Pembroke: Saddled with new responsibilities

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The former Jockey Club chief executive, Christopher Haines, was awarded a new mount yesterday when he moved up to become an executive director of Yorkshire Foods. Mr Haines has been a non-executive of the recently floated fruit and nuts group for two years.

The appointment gives the former amateur jockey his first full-time job since March, when he stepped down from the Jockey Club after three years in the saddle. During his tenure Mr Haines and the senior steward, Lord Hartington, lobbied Whitehall for fairer treatment of the Sport of Kings.

The result was two Budgets viewed as winners inside the Jockey Club offices. Betting duty was reduced and a change in tax law enabling racehorse owners to register for VAT helped to save the breeding industry in Britain.

At Yorkshire Foods Mr Haines will head a sugar trading group, an area where he has some form. He is a former chairman of the sugar group James Budgett.

There might be a lump in Jim Butler's throat tomorrow when the grand old man of KPMG Peat Marwick bows out after 41 years with the accountancy firm. Mr Butler joined the firm of Peat Marwick Mitchell as a humble articled clerk in 1952 on a salary of pounds 150 a year and worked his way up to the rather better remunerated position of senior partner.

There will be no fuss at the firm's offices as the real send- off is being saved until 12 January, when 500 senior City brethren attend a function at Merchant Taylors' Hall.

Mr Butler, 64, does not plan to spend his retirement kicking his heels. He is eager to spend more time on his 500-acre arable farm in Hampshire, where he specialises in growing milling wheat, malt and barley. He is also finalising a couple of non-executive directorships with top-100 companies to go with his chairmanship of the Royal Opera House Trust.

'I can't say I'm looking forward to retirement but I've enjoyed my time here and it's the right time to go,' he says.

Brian Smouha, senior liquidator of BCCI and partner at Touche Ross, obviously allowed the heat to go to his head on a trip to Abu Dhabi to confer with the government. While there, Mr Smouha thought it would be a good idea to go suitably attired to a bar in his hotel. He turned up looking not unlike Lawrence of Arabia.

Unfortunately, the person who supplied the outfit had not told him that it was a special costume to be worn only by very senior members of society, such as sheikhs. A fellow expat recognised this potential gaffe and told Mr Smouha he'd better get changed - which he did. No damage done. Just a wounded pride.

County Durham might not seem like obvious cowboy country but Ben Wilson, a former lorry driver, is set to earn a fistful of pounds by selling cowboy stetsons in an old mining area.

In an example of entrepreneurship Baroness Thatcher would have been proud of, the 52-year-old country and western fan sank his redundancy money into a cowboy shop in Horden, County Durham.

Leather chaps to protect legs from imaginary cactus clumps (price pounds 55) and imitation Colt 45s at pounds 56 have been selling to would-be Clint Eastwoods by the wagon-load.

As things go from bad to worse at Euro Disney, Mickey's doomsayers may like to pay a visit to the bookmakers William Hill. They have opened the book on the theme park closing next year and are quoting rather attractive odds of 20-1.

Other events tipped for next year by William Hill's punters include John Major's exit from Downing Street (6-4), Bill Clinton's resignation (8-1) and a 1994 general election (5-1).

Punters with a few spare pounds to throw away could place a wager on Mr Blobby delivering the 1994 Queen's speech. The odds: 50,000-1.

(Photograph omitted)

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