Pembroke: Man from the AA is relayed to the Midland

The AA is to lose a very nice man. A very, very nice man, in fact. Noel Privett, the breakdown service's head of media relations, is off to join Midland Bank next month. He will replace Brendan Le Morvan, the bank's long-serving head of PR who announced some months ago that he planned to retire.

'I've been here four years so I think this move represents an interesting new challenge,' said the diplomatic Mr Privett.

He has a couple of weeks off before taking up the Midland post. He has no exotic plans, and is staying at home in Hampshire for the school half-term with some light reading on banking.

Mr Le Morvan, who has served a 29-year sentence at the bank, plans to take things easy. 'He's an ardent Manchester United supporter so he's in seventh heaven at the moment,' says a colleague.

The gongs were handed out at the Institute of Public Relations' annual love-in the other day. Always keen to put a gloss on things, the PR world doesn't just call them awards but 'swords of excellence', where winners receive old swords for the best public relations campaigns. 'Daggers of duplicity' was how the Guardian editor and chairman of the judges Peter Preston described them.

But 'cutlass of catastophe' might be more accurate for the award for best financial campaign of the year. This went to Lansons Communications for its campaign aimed at independent financial advisers.

Lansons' joint MD dropped the blade during the obligatory shaking of hands with the sponsor. Then Jill Boggiss, head of corporate communications at Kleinwort Benson, trod on the framed certificate breaking the glass. 'It was jealousy,' she said. (Lansons' campaign for Kleinworts only came second.)

Poor old Lucas. Not only has it been fined dollars 12m on one of its American operations, a US court has imposed a novel form of corporate governance on the company. The division, which admitted falsifying tests on missile launchers, will be kept on its toes by an official who will report directly to the Justice Department.

Suspect quality control, evidence of past misdemeanours, even personnel changes, will be monitored by Big Brother.

Park Foods, the Merseyside Christmas hamper company run by outgoing Tranmere Rovers chairman Peter Johnson, was doing its bit for charity yesterday. It handed over seven Sunshine coaches to the Variety Club of Great Britain led by Chief Barker Julia Morley.

The company raised pounds 100,000 by recycling waste paper, cardboard and polythene. The magician Paul Daniels and a lot of wet weather also graced the occasion.

They know a thing or two about classical music at N W Brown. Yesterday the Cambridge financial adviser and insurance specialist launched a specialist music division.

Director Nigel Brown is a bit of violin guru. He once put together a consortium to buy a pounds 500,000 Stradivari for the enfant terrible of classical music, Nigel Kennedy. He also acted for the fiddler when he bought an even more expensive Guarneri.

Mr Brown tells me that Kennedy, who is taking a break from the concerto circuit, is arranging some Jimi Hendrix material for the violin. 'It's an amazing sound,' he assures me.

(Photograph omitted)

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