People & Business: Suits give way, but not to jeans

OVER 4,500 staff at Direct Line's call centres from Croydon to Glasgow began enjoying the benefits yesterday of a relaxation of the official dress code from "Business Dress" to "Business Casual".

Ian Chippendale, the chief executive of Direct Line, Royal Bank of Scotland's phone insurance operation, sent a memo to all staff this week telling them that suits and ties for men, for instance, were no longer de rigueur.

A spokeswoman said yesterday that the decision was based on Mr Chippendale's "firm belief that casual dress will help to keep barriers down between staff, and will help team building in a more relaxed environment".

But that doesn't mean jeans, boiler suits or kaftans. Staff should wear "appropriate" dress, said the spokeswoman, which could include more formal outfits if external visitors are expected at the work place. I can't wait to see Mr Chippendale in a Pringle pullover and beige flares.

JOHN VICKERS, the new boy on the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, was up in front of the Treasury Select Committee yesterday to face questions about his appointment. The MPs were particularly interested in his time as investment bursar at Nuffield College, Oxford.

When asked whether he was a successful investor, Mr Vickers replied that the college "made a large amount of money due to the decisions made by my predecessor".

Sir Peter Lloyd MP (Con, Fareham) chipped in: "Just like the Chancellor", to guffaws from the assembled MPs - of all political hues.

Mr Vickers did subsequently admit, under questioning, that he lost money in the stock market crash of October 1987, but there again, so did most people.

ARGUMENTS continue to rage about the merits of the merger mania now sweeping investment banks, but it certainly shakes the staff up: two big cheeses from recently merged outfits announced new jobs yesterday.

Entirely coincidentally, Conor Killeen said he was leaving UBS to be Dresdner Kleinwort Benson's Global Head of Equity Capital Markets, while Thomas M (Terry) Fitzgerald III is departing Salomon Smith Barney to join Schroders - as Global Head of Equity Capital Markets.

Conor Killeen was quite clear about his reasons for jumping ship. "I was very enthusiastic about the merger [between UBS and SBC] at the beginning. But somewhere along the way I lost faith in the new guys."

While Mr Killeen thinks the new SBC/UBS combination is "fantastic, and will work out", he decided back in January to get a new job, and in the process talked to "an awful lot of banks".

He's looking forward to joining the DKB team, where he will report to Tim Shacklock, global head of corporate finance, and Alan Yarrow, global head of equities.

"The US guys will tell you that there is only one game in town at the moment and that's Europe. These guys (at DKB) have got Germany nailed and they've got the UK nailed," enthused Conor.

Joining him will be Olivier Favre-Gilly, also previously with UBS, and Fabian French, formerly with Merrill Lynch, as directors in equity capital markets.

Meanwhile Terry Fitzgerald III is joining Schroders after the Salomons merger with Wall Street rival Smith Barney last September.

Mr Fitzgerald, 39, has spent all his working life, spanning 16 years, working for Salomons, so leaving is a big step.

Richard Broadbent, group managing director of corporate finance at Schroders, said they believed Mr Fitzgerald would be a good team player. Having stayed at the same bank for so long, he obviously didn't "flip from job to job - we like that," said Mr Broadbent.

The Schroders boss is proud of his bank's stability relative to the turbulence in the rest of the sector. "You don't build businesses by hiring and firing. Consistency is incredibly important for our corporate customers," said Mr Broadbent.

IMPRESS your friends with this amazing fact: the capitalisation of all stock markets in Asia and Australasia, excluding Japan, is now less than that of the Netherlands.

PREMIER FARNELL, the global distributor of electronic components which issued a profit warning yesterday, has got a new chief executive. John Hirst, 45, is leaving his post as Officer to the ICI Executive at its global head office in London to join Premier at the beginning of next month.

One leading City analyst was unimpressed. "He's a bit of a lightweight. I can't believe there has been a big sigh of relief at the appointment of a 45-year-old relative unknown to head the company."

Harsh, considering Mr Hirst has been ICI's Group Treasurer and moulded ICI Autocolor into a global force to be reckoned with (it says here). There again, it's a harsh world.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Sport
football
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
weird news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?