Pembroke: Left in a daze

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The Independent Online
THE ATMOSPHERE at the Financial Times's smoked glass office on Southwark Bridge was said to be one of 'dazed euphoria' after the unexpected departure of its long-serving chief executive David Palmer, who joined the paper straight from university as their yachting correspondent. He is thought to have cleared his desk after a meeting last Wednesday with Frank Barlow, managing director of parent company Pearson, revealed irreconcilable 'differences in management style'.

Insiders say there has never been much love lost between Mr Palmer and Mr Barlow, who yesterday succeeded Lord Blakenham as chairman of the Financial Times Group. Staff at the paper are said to be looking forward to a new era of reasonableness and charm under the advertising and marketing director David Bell, a long-time colleague of Mr Palmer who leapfrogs into his post.

MEANWHILE, the dust should begin settling at the Economist, where Marjorie Scardino, the sparky president of The Economist North America, is succeeding David Gordon as chief executive. In a memo to staff she explained: 'Every American child is told that he can grow up to be President. Every American child is not told that she can grow up to be President but this subtlety I appreciated too late.'

IN THE PAST, when we've tried to get hold of chairmen and chief executives to talk to them about their company's results, they've obligingly called in from the draughty, noisy, corridors of express trains thundering north from Euston, from crackling mobile telephones, from holidays in the Maldives - even, on one occasion, from a doctor's surgery.

But try and talk to Sir Desmond Lorimer, chairman of Lamont Holdings, which reported final profits down by a fifth yesterday, and you have a big problem. Sir Desmond was out of contact from midday onwards.

'Oooh, you'll have to talk to him tomorrow,' said a lady at Lamont's headquarters. 'He's not expected back this afternoon - and you can't get hold of him. Is the company accountant any good?

'We are,' she confided, in the tones of one situated several time-zones hence, 'based in Belfast, you know.'

AFTER months of gestation, the Central Statistical Office's glamorous new press release design (ahem) hit the streets with yesterday's credit business figures. Alas - the CSO's graphics department has been prevailed upon to drop its original idea of using an unlit light-bulb as a logo. Insufficiently illuminating, apparently.