People and Business: Former MP gets a vote in a lobby group

MIKE THOMAS, a former MP and co-founder of the SDP, has joined a marketing company chaired by Viscount Chandos as a non-executive director.

Mr Thomas joins Tom Chandos on the board of Lopex, a lobbying and direct marketing group, following Lopex's acquisition of Fotorama, a promotions company for which Mr Thomas continues to be chairman.

Lopex was originally the London Press Exchange, an ancient and venerable PR firm, if such a thing can be imagined. It owns Grayling PR and Westminster Strategy, the political lobbying firm. Its chief executive Peter Thomas (no relation) has rebuilt the group over the last five years after a sticky patch at the start of the decade.

Tom Chandos, the chairman, was once a leading light in Kleinwort Benson's corporate finance department before the Germans moved in.

Mr Thomas was the member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne East 1974-83, and since he left Parliament he's built a career in public affairs. He's been a director of Dewe Rogerson's public relations arm and since 1988 he has owned and run Corporate Communications Strategy, an independent consultancy.

COLIN SHARMAN, chairman of KPMG International and one of the accountancy firm's stalwarts since he joined it 32 years ago, gets an honorary degree today from Cranfield University. The former Institute of Technology is also honouring Percy Barnevik, chairman of ABB Asea Brown Boveri, Investor AB and Sandvik.

Mr Sharman is one of the last surviving members of the British accountancy profession who isn't a graduate, so the Cranfield gong should give him special pleasure.

WHILE MOST of the City is hooked to the TV screen and the World Cup, some of its members have flown off to Johannesburg for a no-expenses-spared wedding this Saturday.

Adonis Pouroulis, 28, chairman of Petra Diamonds, an AIM-listed company with interests in Angola and South Africa, is getting spliced to Anita, a Greek girl born in SA. Amongst the 450 guests will be Aubyn de Margery, a salesman at Pritchards, the London brokers who brought Petra Diamonds to the market last April at 30p a share. Kevin Collins of Pritchards is also going, along with a gaggle of other City hangers-on.

Glanda Boswell, proprietress of Boswell City Financial PR, flew out on Wednesday, and tells me that the Archbishop of South Africa will officiate during the wedding. The Greek Ambassador will also be attending. Adonis's parents were born in Cyprus and emigrated to South Africa 40 years ago.

Money has been showered on the celebrations, says La Boswell. "A whole troupe of dancers and musicians have been flown in from Cyprus." As for Adonis, she adds: "He's lovely. There will be a lot of ladies weeping into their handbags this weekend."

WHAT USED to be the dusty old HMSO is on the move. Now remodelled as The Stationery Office since its privatisation in September 1996, the publisher of Hansard and the Highway Code has got a new executive director, Fred Perkins.

Mr Perkins worked for the giant American published group McGraw Hill before he joined The Stationery Office two years ago. Before that he was executive director of electronic publishing at the Financial Times.

A MARKETING consultancy is offering us "the end of junk mail". If only. The solution to the ever-growing plague of unsolicited mail is more refined targeting techniques, according to FFwd Precision Marketing, or more specifically, "psychographic profiling".

James Davies, the company's research and planning director, explains that psychographic profiling consists of researching how people feel about products.

For instance, he says, Volkswagen uses such methods to find out whether its customers are proud of their cars or merely view them as a mechanism for getting from A to B.

So keen are FFwd on this approach that they've hired a full-time psychologist, Dr Tamsin Addison, to carry out such research.

Mr Davies says the important thing to consider is not how much people earn but how they spend it. "We call it the `terraced house with the Ferrari in the drive' syndrome." Harmless enough tosh, you might think, but I doubt it will lessen the deluge of junk mail in the world.

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