Candidates for the job, which traditionlly goes to the US, the biggest shareholder, are Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Lawrence Summers, US Treasury undersecretary and a former World Bank chief economist, and James Wohlfensohn who, like Mr Preston, is a Wall Street banker.
With developing countries becoming increasingly assertive at world organisations, the emollient banker is pulling ahead of the straight-talking Mr Summers, who caused outrage during his former stint at the World Bank by suggesting it would make economic sense for developing nations to clean up the pollution and waste of the industrial world.
Instead of preparing for confrontation with France at Twickenham tomorrow, Will Carling, the England rugby captain, was in the City yesterday launching a partnership between his Insights employee motivation company and KPMG. A recent KPMG survey of company directors found Mr Carling was believed to have potential as a leader, with great business skills. They had clearly forgiven his decision in the 1990 Calcutta Cup to run a crucial penalty against Scotland which, when it failed, cost England the match.
A flag-waver of good cheer Let us hear a cheer for Sir David Scholey, chairman of SG Warburg, who has been waving the flag for Britain on Michael Heseltine's trade mission to Japan. Only the most churlish observer would suggest the patriotic banker mighttake the opportunity to promote the arguments of Northern Electric, his client, that the President refer Trafalgar House's bid to the MMC.
One does not associate the normally placid pages of Country Living magazine with the techniques of demonstration and revolt normally pedalled by hippies and crusties. This month, between the pages on furniture polish, Agas and quiche recipes is a guide to running your own anti-road campaign, Fight The Planners.
My apologies to the Labour Party's Chris Smith who, as shadow heritage secretary, has nothing to do with Andrew Smith, the Treasury spokesman whose amendment to the Finance Bill has caused such merriment.