People & Business

FORMER colleagues of Quintin Price, head of pan-European equities at HSBC Investment Bank until his departure before Christmas, are wondering how he will fare in his new job as Boots' director of corporate development.

Mr Price's new role at the stores group is yet to be officially announced. He will join in about a month, reporting to Boots's finance director, David Thompson.

Mr Price joined James Capel in 1987, the broker that later became part of HSBC, and while a stores analyst there he managed to tip Sears, Kingfisher and WH Smith, shortly before all three performed disastrously.

Happily all three stocks subsequently recovered, but this history has prompted wags to wonder whether Mr Price's brief at Boots might be to go and find the next Ward White, the Halfords and AG Stanley business which proved an unmitigated disaster for Boots.

All very churlish, no doubt. Mr Price's former colleagues are also wondering how he will fare in the Midlands, outside the cosy, pin-striped environs of the Square Mile.

THERE was a nasty shock at yesterday's press conference to announce the joint venture between Energis, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom. All ended happily, however.

As the assembled executives were being grilled by Fleet Street's finest, one Deutsche Telekom senior director, Rex Stephenson, slumped across the top table, ashen faced.

As fellow directors went to his aid, one asked the assembled gathering: "Does anyone have any first aid skills?" There was, I am sad to say, a distinct lack of journalists running forward to volunteer their services.

Anyway, Mr Stephenson soon recovered from his "turn", and was able to quip: "It shows I need my holiday." His hols in fact start today. We wish him well.

GEORGE LOUDON, a Dutchman who was born in New York and spent four years at the helm at the old Midland Montagu, has popped up as a non-executive director of CMG, the IT out-sourcing company.

CMG itself was founded in the UK but has grown faster in the Netherlands, and now has a quote on both the London and Amsterdam Stock Exchanges. As such Mr Loudon, who was educated in the Netherlands and at Balliol and speaks fluent Dutch, should be an asset. The much travelled chap also speaks fluent French, German and Spanish, and has worked at Lazard Freres and the Ford Foundation in New York, as well as a stint at McKinsey. He is currently a director of Arjo Wiggins Appleton and Geveke NV.

Mr Loudon replaces Joop Feilzer, vice chairman of Fortis AMEV, a Dutch/Belgian financial group, who retires from the CMG board this year.

TALKING of much-travelled people, Barclays Capital has just hired a young Frenchman who recently spent two years helping to advise the Russian government on its economic reforms.

Jacques Delpla, 31, joins the bank from the Hautes Etudes Commerciales, one of those impossibly high-flown French establishments where the elite is groomed to rule. He is joining the bank as European economist and EMU strategist based in Paris.

Mr Delpla has been lecturing on economic and monetary union, the French economy and the former USSR, which links him with Bob Diamond, Barclays Capital's chief executive. Mr Diamond also started his career as a lecturer. Way back in 1976 Mr Diamond lectured at the School of Business at the University of Connecticut.

Also joining Barclays Capital is Timothy Bond, who is coming from Moore Europe Research Services in London to be the bank's head of European and Japanese interest rate strategy.

DAVID WENT hasn't wasted any time getting stuck in at Irish Life, which he joined from Coutts as managing director last month.

Out goes Jean Wood, who retires as chief executive of Ireland (Retail). In comes Brian McConnell as chief operating officer for the Group. Mr McConnell joins from NatWest, where he was regional managing director in Birmingham. Before that he was chief executive of Ulster Investment Bank.

A spokesman for the company insists this does not presage an avalanche of other management changes. "We have the team we need to take the company forward,' he says.

Jean Wood expressed her wish to retire from Irish Life some months ago, and Mr Went plans to do the job himself. There are no plans for a successor for Ms Wood.

GRANVILLE Private Equity Funds is opening a US office in New York and has hired Gary H Solomon as chief executive officer.

Mr Solomon has spent the last 16 years in the private equity sector as a partner with Abbott Capital Management in New York, "a leading gatekeeper", it says on the announcement.

Apparently a "gatekeeper" is private equity parlance for the middleman who advises public and corporate pension funds on their investments in private equity vehicles. So now you know.