PEOPLE & BUSINESS

George Walker was hobnobbing with his Russian pals in London yesterday in his new-found role as a broadcaster of British horse racing to the former Soviet Union.

While the ex-boxer may be best known for his Brent Walker leisure empire, which the banks took from him during the recession, his new company, Premier Telesports, seems to be coming along nicely.

Premier's backers include Henderson Investors and ICE Securities, and its based in Monaco. Mr Walker is hoping to float it, either on the Vienna or Frankfurt stock exchanges, later this year. A chance for you all to invest in Mr Walker a second time around.

Northern Foods is in the process of floating off its Express Dairies subsidiary, which will be called, imaginatively, "Express Dairies". Saves on fees to the image consultants, I suppose. Neil Davidson, who is set to be chief executive of the independent company, said yesterday: "We were thinking of calling it `Dairy Is A Good Investment Opportunity' - or Diagio." Boom boom.

The man charged with introducing competition to the British electricity sector, John Battle, Industry Minister, has been seen hobbling about the place on crutches after falling on the pavement and breaking his ankle. A spokesman insists it was an accident, although I can't help wondering whether some renegade electricity company was taking the law into their own hands.

A corporate advert in the Financial Times caught my eye last week - "Are all your talents working in concert?" The ad goes on: "An impressive range of skills can be found in almost every organisation. The challenge, of course, is getting them to perform harmoniously."

Of course. And the ad concludes by warning: "These days, organisations don't perform. Unless they perform together."

Quite so. And the advocate of all this togetherness? Andersen Consulting, the firm which is fighting a vicious civil war with its accounting brothers, Arthur Andersen. A case of "Do as we say, not as we do", perhaps?

The insurance industry has hired its very own Mystic Meg in the form of Jenni Harte, who with her husband Nigel runs one of a growing number of astrological business consultancies.

GA (what used to be General Accident) has invited Jenni to do her thing at the Management of Risk Exhibition '98, which starts on Wednesday at the Royal Horticultural Halls, Westminster, London.

Here are some of Jenni's insights: "While Virgos may annoy the rest of us with their endless criticisms and quest for perfectionism, it is these `imperfections' which make them good risk managers because they are thorough."

"Pisceans, however, tend to be the dreamer of the zodiac, and might not have a sufficient grip on reality to ensure there is adequate protection against real-life dangers."

Still, I'd like to have a Piscean working on my next subsidence claim. Also at the Exhibition will be Bill Kizorek, president of an American company InPhoto Surveillance, who makes his money by videoing fraudulent insurance claimants. He says he can save companies $30 for every dollar spent on surveillance. Big Brother is watching you.

John Wosner is retiring as national managing partner of Pannell Kerr Forster after just one four-year term at the age of 50, in order to return to client consultancy work, he says.

Mr Wosner will be replaced at the medium-sized firm by Martin Goodchild, who runs PKF's London office and who specialises in audit and corporate finance.

The current incumbent says: "It was a difficult decision. I had to take account of my age and what I wanted to do with the rest of my career. Another four years was a little too long."

PKF have an office in Woodbridge, Suffolk. The tax specialist remarked : "I dream of retiring there." So is he Suffolk bound? "Not directly," he says, as most of his tax work will remain in London.

It's not often you see a firm of accountants splashed all over the tabloids, but yesterday Price Waterhouse won this claim to fame, courtesy of a leaked memo in the Daily Mirror concerning Sir Elton John's finances.

In classic accountantese the memo warned Sir Elton that "the latest cash flow projections show available headroom running out". The firm immediately erected a wall of silence around the subject yesterday, although they had to admit that Duncan Skailes, the only PW man mentioned in the memo, was indeed a manager of the firm.

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