People and Business

Crystal Palace picks Buchler

THE MAN trying to rescue Crystal Palace from the jaws of financial collapse is no stranger to troubled football clubs. David Buchler of Buchler Phillips, who has been asked by Palace's board to come in as administrator, first practised his corporate rescue skills at Harrow and Wealdstone Football Club in the early 1990s.

After putting the club's finances on an even keel he was called in by Tottenham Hotspur, a rather bigger club. This was during the Irving Scholar era, and Mr Buchler made great friends with manager Terry Venables in the process. Mr Buchler even joined the Spurs board before Alan Sugar bought into the club and got rid of all three of them.

The indefatigable Mr Buchler then helped sort out the finances at Barnet, even buying into the north London club himself before selling it on (successfully).

More recently, Buchler Phillips has been helping out at Millwall, and its Birmingham office has even turned to the game with the odd-shaped ball. Partner John Kelly is sorting out the books of Hull Kingston Rovers, the rugby league club.

The son rises

SIR STANLEY KALMS, chairman of Dixons, must be swelling with paternal pride. His eldest son Richard has joined a fast expanding hi-tech company that is about to announce a huge sales drive, roughly 10 years after Kalms junior flew the coop from Dixons' own property division.

Richard is joining Itis (Integrated Transport Information Services Ltd) as a non-executive director. Itis is about to launch an anti car-theft device, a "black box" which when installed in a car will tell the owner its location, whatever has happened to it.

ITIS was set up by Stuart Marks, still the majority shareholder, along with Steven Norris, the former Tory transport minister, who also has a stake. ITIS has teamed up with another company, Minorplanet Systems, to market the boxes at pounds 399. The launch next month will be backed by GE Capital Fleet Services, which owns over 100,000 fleet vehicles in the UK.

Mr Marks says Richard Kalms will be useful because he is "extremely well connected in electronics retailing". Quite so.

Energy saver

PETER LEHMANN recently retired from the board of Centrica/British Gas after 30 years with the utilities giant, lately as commercial director. Now Mr Lehmann has popped up as chairman of the Energy Saving Trust, replacing Sir Frank Gibb who spent seven years at the helm.

Mirror tells all

I CAN exclusively reveal that the new name for Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) is to be "William Tell plc".

At a meeting for City analysts yesterday, John Allwood, MGN's chief executive, delivered his results presentation to a packed room. Someone asked whether he'd had any more thoughts on a new name for the company, following rumours a month ago of a possible change.

Just as Mr Allwood was about to answer, a mobile phone belonging to Richard Dale, media analyst at Salomon Smith Barney ( coincidentally brokers to Trinity, one of the Mirror bidders), rang. It was one of those that plays a tune, in this case Rossini's William Tell overture.

Everyone fell about. Mr Allwood grinned and pronounced: "There you have it. The new name will be William Tell."


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