People & Business: The road to the top starts at pounds 250 a year

SIR ROBERT MALPAS will celebrate his 71st birthday on Sunday, and is preparing to step down as chairman of Cookson, the materials technology group, in favour of Sir Bryan Nicholson. Sir Bryan, 66, is currently chairman of Bupa and is a recent president of the CBI.

I rang Sir Robert yesterday while he was on holiday in Portugal, where he was just about to take a dip. He says this Sunday will also be the 50th anniversary of the first day of his first job, with ICI in 1948. "I joined on my 21st birthday, on a salary of pounds 250 a year," he recalls.

Sir Robert temporarily resumed the chairmanship of Cookson in December after Richard Oster left the group to pursue other interests. Sir Robert was previously chairman of the circuit board components and ceramics maker from 1991 until last September. Mr Oster, the former chief executive, had taken over from Sir Robert as chairman the previous month.

A keen advocate of the links between technology and business, Sir Robert will not be "retiring" in the golf'n'gardening sense. He will expand his role as a director of the Spanish company, Repsol, where he gives advice on chemical issues, and he is still co-chairman of Eurotunnel. He also plans to advise various small private companies and start-ups.

His successor, Sir Bryan Nicholson, will join Cookson as a non-exec in September and chairman the following month. He will continue heading Bupa, which he says will probably retain its status as a provident association, contrary to speculation that it may convert, "building society" style, to a plc.

"Any decision to convert lies with the board (of Bupa) and the 150-strong governing membership - but there are considerable advantages in staying a provident," says Sir Bryan.

After all, "buying healthcare is different to buying baked beans," he points out.

How very true. Sir Bryan, who is also a non-executive director of engineering groups LucasVarity and GKN, still sits on the CBI board and is keen to see interest rates come down, as you might expect. "The next move should be down, not up," he says.

JOHN SHEPPERD, one of the City's favourite bond analysts, will be reunited with his former colleague Ian Harwood when he joins the economics team at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson (DKB) in September.

Mr Shepperd was chief economist and bond pundit at Yamaichi Securities until the Japanese house decided to cut back its research side in the UK. He will report to Mr Harwood, now global head of economics and strategy at DKB.

Mr Shepperd and Mr Harwood last worked together at SG Warburg Securities (now part of Warburg Dillon Read) in the years during and after Big Bang, 1986 to 1993.

Mr Shepperd will be working with DKB's bond and currency research group headed by Guido Barthels, global head, and Reiner Back, deputy head, in Frankfurt. He will be joining a hot team: in this year's Extel survey, the DKB global economics team came top.

STEVEN DOWNES is becoming something of an expert in fast growing retail chains. He is joining Spoils, a kitchen reject shop group based in Ipswich, as finance director, the same job he previously did for La Senza, the lingerie chain.

Mr Downes's previous jobs have included being director of the Victorian Trading Company and divisional finance director of Signet Group, formerly Ratners.

Mr Downes's job at Spoils is a newly created post on the board, which is headed by Anthony Graham-Enock. Last year the company poached Andrew Farnham from Top Shop to be retail operations director. Spoils has ambitious plans to expand from its current total of 34 stores to 100 outlets by 2007.

VI GROUP, which designs and distributes computer aided design systems, has appointed Peter Wharton as group finance director and an executive director with immediate effect.

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
Jonathan de Guzman of the Netherlands and Willian of Brazil compete for the ball
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice