PEOPLE & BUSINESS

If you worked for a company called Genus and somebody at a party asked you what your business consisted of, you would be able to say: "The supply of dairy and beef semen and a range of complementary products, the provision of artificial insemination, farm consultancy and other services to dairy and beef farmers."

It must be worth almost as much as the salary. Genus, spun out of the old Milk Marketing Board seven years ago, has received an "indicative offer" from Breeding Services, a bid consortium comprising Alchemy Partners and a management team.

So far Genus's board has given the offer the cold shoulder. Breeding Services still hopes to be able to put the benefits of the bid to Genus's 29,000 farmer-shareholders.

The bidder's management team includes Dr Tony Callow, managing director of Agri-Livestock Consutlants and a former director of Premier Breeders, and Alex Park, managing director of Cheshire Breeding Services. I'm sure any talks will be fruitful.

Around 20 employees of MeesPierson's equity desk in London are looking for new jobs after being told last Thursday that the operation will close at the end of October.

The good news is that MeesPierson, Holland's oldest merchant bank, is about to clinch the sale of another London subsidiary, stockbroker Shaw & Co, to Charles Stanley, thus saving 80 jobs. But the bank is having less luck finding a joint venture partner for its 100-strong City derivatives business MPD.

At the moment MeesPierson employs around 500 people in London. It has embarked on a "strategic focus" programme following its sale to Belgian insurer Fortis by the previous owners, Dutch bank ABN Amro, six months ago.

About 20 people work for the equity operation, which used to be called London Equities, and was originally formed by ex-employees of Kitcat and Aitken. A MeesPierson spokesman in Amsterdam says it has looked hard to find a joint venture partner or buyer for the business, but "we might have to close it." The boys were told last Thursday to get their cv's out.

On the search for a partner for the derivatives operation, the spokesman says: "We haven't found any partners yet. Hopefully we will be successful."

The Dutch certainly like doing things by the book. One former employee says that the boys at MeesPierson are not allowed to use mobile telephones inside the office. Why ever not?

How intruiging. Hays Plc subsidiary Hays Business Services has just lost its managing director and finance director, but is refusing to comment on the matter. Managing director Peter Dobson and his finance deputy left the operation in Stockwell, south London, a couple of weeks ago. When I rang the company's head office in Guilford, Surrey, yesterday they said they had no comment to make, but would get back to me. Watch this space.

As I forecast last week, Richard Nichols has been elected as the next Lord Mayor of London. On 7 November he will succeed Sir Roger Cork to become the Corporation's 670th Lord Mayor.

I also wrote that Mr Nichols was originally elected as an Alderman to the Candlewick ward of the City (Cannon Street) in 1984 with just seven votes, beating Lord Levene, the former Canary Wharf boss, who got six.

It may be the last election under the present system before the Corporation introduces wide-ranging reforms to increase the number of voters. The ancient body needs to head off threats from the Labour Government to merge it with a neighbouring borough.

The head of the Royal Academy of Music has been appointed to City law firm Beachcroft Stanleys as chief executive.

Sadly this does not mean Brahms for barristers and cellos in the chambers. Patrick Maddams is a professional manager who became the Academy's first managing director in 1991. Before that he was managing director of the distinctly un-musical BTR subsidiary Dunlop Textiles.

Mr Maddams, 46, succeeds James Kennedy, who also came from outside the legal profession and is retiring after 10 years in the post.

Despite his years in management Mr Maddams still has some ideals. He says: "Traditionally, law firms have always been very secretive of how their businesses are run. I want our clients to see us as an open and innovative practice ..." An open law firm? That'll be the day.

Insurance companies love trying to scare people into taking out cover for everything from motor accidents to impregnation by aliens. Zurich Municipal has come up with a novel approach. It is warning of "Troubled waters for Booze Cruisers."

"Thousands of people taking advantage of cheaper low season ferry tickets to stock up in French supermarkets could be prime targets for thieves," it drones. "Yet many day trippers are crossing the channel unaware that if their bulk shop is stolen from their car, their motor insurer is unlikely to provide sufficient compensation." It says a car full of British shoppers will spend over pounds 400 on booze and food, while most policies only provide cover of up to pounds 100. Personally, if I discovered that amount of booze had been nicked, I would have only one response: Head for the nearest bar.

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