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
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
Life and Style
life + style
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Client Services Assistant

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client Services Assistant is ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

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

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor