Pembroke: High turnover at Coopers

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The Independent Online
COOPERS & LYBRAND in New York has taken the adage 'out with the old and in with the new' to extremes. The firm has ousted 160 partners over the past year and shuffled in 131 new ones, including Richard Breedon, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Coopers declined to elaborate on how many of the partners were asked to leave and how many left of their own accord or retired.

The New York office was being a little defensive yesterday about the reasons for what is quite clearly a big shake-up, saying that the whole exercise was part of a strategy to improve efficiency and re-assign senior partners from administrative functions to client services.

'We've put out a statement and we don't really have any more to add,' a spokesman said.

COOPERS might be contracting but one of its rivals was expanding yesterday, exposing a new territory to those who like their sums. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu announced that it was moving into Vietnam, the first of the big six to inflict itself on the socialist republic.

With the Monopolies and Mergers Commission handing in its report on perfume prices to the DTI yesterday, Next, the retailer, has launched a new perfume with all the attendant twaddle that perfume advertising seems to attract.

Called Sempre, the fragrance, we are told, 'was created to capture the spirit of Next'. It will appeal to women's femininity, 'whilst retaining all the ethics of the Next customer'. The packaging gets plenty of attention too. 'The carton is silky smooth and pale cream.' The bottle has 'a warm gold top' which is 'the high point of the colour palette'. It is also less than pounds 20 so it's quite cheap.

FOREIGN & COLONIAL Emerging Markets is getting quite worked up about the appointment of Dr Arnab Banerji as chief investment officer. We have heard about a car accident that ended a promising career as an opthamlmic surgeon. Now we learn from F&C's PR advisers that Dr Banerji is a Bengali Brahmin, the top Indian caste, and that his new fund manager, Sanjit Talukdar, is half Bengali Brahmin and half Punjabi Kshatriya, the cast of warriors and kings.

All this is upsetting Dr Banerji no end. 'My father spent a lot of time fighting against caste issues and I personally find all these references rather embarassing,' he says. 'It has no effect whatever on the way I live my life.' All he wants to do when he takes up the post next week is to get cracking on plans for a new Indian fund.

INTERESTING to see that British Gas, which is to lose its monopoly of the domestic user market, has been referring to everything in therms. Domestic users had therms withdrawn from their bills over a year ago, when they were replaced by the utterly confusing units of kilowatt hours.

The company says that the change was made to bring Britain into line with Europe but that it has retained the use of therms because the MMC proposals used therms and they were big round numbers. Domestic users who may be confused are directed by British Gas to the back of their bills where the easy-to-remember formula, one therm equals 29.3071 kilowatt hours, is printed.