People & Business

Michael Hale is stepping down as chairman and chief executive of GBE International, the Andover based manufacturer of equipment for the tobacco industry, after having completed his role as "company doctor" to the troubled group.

Mr Hale took the axe to costs and raised pounds 6m in new capital last summer, getting rid of the loss-making packaging and environmental purification businesses. He is making way for Graham Walker, the new executive chairman, who is best known as the former deputy chairman of Argyll Group. Mr Walker owns 3.9 million GBE shares representing 4.3 per cent of the issued share capital.

Michael Jenkins joins GBE as chief executive, having come from Delta Group, and Roger Spry, a long-term employee at Phillip Morris, competes the team as executive director for the development of GBE's tobacco business. Mike Forder, GBE's financial director, survives the reshuffle, and the company is expected to make around pounds 2.5m profits this year.

Is Simon Preston, chairman of the small but distinguished City PR company Financial Public Relations, going to commit a heinous family sin and sell out to the French? He would never be forgiven if he did, as he is a direct descendant of Lord Nelson, who of course gave the French and Spaniards a sound thrashing at Trafalgar.

No takeover of Financial Public Relations is immediately in the offing, but two French PR firms are reported to have made contact. And Mr Preston, together with managing director Murdoch Macleod, do not deny a sale to a third party is possible.

Times have been tough for Financial Public Relations, founded in 1966, after it parted company with its longest standing client, General Accident, at the beginning of last year.

Nelson would have been happier with the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), the London-based think tank founded in 1983 which this week trumpeted its European supremacy. Anthony Loehnis, the CEPR's chairman, declared that "the Centre now plays the leading role in policy-related research in Europe".

The occasion for the tub-thumping was a reorganisation in which Richard Portes, founding director of CEPR, becomes president. Stephen Yoe moves up from deputy director to chief executive officer, while Mathias Dewatripont becomes part-time research director. The Centre now enjoys the support of all European central banks, the Bank for International Settlement and the European Monetary Institute.

Peter Horrocks, senior insolvency partner at lawyers Lovell White Durrant and the leading legal expert working on the six-year-old BCCI liquidation, is set to leave the firm this October, having been a partner since 1975.

"I need a change. I've been in the law for 34 years, and with Lovells for 28 years. When you've worked that long as an adviser you begin to feel that you'd like to be the principal, to be making the decisions for a change," says Mr Horrocks.

Eager for a new challenge, Mr Horrocks says he is thinking about several possibilities and would be happy to receive an offer. One idea of his is that the current spate of mega-mergers between the big accountancy firms, which should reduce them from the Big Six to the Big Four, will produce an opportunity to form a new niche player, perhaps an insolvency practice made up of both lawyers and accountants.

"On the other hand I might become a company doctor, through a chairmanship," he adds.

Whatever his new career path, Mr Horrocks reckons there will be plenty of work to do for receivers and liquidators. "I do think there is another recession coming. The Asian crisis will have an effect, interest rates will rise - it will be enough to knock some companies over."

And when will we first see the signs of trouble?" "June," he replies. You have been warned.

One of Mr Horrocks' accountancy colleagues is Chris Morris of Deloitte & Touche, who is a joint liquidator of both BCCI and Polly Peck, Asil Nadir's crashed electronics to fruit packing business empire.

Mr Morris has just switched solicitors for his multi-million legal action against Polly Peck's former auditors Stoy Hayward. Out go Dibb Lupton Alsop, in come Freshfields.

The UK company collapse figures may be at an all-time low at the moment, but Mr Morris is still being kept busy. His latest job has taken him to Albania, to help sort out several of their notorious pyramid investment schemes. While the Albanian economy may be taking time to adjust to post- communist conditions, says Mr Morris, "the wine there is excellent".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Arts and Entertainment
Stanley Tucci as DCI Eugene Morton, Sophie Grabol as Hildur Odegard and Christopher Eccleston as Professor Charlie Stoddart in 'Fortitude'
tvGrace Dent: Still, it's compelling and cinematically sublime
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

Arts and Entertainment
EastEnders actor Danny Dyer has been rejected from Game of Thrones three times
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee