PEOPLE & BUSINESS
Wednesday 03 December 1997
But where Mr Chisholm and Mr Chance spent their time at Rupert Murdoch's satellite business scaring the living daylights out of the British cable companies, they will now sit on the board of the biggest Polish cable television operator, @Entertainment, as non-executive directors.
The company, which is quoted on Nasdaq, has 700,000 customers, and is launching a digital service in April next year, roughly the same time that BSkyB is scheduled to launch its digital satellite service. Bob Fowler, chief executive officer of @Entertainment, said the assistance of the men from the Sky would be "invaluable".
The likes of Cable & Wireless Communications and Telewest Communications, the two largest cable companies in this country, must be pondering whether the dynamic duo could be tempted with a similar board position in the UK. After all, both men have an enviable reputation for turning around ailing businesses.
Another time-honoured tradition bites the dust. Jeremy Pope is scrapping the division between voting and non-voting shares in Eldridge, Pope, which his father Phillip Pope introduced into the family pub business in 1951. From next year holders of non-voting shares will have full voting rights, as the company seeks to gain support from a wider, institutional base.
This is quite a step for Mr Pope, the fourth generation in the family, since non-family members haven't had a look-in until now. He describes it as a deck clearing exercise - "so that we're prepared for changes in the market."
His father, like Jeremy a lawyer, split the shares in two 40 years ago in order to allow various members of the family to raise some cash by selling non-voting shares, while retaining control. The company has got out of its original brewing business and now concentrates on developing pubs. Its three main brands are Fireside Inns, Bar Excellence and Slurping Toad. And now, not only can you invest in them, you can control them, too.
London Business School has plucked Professor John A Quelch from Harvard University to succeed its current principal Professor George Bain, who is going off to tell the Government all about the minimum wage.
The new man at the LBS is actually a Brit. Mr Quelch was born in London in 1951 and graduated from Exeter College, Oxford with a degree in history in 1972. He's been at Harvard in some shape or form since 1977, and is currently the Sebastian S Kresge Professor of Marketing. Lord Sainsbury of Turville, chairman of LBS's governing body, describes him as "the ideal man to lead the school."
If you're looking for a stocking filler for a loved one, how about Robert Alexander's racy new book, The Voice of the People: A Constitution for Tomorrow. OK, NatWest Group's chairman Lord Alexander hasn't turned out a bodice-ripper, exactly, but it's all worthy stuff, and probably played its part in getting the barrister-turned-banker on to Roy Jenkins's working party on constitutional reform this week. A NatWest spokesman tells me that since the tome's publication two months ago sales have gone quite well.
Just one thing occurs to me. NatWest has this year dropped around pounds 600m on its investment banking operations, which it finally sold yesterday. Shouldn't Lord A have spent less time authoring and more time auditing?
As the late Roy Castle used to say, Jem Miller is a RECORD BREAKER. The jovial spin doctor retired last Friday from Lowe Bell Financial, although he will continue as a consultant for the firm.
Over his career Mr Miller spent 26 years representing Tate & Lyle, which many consider to be the longest ever PR account in the City. Any challengers? He has also represented Highland Distilleries since the mists of time.
Piers Pottinger, chairman of Lowe Bell Financial, says the firm will continue to present the annual "Jem Miller Award for most spectacular behaviour at a Christmas party."
One distinguished former employee won it for "taking a taxi home from the office party to the house he moved out of four years before," says Mr Pottinger. Jem originally won the prize many years ago for "cossack dancing at Cliveden (the posh Thames Valley hotel) in the most spectacular fashion," he adds.
Mr Miller, a native of Zimbabwe, is celebrating his retirement by buying a house in the South of France.
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