People and Business

In a league of his own

IT WILL be quite an adjustment for Allan MacDonald, going from managing director of British Aerospace's interests in Asia and Africa to being chief executive of Celtic, the famous Glasgow football club.

A lifelong Celtic fan, Mr MacDonald said yesterday: "It is a great honour and responsibility to be given the opportunity to represent an institution of Celtic's stature."

Celtic has just fought off two unsolicited bids from a group headed by Kenny Dalglish and Jim Kerr (of Simple Minds fame), and its current chairman and managing director, Fergus McCann, is reducing his involvement.

Biotech moves

MALCOLM FALLEN is giving up his job as finance director of the troubled drugs developer British Biotech in order to return to his first love, telecommunications. He joined British Biotech from BT, where he was finance director of the personal communications division.

Mr Fallen submitted his resignation at a board meeting yesterday, so the board accepted it and issued an announcement. They have appointed Tony Weir, currently British Biotech's company secretary and finance director of the pharmaceuticals subsidiary, to succeed Mr Fallen.

The legal row between the company and its former head of clinical trials, Andrew Millar, is set to reach court his summer. British Biotech is suing Dr Millar for talking to shareholders about drugs trials without board approval, while Dr Millar is counter-suing for breach of contract and libel.

Capital gain

STEVE VINSON, a native of Alabama, is leaving his current job as head of risk at Daiwa Securities in New York to cross the pond to London, to do an equivalent job for Barclays Capital.

Mr Vinson will report to Robert Diamond, chief executive, in this newly created role. Mike O'Neill, a Californian, arrives later this month to head up the Barclays group.

Right formula

JIM LENG, chief executive of Laporte, was in expansive mood yesterday after announcing the chemicals company's respectable annual figures. "Everything you need to take on holidays contains Laporte chemicals," he explained to bemused reporters.

For instance, OralB toothpaste, cough medicine, condoms and Nivea cream for sunburn all contain Laporte ingredients, he said.

And if the holiday is flagging a bit, the company also supplies a vital ingredient for Viagra to Pfizer, the impotency drug's manufacturer.

A cut too far

WE ALL want Government departments to operate as efficiently as possible, but the Inland Revenue might have cut costs just a bit too aggressively over last week's Budget.

It sent out a hefty batch of Budget press releases to us with just a 26p stamp on it.

The package thumped onto our desks a total of three days late, and with "Underpaid - Surcharge Fee to Pay: 67p" stamped on it by the Post Office.

Or is this just a subtle method of shifting the tax burden? I think we should be told.

Stepping down

THE SQUARE MILE was on tenterhooks last night to find out what big new media and leisure job Keith Harris is about to take, after he said that he is stepping aside as chief executive of HSBC Investment Bank after only five years at the bank.

Mr Harris will continue to use his contacts to refer work to HSBC. His responsibilities for corporate finance will be taken over by Dider Stoessel, his current deputy, who joined HSBC in 1997 after a long spell at Merrill Lynch.

Mr Harris's other merchant banking departments will report directly to Stephen Green, chairman of HSBC Investment Bank.

E-mail: j.willcock@independent.co.uk

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