PEOPLE & BUSINESS

Anthony Julius, the litigation lawyer best known for the legal work he performed for Princess Diana, is seeking to divorce his wife and marry the daughter of a client of his firm, Mischon de Reya.

The saga started when Dina Rabinovitch, a London freelance journalist and mother of three, and her husband Guido Rauch, a derivatives trader at Banque Paribas, instructed Mr Julius to act on Dina's father's behalf.

According to The Lawyer magazine, the father, Nahum Rabinovitch, an ultra-orthodox rabbi who lives in Israel's West bank, had a legal dispute with a London publishing company. Dina Rabinovitch travelled with Mr Julius in March this year to see his client in Israel and to take witness statements. Mr Julius subsequently began settlement talks in May and reached an agreement six weeks later.

The publishers paid pounds 40,000 towards Mr Julius's costs, leaving a balance of pounds 32,000 paid by Guido Rauch.

While the case was going on Mr Julius and Dina appear to have decided to divorce their respective spouses and marry each other. Mr Julius told his wife at the end of March that he was intending to leave her and Dina Rabinovitch announced that she was leaving her husband a few days later.

Mr Julius, author of TS Eliot:Anti-Semitism and Literary Form, moved out of the family home in north-west London in July and Ms Rabinovitch left in November.

Mr Rauch said last night: "No comment." A spokeswoman for Mischon de Reya said on behalf of Mr Julius: "He's not commenting."

Guess which Government spokesman will announce today the details of New Labour's tax inducement for personal savings, to replace Peps and Tessas? None other than Geoffrey Robinson, the Paymaster General, who is currently under a hail of fire from the Tories over his role as a beneficiary of a pounds 12.75m Guernsey-based offshore trust. Personally I don't see what all the fuss is about. At least Mr Robinson will know what he's talking about.

Hoggett Bowers, the leading executive search and selection agency, has just sent out an exciting piece of research to 1,000 of Britain's top companies about the merits of non-executive directors (NEDs).

In the circular the firm describes how it sent out a questionnaire to the chairmen of the country's 500 top listed companies, under the title: "The Fundaments of Research."

Hang on a minute. According to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, fundament has quite a different meaning to "fundamental", which is what I think the chaps at Hoggett & Bowers were getting at: "Fundament - The lower part of the body, on which one sits; the buttocks; also, the anus."

I suppose Hoggett Bowers may have unwittingly summed up what most company bosses really think of non-execs.

Which brings us, entirely coincidentally, to Alliance & Leicester's chief executive, Peter White, who has just been appointed a non-executive director of Reckitt & Colman. Mr White has recently guided the former building society from mutual status into the ranks of Britain's high street banks. I'm sure he'll cut the mustard at R&C.

A member of the Ford car dynasty is set to chair the global motor company for the first time since 1980. William Clay Ford Jr will succeed manufacturing guru Alex Trotman when the latter retires at the end of 1999.

Henry Ford II was the last descendant of the founder of the Detroit car giant to head the firm. Since then the management has been dominated by non-family professionals. It is expected that Jacques Nasser, president of automotive operations, will become the next chief executive officer alongside William Clay Ford Jr. The company has asked Mr Trotman to remain as chairman and CEO until the end of the century, after his 65th birthday in July 1998, in order to complete his ambitious cost-cutting programmes.

Geoffrey Howe is to leave Clifford Chance and join Robert Fleming to be the investment bank's general counsel. No, not that Geoffrey Howe. This one is a career lawyer in his late forties who has spent the last nine years helping transform Clifford Chance from being a UK based firm to an international business. I wonder if his name is a help or a hindrance?

Singer & Friedlander has appointed Graham Hall as a director of its corporate finance division. Mr Hall was previously a director of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell's investment banking division.

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