People & Business: pounds 2m package wins top team

THE QUARTET of top bank analysts poached by Salomon from Dresdner Kleinwort Benson (DKB) this week will share a "package" worth pounds 2m a year, including guaranteed bonuses, I hear.

Salomon signed DKB's UK banks team headed by Simon Samuels, which came top in the 1998 Reuters survey of larger companies and third in the Extel survey of investment analysts.

Mr Samuels' team includes Nick Lord and Stuart Young. The fourth lucky winner is Jeremy Sigee, who covers European banks.

A spokesman for Salomon said: "No comment".

ANDREW BONFIELD, freshly promoted to be SmithKline Beecham's chief financial officer, spent yesterday being pestered with two questions: was he any relation to Sir Peter Bonfield, BT's chief executive, and was he the youngest FD in the FTSE 100?

The answer to the first is no. Mr Bonfield was born in Britain and his family emigrated to South Africa when he was 10. He subsequently qualified as a chartered accountant in SA, and joined SmithKline Beecham in 1989. He says he knows of no connection with the BT boss.

As for age, Mr Bonfield could be the new junior of the FTSE 100. The youngest FD in the top index is generally reckoned to be Graham Howe of Orange, the telecoms group, who gained the post in January 1993 when he was a mere 31. However, Orange tells me that Mr Howe's birthday is 23 May 1961, which now makes him 37 - a year older than Mr Bonfield.

Colt Telecom entered the FTSE 100 yesterday, but its FD, Larry Ingeneri, is a comparatively ancient 40.

None of which will bother Hugh Collum, who picked Mr Bonfield to succeed him as FD at SmithKline, and who retires from the pharmaceuticals group at the end of the year. Mr Collum, 58, has already compiled a range of non-executive directorships, and becomes chairman of Chiroscience next month.

ING BARINGS has hired two high-profile economists to fill a pair of newly created posts. Mark Cliffe has joined from HSBC Markets, where he worked with Roger "inflation is dead" Bootle, to be ING Barings' chief economist, western Europe. Jonathan Griggs will be global head of foreign exchange research, joining from Citibank Global Asset Management. Both will report to Malcolm Roberts, chief economist for the Dutch owned investment bank.

A SHAREHOLDER in Watford Football Club has poached a manager from Garrard, the jewellers, to be managing director of Thomas Goode, one of the poshest china, glass and silverware shops in London's West End.

Rumi Verjee is the Watford shareholder who bought Thomas Goode two years ago. The entrepreneur counts amongst his business circle Lord Gowrie, Elton John and Lord Snowdon. Lord Patten, recently returned from Hong Kong, is is on the board of advisers at Thomas Goode.

The new managing director is Richard Jarvis, who has spent the last 34 years at Garrards, the Regent Street jewellers now owned by Prince Jefri of Brunei.

Mr Verjee, 40, qualified as a barrister before launching the UK franchise of Domino's Pizza in the 1980s. He sold the company back to the American franchisors to make his first fortune, and ploughed the proceeds into converting Brompton Hospital in Chelsea into luxury flats. He resigned as a non-executive director of Blacks Leisure, the sportswear manufacturer, last November after three years with the company, and is now concentrating on Thomas Goode.

JUST WHEN you thought there couldn't possibly be room for any more coffee bar retail chains in this country, stand by for another 500 coffee shops.

Yes, that's right, 500. If the ambitions of Starbucks, theAmerican coffee bar chain, are fulfilled, I doubt whether any adults in this country will ever sleep again.

Starbucks is based in Seattle, has 1,500 coffee bars in the US, and was the model for the Seattle Coffee Company, which built 70 bars in the UK.

The Seattle Coffee Company's founders, Ally and Scott Svenson, sold up to Starbucks for $80m in April, and the American parent is launching its first own-brand bar in King's Road, Chelsea next week.

Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive of Starbucks, and Howard Behar, president of its international arm, are jetting in to attend the gala opening.

ERIC NICOLI, United Biscuits' well-upholstered chief executive, claims that the company is hard at work on "Viagra cookies".

Boardroom discussion is centring on the most appropriate brand name for the product, he tells me, tongue firmly in cheek. They feel that "Go Ahead", which is McVitie's range of low-fat snacks, would be an obvious candidate.

Mr Nicoli's personal favourite is "Hob Nobs". "Gingernuts" is not considered to be a runner, he adds.

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