PEOPLE & BUSINESS

Sir Brian Pitman, the venerable Lloyds TSB chairman and doyen of high street bankers, has accepted his first ever non-executive directorship - with Michael Green's racy media outfit Carlton Communications.

Sir Brian, now 66, joined Lloyds way back in 1952, and gave up his chief executive post just last February to John Ellwood. Sir Brian's devotion to shareholder value is matched only be his appetite for cost-cutting and branch closures, but this is unlikely to translate itself to Carlton's business strategy.

"Carlton is a very different company than Lloyds, and he could take the position because there will be no conflict of interest," said a Lloyds source.

A Carlton spokesman added: "We're obviously delighted to have him." Half of Carlton's business is in television, the rest in things like processing movie films and producing video cassettes. I look forward to spotting Sir Brian in The Bill. He'd make a cracking chief inspector.

Also at Lloyds, John Robson has retired as director of corporate communications after 11 years at the helm. A former Whitehall civil servant, Mr Robson aims to spend more time sailing. He is succeeded by Geraldine Davies, his former deputy.

GB Railways Group has lost its first finance director, just a year after winning the Anglia franchise (Norwich to Liverpool Street) and floating on AIM.

The company insists Simon Gunn was not pushed - "there is certainly not a row going on." The former chartered accountant is in line for a pounds 75,000 pay-off due to his 12-month contract, according to GB Railways. A company spokesperson said: "Mr Gunn is an entrepreneurial type, who likes setting up businesses." She would not expand on his future plans.

Analysts describe the rail company's financial targets as "highly ambitious", and the company has been touted on a number of occasions since its launch as a bid target for larger rivals.

GB Railways has brought in a temporary replacement for Mr Gunn, Alan Terry, who was formerly information services director for CPC, a food production company. GB says Mr Terry will "fill the breach until we can find an appropriate person with a knowledge of the railway industry".

Granville, the small London based merchant bank, has lost two long-time executives in quick succession. William Drake, a main board director who had been with the group for 17 years, left late last year "to pursue his own interests", according to Granville. John McCready, an analyst with Granville Davies, the stockbroking subsidiary, left at Christmas.

A spokeswoman for Granville said yesterday that "neither of them was forced out". She added that the departures were purely coincidental and unconnected to each other. Mr Drake, one of whose ancestors was the swashbuckling Sir Francis Drake, was working on Granville's investment portfolio before he left.

ENIC, the investment vehicle part-owned by Joe Lewis, the Bermuda-based millionaire, has appointed Gerard McSloy as finance director. And quite a chap Mr McSloy appears to be.

Not content with an MA in German literature and a diploma in accountancy, the 40-year-old Brit is fluent in Dutch and German, as well as speaking good French and Spanish, an awed colleague tells me. He's also a martial arts blackbelt, has captained the British Universities volleyball team and has 15 caps for Scotland in the same sport.

Whether he also has a cure for the common cold up his sleave and can split the atom, time alone will tell. For now Mr McSloy will help ENIC to build up its portfolio of European football clubs, which currently include Vicenza, AEK Athens and Slavia Prague, as well as an option over a quarter of Glasgow Rangers. The group is also courting Bordeaux.

Warren Buffett loves banging on about how being America's second richest man doesn't stop him being just a plain ol' hamburger-munchin', cola-swillin' private investor. How comic, then, to read in an advert for Executive Jet in the latest edition of Forbes magazine that Mr Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns a jet. "It more than pays for itself. That's why I recently changed its name from `The Indefensible' to `The Indispensable'."

There's more: "For my family, I bought a 25 per cent interest in Executive Jet's Netjets programme. And do they love it! ... My wife, Susie, came up for the name for this plane, `The Richly Deserved'."

As F Scott Fitzgerald observed, the rich are different.

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