People and Business: Lesser spotted hairy high flyers

AT LAST it can be revealed: if you really want to be rich, wear a yellow checked tie with a bespoke suit, drive an open top Jaguar, take Archie Norman as your role model - and whatever you do, don't wear a beard.

These are the conclusions of the 1998 British Business Leadership Survey by KPMG Management Consulting, which polled over 200 board directors of companies with turnovers exceeding pounds 50m.

The survey reveals several differences between high-flying business leaders - those managing companies with a growth in profitability of 30 per cent plus - and lower achievers whose companies have no growth in profits.

As well as the obvious stuff - high flyers tend to be ambitious, self- confident risk-takers - KPMG also found that low achievers are far more likely to wear beards than their more successful rivals.

Can it really be that simple? Well, looking outside the survey, I notice there's John Sunderland, who took over as chief executive of Cadbury Schweppes last year, shaved his beard off and watched the shares soar.

In contrast, Jim Hodkinson led New Look, the women's fashion chain, to the market earlier this year at 165p. Yet the bewhiskered chief executive has seen New Look's shares fall since, closing yesterday at 130p.

Some City folk seem to wear whiskers with impunity, such as Kieron Murphy, the director of corporate finance at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson who masterminded Lafarge's bid for Redland. There is also our very own columnist, Gavyn Davies of Goldman Sachs - but he's an economist, and therefore above such considerations.

Of the most famous bearded heroes, Richard Branson is reckoned to be the UK's best business leader by 55 per cent of the survey's less successful leaders. Only 37 per cent of the more successful leaders gave the Virgin man the thumbs-up.

A significant 37 per cent of the more successful leaders voted for the clean-shaven Archie Norman, former Asda boss and Tory MP, while only 22 per cent of the less successful went for him.

Finally, let us turn to KPMG itself. The chairman of KPMG's London region, Gerry Acher, has framed on his office wall a 1967 letter offering him his first job at the firm, in which his future boss notes that young Mr Acher was wearing a beard at his interview.

"Will you kindly make arrangements for this to be removed," the letter says. Mr Acher caved in, shaved and enjoyed a meteoric career.

Then last year Mr Acher took his Aston Martin DB5 on a classic car rally from Peking to Paris. A "rather rakish" beard reappeared on the Acher chin, and remains there. Faced with his own firm's evidence, how long can he hold out against the razor?

ABN AMRO said yesterday that the chairman of its Global Equity Directorate, Icke Hamilton, has decided to leave the Bank "to pursue his interests in the corporate/industrial sector".

According to a friend Mr Hamilton, 53, "just stopped enjoying it" despite making a pile of money and will now probably pick up a number of non-executive directorships.

Mr Hamilton joined ABN Amro in 1995 when it bought Alfred Berg, the Scandinavian investment bank of which he was then chief executive.

Swedish-born, Mr Hamilton currently commutes between Scandinavia and the Smoke. He will be replaced by Nick Bannister, a former head of sales and research at UBS headhunted by Hoare Govett in 1993. Mr Bannister is already head of equities for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and has been sharing an office with Mr Hamilton for a couple of years. In this time they rebranded all ABN Amro's equity businesses into one entity, with just Chicagocorp, Alfred Berg and Hoare Govett Corporate Finance to go.

Colleagues describe Mr Bannister as energetic and a keen point-to-point rider. No doubt ABN's equity business will get a good crack of the whip.

WHAT DID you feel the first time you switched on a PC for the very first time? A BT survey says the most common emotion was "to be excited" (44 per cent). The next was "baffled" (40 per cent): 15 per cent were scared, 5 per cent bored and 5 per cent disappointed.

Just 1 per cent felt nothing at all. I think I've felt all these over the years, ending up with the last one.

THE CORPORATE finance department at ING Barings has been accused of losing its grip so many times since the Dutch took over that it is nice to see some people actually joining the place.

Richard Burrell, 32, hops aboard from Warburg Dillon Read where he is currently an executive director in corporate finance. Stephen Oxenbridge, 41, is joining from Deutsche Morgan Grenfell in New York, where he is a managing director in the investment banking division, specialising in utilities M&As. They will both be reporting to Mark Burch and Charles Irby, co-heads of developed markets corporate finance at ING Barings, when they join in the autumn.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Jemma Gent: Project Coordinator

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Jemma Gent: In this role you will report to the Head of...

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable