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HANS-JOERG Rudloff is back - as chairman of Barclays Capital's executive committee. The legendary former boss of Credit Suisse First Boston has been in semi-retirement for the last couple of years but last December his former colleague, Bob Diamond, persuaded him to return from his Geneva base to take up the investment banking cudgels in London.

Mr Diamond, who has been at Barclays Capital for the last two years, the latter year as chief executive, worked at CSFB in 1992, when Mr Rudloff was chairman and chief executive. Mr Rudloff, 57, did for the Eurobond markets in the 1970s and 1980s what Henry Ford did for popular car ownership at the beginning of the century, and his re-emergence at Barclays' investment banking arm is sure to give it much -needed clout since it sold its equities and corporate finance businesses last autumn.

Recent press reports wrongly suggested that Mr Rudloff was destined for Warburg Dillon Read. For the last four years he has been running his own investment bank, MC Securities, which specialised in Eastern Europe and Russia, and which he recently sold to Robert Fleming.

Now Mr Diamond is looking forward to his old boss bringing his well-known, hard-nosed deal making skills to Barclays Capital's target markets: "the integration of the bond and loan markets, the introduction of the euro and the significant potential of emerging markets."

FORGET Eurovision and warbling Israeli transsexuals, the only contest accountants KPMG were interested in last weekend were the municipal elections. Head of press relations, Tim Roberts, was reasonably confident of winning the Tory council of Friern Barnet in London for Labour.

Sadly, our hero failed to "do a Tony," and the north London borough remains True Blue. At least it was a hard fight, I'm told, and not "nul points".

THERE was some ripe banter at Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) yesterday as the company unveiled OK-ish results.

One journalist asked: "What's the highest charge you can pay for your cable TV and telephony?" Greg Clarke, CWC's UK managing director, answered without missing a beat: "I think you can go up to about pounds 45 a month. That means you have to take all the porn channels."

At which point Nicholas Mearing-Smith, the company's finance director, couldn't resist adding: "Which is why Greg knows the exact charge."

To which Mr Clarke in turn rejoined: "Yes, but Nick lives in a CWC franchise area, whereas I don't."

Perhaps CWC should launch a new sports slot: "All-in wrestling direct from the boardroom."

DERMOT Kelly, the director of Skoda UK, is used to defending a brand that is still seen in this country as a standing joke. This lunchtime he faces his toughest test - a grilling from the members of the Saffron Walden Rotary Club. They have booked Mr Kelly to speak as part of a themed motoring day which kicks off with a visit to Woods of Great Eastern, the country's best-known restorer of Rolls-Royce cars.

The two events were booked months ago when the only thing that Skoda and Rolls had in common was four wheels. However, the eagle-eyed rotarians will have spotted that if Volkswagen wins the German battle for Rolls, then the luxury car maker will become part of the same stable as Skoda, which has been owned by VW since 1991. Mr Kelly promises he will not be fazed, whatever questions he is called upon to field.

FRESH from being appointed exclusive caterer to BA's no-frills airline Go, Costa Coffee is branching out into the music business. From this week, most of the Whitbread-owned group's 85-odd outlets will be selling, alongside the lattes and deep-roasted espressos, a compilation CD called A Putumayo Blend: Music from the Coffee Lands.

The idea is the brainchild of Dan Storper, chairman and chief executive of Putumayo. Dan got into the in-vogue "world music" through his previous business of selling traditional clothing and artifacts in New York.

Travelling to developing countries for his merchandise, Dan found himself getting more and more interested in the local musical styles. Returning home after his trips he would make tapes of the records he had bought and play them in the shop. When customers started asking about the music, he - with classic entrepreneurial flair - spotted another business opportunity.

The heady brew of coffee, ethnic music and books has worked well in the United States, where Putumayo CDs were apparently the first to be sold in the cafes of the huge booksellers Borders and Barnes & Noble, which are just entering the UK market.

And Storper, a cappuccino fiend himself, sees Costa as drawing on coffee houses' original role in the development of institutions like Lloyd's of London and gentlemen's clubs.