Pembroke: Whisky expert tries a younger malt

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ALAN GRAY, the Scotch whisky guru, whose annual review of the sector (price pounds 295) is a bible of the business, has switched camps. After 19 years with Charterhouse Tilney, including 16 years with Campbell Neill which was taken over by Charterhouse, he has joined Sutherland & Partners, a four-year-old Edinburgh stockbroker.

Mr Gray, 53, had become unsettled at Charterhouse, having found himself out on a limb in the private clients business in Glasgow. Sutherland, which is pleased with its coup, was tipped off by headhunters that the Charterhouse man might be in the market for a move.

'I was intrigued by Sutherlands and the commute to Edinburgh isn't too far from my home in Hamilton,' Mr Gray said.

Mr Gray will continue with his annual whisky review and head a research department that Sutherland plans to expand to cover the whole drinks sector.

STEPHEN RAYFIELD, deputy manager of the Marks & Spencer store in Cardiff, can expect brownie points for initiative if his latest brainwave takes off.

Today marks the opening of a drive-through sandwich bar at the Culverhouse Cross store. Shoppers passing the main entrance will be able to order sandwiches, yoghurt and drinks from one point then pick them up from another.

The M&S head office in Baker Street said it had nothing to do with the idea but was watching it closely.

'Many people drive past our main entrance and I thought it would be nice if they could pick up their sandwiches on the way past,' said Mr Rayfield, for whom either glory or ignominy looms.

SIR DEREK ALUN-JONES, erstwhile chairman of Ferranti, the problematic defence group that is soon to be consumed by GEC, spends more time playing golf near his Surrey mansion than working these days. But he does find time to pick up the occasional assignment as long as it doesn't mean working more than three days a week.

The non-executive chairmanship of Boulton and Paul fits the bill admirably. A couple of days a month, pounds 15,000 a year, and a potential path back to a plc. Boulton and Paul, the joinery and windows business which was bought out of services group BET earlier this year, hopes to float in the next few years.

There's no danger of a full- time return, though. 'I'm a part-timer by nature,' he said.

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THEY ARE sounding very pleased with themselves over at Panmure Gordon. Only three months since moving into new offices at the back of Broadgate, the brokers can't believe the amount of work that is flowing in. In the past few weeks they have had a hand in the flotation of the Charles Sidney Mercedes dealership, the flotation of Abacus, the electronics distributor, and the sale of the Virgin video stores to Rhino Group.

All very good for the fees and, of course, the bonus. 'We're doing better than last year,' a PG man said.

THERE IS good news for members at Mill Ride Golf Club, the heavily indebted development in Ascot which is owned by London Securities, the troubled property company.

Dickie Freemantle, who resigned from the board of London Securities in the summer to devote more time to the club's management team, has given up yet another directorship to give himself more time for the task.

He has resigned the chairmanship of Flagstone Holdings, the leisure group that recently bought the Needles Hotel Company, which includes an Alum Bay pleasure park.

There might be a few glasses chinking at the 19th hole at Mill Ride, where 338 members have paid pounds 5,000 for a stake in the club. But debts still total pounds 12m, so they can keep the cork in the champagne for a little while yet.