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Sleepless knight

SIR CLIVE THOMPSON, President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), added another prestigious job title to his collection yesterday as deputy chairman of the Financial Reporting Council.

This latest appointment, bestowed jointly by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Bank of England, makes Sir Clive a leading guardian of company accounting standards. He is also a non-executive director of J Sainsbury, a vice chairman of Farepak, a member of the British Overseas Trade Board and vice president of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Oh yes, and Sir Clive is chief executive of Rentokil Initial, the company which announced disappointing results last week, thus losing him his previous title "Mr 20 Per Cent". How does he have the time to do all these onerous jobs? "Sleep less," he says curtly.

Easy riders

MICHAEL SYMONS, chief executive of Helphire, makes an unlikely biker, as do his colleagues Mark Jackson, deputy chief executive, and David Lindsay, finance director. The quoted group, which provides hire and repair services for people in motor accidents, has just taken the plunge into corporate sponsorship. Mr Symons says: "We're sponsoring Colin Appleyard's bike team for a season's races. We usually avoid sponsorship because we don't really have a high enough profile to justify it, but this cost pounds 20,000." I suspect Mr Symons is still some way off from true biker status, however. He says of the photoshoot with the bike: "I wasn't quite sure which way to sit on it."

Bird resigns

RICHARD BIRD has resigned from Aggreko as a director and managing director of the generator rental company's UK operations.

The Glasgow based company says that it has reorganised management along pan-European lines, and that Mr Bird's role will be swallowed by that of the overall European managing director, David Yorke.

Another job within the group could not be found for Mr Bird, the company says, but he will leave with a payoff worth one year's basic pay, around pounds 100,000. Mr Bird has been with the group for about 15 years, pre-dating Aggreko's demerger from Christian Salvesen in 1997.

Not so Smart?

DAIMLER-CHRYSLER'S first merged annual meeting in Stuttgart today is expecting 20,000 shareholders to flood into the 8,500-capacity Hanns-Martin Schleyer hall and seven specially provided tents adjoining.

Shareholders are expected to moan about the "Smart" car, which has managed to sell only 80,000 of a targeted 200,000 annually. Juergen Schrempp, co-chairman, has already fired development and production head Johann Tomforde, finance head Christoph Baubin and marketing manager Hans Juerg Schaer. Apparently the heat is now on car division head Jurgen Hubbert to raise sales or walk the plank.

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

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