Pembroke: Some headhunters have a heart

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The Independent Online
INTERESTING to see the different reactions within the world of executive search to BBC1's Headhunters series, which began on Sunday. The programme, in case you missed it, portrayed headhunters as suit-wearing assassins who would trade their first-born for a decent CV to put on their shortlist.

In the world of director- level search, the reaction was typically snooty. No, no, nothing like the real thing, dear boy. 'I can't see it doing us any damage,' said Michael Brandon of Korn Ferry Carre Oborn. Sir John Trelawny, chairman of Goddard Kay Rogers, was equally lofty. 'I thought the person portrayed was singularly nasty. Whereas most of the people I work with are very nice.'

City headhunters seemed to love it. You could almost hear the braces twanging at the thought of being seen as someone who drives fast cars and quaffs champagne after wrecking someone's business. 'There is a lot of aggressive talking and you need to be driven in both your private life and your business life,' rapped one. But he did admit that the suicide of the elderly lawyer whose star entertainment department was snatched away 'probably didn't do us any favours.'

MICK NEWMARCH will have to be at his pugilistic best later this month when he fronts a Prudential conference aimed at independent financial advisers. The event will be hosted by Sir David Frost, who will tackle him with questions supplied from the floor. No worries, says the Pru. 'Mr Newmarch is good in spontaneous situations. He won't prepare. He'll do it cold.' An invitation to disaster, surely?

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THE LUCKY purchaser of the Foravan House Hotel, near Aberdeen, may get a little more than he bargained for. The 18th century pile comes complete with resident ghost.

Guests at the 18-bedroom country house hotel near Newburgh (asking price: pounds 350,000) have fled from spooks. And one businessman asked to be moved after feeling a clammy hand on his shoulder.

The manager, Robert White, remains unbothered by tales of non-paying guests drifting through walls. 'I've never seen anything in the five years I've been here, but some residents say they have.' He feels that the restless spirit may be an attractive selling point.

ADMIRERS of the high altar candlesticks at Canterbury Cathedral might like to know that the pair are being lovingly restored to their gold-leaf splendour by Louise Mynheer, a 23-year-old caterer who used to run an office sandwich round.

'She did a short course and picked this up as her first assignment,' says Geoff Seymour of Girobank's press office. Very interesting, but why is he telling us this? 'She's my daughter,' he beams.

MIDLAND BANK seems to have its own interpretation of 'back to basics'. Judging by an exhibition the bank is sponsoring at the Royal Academy at the end of this month, it means teaching schoolchildren about the ways of the world by getting them to draw nudes.

Midland's 'Lessons In Life' is part of its Outreach programme, which takes on a whole new meaning in this context. The bank has sponsored 3,000 secondary-school children on one-day life- drawing classes, the results of which will be shown at the exhibition. A good piece of sponsorship, you might think. But would it tempt you to open an account?

THE LATEST circular issued by LWT in its attempt to fight off Granada's bid does not augur well. At least, not if its title is anything to go by. Headed 'Where's the beef' it sounds good, but Greg Dyke, the Harvard business school graduate who heads LWT, might like it less when he recalls its origins. First coined as an advertising slogan by Wendy's, the hamburger chain, it was then adopted by Walter Mondale, the Democratic presidential candidate who fought Ronald Reagan in 1984. And look what happened to him.

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