People & Business : US fad wafts in like a breath of stale smoke
Wednesday 04 December 1996
The idea comes from the US, where all sorts of Hollywood starlets have decided that cigars are for the young and hip, rather than just the old and rich.
Mr Rosengard says he held a party at the trendy Soho club Groucho's last week to launch The Havana Room. "We flew in a cigar roller from Cuba called Carlos for the occasion," he says.
"We auctioned the first cigar he rolled, and it went for pounds 500. Then we decided to give the money to Carlos. His interpreter said Carlos gets paid $10 a month back in Cuba, so that was equivalent to eight years' income."
This tale sounds like something from the 1980s - proof that the pre- election boomlet is gathering steam.
To the equally trendy Kings Head theatre pub in Islington, north London, for Midland Bank's pre-Christmas press party.
Mark Searles, head of marketing at Midland, decided to hire five comedians from the Comedy Players to provide Whose Line Is It Anyway?-type entertainment.
Mr Searles got more than he bargained for, however, when Steven Frost (the large, balding comedian from the Carling Black Label adverts) was chosen to play him on stage. Mr Frost's task was "to invent a brand new financial product". He eventually hit on a bank account based on the pound coins you insert in supermarket trolleys to release them. "We'll pay you 10 per cent interest when you return the trolley," declared Mr Frost, aka Mr Searles. The Midland man took this merciless ragging in good spirit. Remember, when Midland introduces its revolutionary Supermarket Trolley Account, you read it here first.
An anonymous employee from Birmingham Midshires Building Society, which is proud of its mutuality, has phoned me to say the society's mission statement has just been changed - with sinister implications.
"The statement used to say our aim was to be the number one building society by 2001. The new statement says that we will be the one to beat on business performance by 2001. Nothing about building society. So are we going to convert to a PLC? After all, we've already got a banking licence through our Western Trust subsidiary."
Obviously Birmingham Midshires's staff need reassuring. Dangerous things, mission statements.
NatWest Group has appointed Achi Racov to the role of chief information technology officer, and according to the former IT consultant, it's not a moment too soon. While Mr Racov has sorted the computer systems at Ulster Bank, Coutts South Africa and NatWest UK, his new role gives him a unique headache.
Two big problems face IT people at the moment. The first is programming computers to handle the year 2000, since computers operate on the last two digits and may throw a wobbly if presented with "00". Second, the same systems have to be rejigged to deal with EMU.
As for 2000, Mr Racov says: "We started very early on that one. As for EMU, its rules have not yet been clarified by the authorities. It would be very dangerous, however, if EMU and 2000 happened at the same time."
Since the first wave of EMU is scheduled for 1999, and schedules tend to slip, it sounds like Mr Racov and his 5,000-strong army of IT techies at NatWest will have their work cut out.
Speaking of EMU, Salomon Brothers in London has landed a very big fish to help in its preparations.
Dr Gunther Thumann, who was a senior economist for the investment bank in Frankfurt two years ago before he joined the German Ministry of Economics, is coming to London to head up its EMU research project.
The doctor was one of Germany's representatives on the European Monetary Committee. At least someone knows what it's all about.
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood
The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Jennifer Lawrence nude photos leak: More celebrities allegedly targeted as third wave of hacked images released
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...