted any time getting in a good word for his colleague. 'I have a very large mortgage with Barclays and I'm sure that under Martin they will go from strength to strength,' he says hopefully.

Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, Volkswagen's embattled chief of purchasing and production, does seem to court controversy.

The 52-year-old Spaniard's views on fighting the Japanese car industry, including putting staff on liquid and cereal warrior diets, are well known. But in an interview with Bloomberg Business News, he became quite irate about the people from the land of the economic miracle.

'Unfortunately they are different,' he observes of the Japanese. 'I don't like their way of living.' If the European and American car manufacturers lose their contest with the Japanese, he warns, 'then sooner or later you will have the same style of living as your bosses'.

Conceding magnanimously that the Japanese are 'intelligent people, good people', with 'a lot of merit' he then lapses back to his original theme that the nationality of a company's owners does affect the welfare of its workers. Alpen and orange juice it is, then.

It has come to this: the British can't even make the best tea any longer. The Tea Council has handed its award for best in-flight cuppa to American Airlines.

The Americans are suitably chuffed. 'It is important for us to win awards outside the United States because it proves we're gaining acceptance,' a spokesman says. American Airlines now plans to extend its choice of teas from one (Liptons blend).

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