Pembroke: Time to take a bow

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Two of Britain's oldest board directors took a step away from the limelight yesterday. Lord Cayzer, 84, stepped down as chairman of Caledonian Investments after 38 years and his first cousin, the 81-year-old Lord Rotherwick, has retired for health reasons. Lord Cayzer, who still skips into the office twice a week and will remain a director, is a former doyen of the shipping industry. He was chairman of British and Commonwealth for nearly 30 years, bowing out in 1987 before the good ship B&C took the shipping canal to oblivion.

Lord Cayzer was out of the country so was not able to comment on his move into the penumbra of corporate life. 'Even if he was in the country I don't think he would say anything,' said Caledonian chief executive Peter Buckley.

Financial bookmaker IG Index has opened a 'grey market' in House of Fraser, the retail chain due to float next month. The bookies, which have previously only bothered with the privatisation issues, have opened their book with a spread of 200p-205p for the opening price, a premium to the 180p at which the shares are being offered.

'People are mulling it over and reading up on it and seeing if they think we are way out on the price,' says an IG man.

How's this for short-term advertising? It's the boat race this weekend and the wise men at NatWest Bank have decided to kick off a witty personal loans campaign with a scene from the race in 1978. This, you may recall, was the year when the poor Cambridge eight sank. 'The last time our personal loan rates were this low Cambridge was flooded by the Thames,' jests the strapline.

The ad is part of a series by agency Holder Wilson Pearce & Bailey. Presumably NatWest has thought of the potential adverse reaction at Cambridge University - and I thought banks liked to cultivate students.

BZW director Michael Connors made a rather unfortunate slip of the tongue yesterday at the London launch of the Dow Jones Telerate UK markets service. Mr Connors, author of a book called The race to the intelligent state: towards the global information economy of 2005, was speaking on global information technology while also making reference to some of the social side-effects, such as widespread unemployment and general misery. 'Information technology has created the pre-conditions for the Third World scenario,' he said. 'Sorry, I meant third wave. The Third World comes later.'

An intrepid City worker who trudged across Greenland last year will share his experience next week. Stephen Jones, a director of Close Brothers, which sponsored the trip, is giving a talk on the crossing to a City audience at Close's offices in Cheapside.

Now fully recovered from his exertions, he is already contemplating his next trip. 'I'm thinking about going back to the Himalayas or to Antarctica. But that would be rather expensive,' he says.

Close Brothers coughed up pounds 20,000 for the Greenland expedition, but Mr Jones feels the pounds 250,000 it would take to fund an Antarctic trip might be pushing his luck.

(Photograph omitted)