People and; Business: War heroine as `first consultant'

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The Independent Online
THE GHOST of Florence Nightingale is looming large over Prince Jefri, younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, the second richest man in the world, according to a management consultant who has written a book about the Lady with the Lamp.

Hugh Small's day job is being a vice president with the management consultants, AT Kearney. For the last three years he has spent all his spare time researching Florence Nightingale, the nursing heorine of the Crimean War.

Mr Small is convinced that Florence Nightingale's revolutionary use of health statistics and colourful graphics had a dramatic impact on government and policymakers of the day - thus making her history's first management consultant.

During his sleuthing at the British Library, Mr Small discovered that the hotel in London's Mayfair where Florence Nightingale did her statistical research had not been demolished, as previously assumed.

In fact her workplace, 22 Albermarle Street, survives to this day - as part of Asprey's the Royal jewellers. Asprey's owner, Prince Jefri, recently merged it with Garrard, the Regent Street jewellers, and apparently has big development plans for the Albermarle Street site, that backs on to New Bond Street.

These plans may now have to be modified, however. Mr Small informed the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on 1 June of his discovery of Florence Nightingale's link with 22 Albermarle Street. On 20 August the Department slapped a Grade II preservation order on the building.

Whether this will cramp Prince Jefri's rebuilding plans is unclear. Mr Small meanwhile is about to publish his research in Florence Nightingale: Avenging Angel, a book that he describes as a "management consultant's view of history".

If that doesn't put you off, amongst the many things he mentions about Florence Nightingale is her own research, which disproved the popular legend that Napoleon's army died of cold on the Retreat from Moscow in 1812. In fact most of Napoleon's army died of disease on the way to Moscow, she claimed.

I'm sure Prince Jefri will find it a rivetting read.

BRITAIN'S FINANCE directors feel they're "under too much pressure", the poor things.

According to a survey of 200 FDs published today, over three quarters of them are put under too much pressure at work - as opposed to at the golf course, I can only suppose.

The survey by Reed Accountancy Personnel also reveals that 24 per cent said they were under pressure "all the time", and 52 per cent "most of the time". Only 7 per cent felt they were not under pressure, while 17 per cent were neutral.

One of the toiling accountants questioned commented: "Part of my job is to juggle many balls and have fingers in virtually all pies. To do it well takes both time and effort." How very true. Another felt that the pressure was part of the job, saying: "If you're not under pressure, you're in the wrong job in the wrong industry". All good bullish stuff.

Some of the FDs did get a bit carried away, I feel. One positively welcomed pressure, saying: "I probably thrive on it and wouldn't want it any other way". Creep!

FREDERICK DVORAK has just been appointed as an assistant director at KPMG Corporate Finance. And before you ask, yes, Frederick, 32, is related, albeit distantly, to the great 19th century composer from Moravia, Anton Dvorak.

"He was my great, great grand uncle," says young Mr Dvorak, who himself is French. "We're very proud of him in our family, but its not a huge thing for us." The composer is best known for the symphony From the New World, that contains the "Hovis" theme. His descendant has not carried on the muscial tradition. Young Mr Dvorak admits: "I may be tone deaf."

ABN AMRO have completed the reshuffle of their Global Equity Directorate after last week's departure of the directorate's chairman, Icke Hamilton.

Last week Nick Bannister, a senior ABN director and former UBS man, stepped into Mr Hamilton's shoes. This week Mr Bannister's place in turn was filled by Claus Gregersen, managing director of Alfred Berg ABN AMRO in Denmark.

Mr Gergersen will be replaced by Henrik Heideby in Copenhagen.

And the bank has also hired a Warburg Dillon Read chap, Risto Silander, as managing director of Alfred Berg ABN AMRO in Stockholm.

TO The Square, an ultra chic restaurant in Bruton Street not far from Asprey's, to see Richard Branson introduce Virgin One's latest TV advertising campaign to the world.

The actor used to plug the all-in-one financial service was Chris Langham, who spoke at the festivities.

Mr Langham said that he had once worked alongside Mr Branson on a student magazine - although he didn't say where.

At this Mr Branson looked uncharacteristically puzzled. Still, the bearded one can't be expected to remember everyone he's worked with over the years.