Pembroke: Potent mix at Hickson

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The Independent Online
Wild rumours have been circulating about a rumbustious investors' meeting in Leeds last week. A group of institutions, together with representatives from Hoare Govett, were visiting Hickson International, the chemicals company. The party repaired to a local restaurant where, word has it, things started getting a bit lively.

One story has Hickson's chief executive, Dennis Kerrison, launching a stinging attack on the City in general and on Martin Evans, a Hoare Govett analyst, in particular. Another has the group ending up in a nightclub where more boisterous behaviour ensued.

Nonsense, says Mr Kerrison. 'I've heard these rumours and I don't understand where they're coming from. The only thing I said to Martin was perhaps he should do a bit more research and a bit less talking. But I was only pulling his leg. I think someone is just trying to stir things up.'

Hoare Govett, too, is mystified by the stories. What can it all mean?

George Cole will no longer be laughing all the way to the Leeds. The advertising partnership between the Arthur Daley character and the building society is drawing to a matey close after 10 years. After dragging himself through 19 East End sing-song commercials for something as dreary as a Liquid Gold savings account, Cole is presumably glad to escape.

When the splendidly named Joss Trout joins Nomura as head of the equity capital markets group in August, his new colleagues will have to forgive the occasional theatrical gesture. They've hooked a former actor.

The 37-year-old Oxford graduate spent four years on the stage, mostly in fringe shows, after serving as president of the dramatic society at Oxford. ' I think he started getting interested in business after organising some festivals,' says a colleague. He joins after nine years at Swiss Bank Corporation.

We've had downsizing, rightsizing and even the American expression decruit. Now comes another obscure phrase for the uncomfortable word redundancy. Step forward DuPont, the chemicals company, which yesterday announced that 'involuntary separations' will be required.

Paul Walton, UK strategist at James Capel, must be going through an identity crisis. Since winning the 'best piece of research' title in the Extel rankings of City analysts, he has been called everything from Peter to Mr Wilton (admittedly by this column yesterday). But the multi-monikered City man is taking it all in good humour. He also points out that the highly praised research was a joint effort. 'Mark Tinker and Stewart Breed of the James Capel research department did most of the work,' he says. 'Being an adept manager, I just took all the credit.'