People & Business

The new Lord Mayor of London to be elected next Monday will be Richard Nichols, a solicitor from Watford. Mr Nichols, an Alderman for the Candlewick ward in the Cannon Street area of the City, has already been given the nod to take over from the incumbent, Sir Roger Cork.

Mr Nichols will probably be the last Lord Mayor to be elected in this way, by a meeting of the Liverymen in the Guildhall, since the Corporation proposed to reform its election procedures two weeks ago. These proposals are a response to Labour threats to abolish the Corporation unless it opens itself up to more voters.

Bearing this in mind, Mr Nichols' election might raise eyebrows in government ranks, since he was originally elected alderman in 1984 with just seven votes. This certainly puts the Welsh referendum figures into perspective.

Mr Nichols beat into second place Peter Levene, who scored six votes. The other candidate Christopher Mitchell got five.

Coincidentally, Peter Levene (now Lord Levene) will also run for election as Lord Mayor alongside Mr Nichols on Monday - but the former is preordained to come second, the way these things are run.

Lord Levene, former defence procurement adviser and ex-head of Canary Wharf, is due to wait another year before taking his turn in the mayoral ermine.

The Corporation is proposing to democratise itself by increasing its franchise from around 20,000 to over 50,000, mainly by introducing a "business vote". It has a long way to go. Mr Nichols' ward of Candelwick currently has a grand total of 87 non-residential voters - and just 2 residential voters.

Meanwhile, anyone who got on the wrong side of Sir Roger Cork while he was Lord Mayor had better watch out. When he passes the baton on in October he will return to his original career - as a receiver for accountants Moore Stephens. You have been warned.

Patrick Ponsolle, co-chairman of Eurotunnel, was busy railing against the latest anti-tunnel piece in the press yesterday.

The disconsolate Frenchman said: "I was not feeling totally at ease [this morning] because we were going to have a press conference where there was no news. In fact I was feeling close to nervous."

Sure enough the FT stepped in with a piece saying a new crisis was looming for Eurotunnel. Georges-Christian Chazot, managing director, clearly saw the writing on the wall, telling journalists: "I can't stay for questions. I have to go to Waterloo on the back of a motorbike. It's something I haven't done for 50 years."

A couple of marketing consultants who specialise in advising accountancy firms have come up with a novel wheeze - The Marketing Correspondence Cookbook.

Imagine my disappointment, however, when I discovered that, far from containing recipes for "Audit Strogannoff" and "Seared leaves of VAT on a bed of SSAP 21", it contained 150 pages of advice on how to use direct mail to win new accountancy clients.

Gordon Gilchrist only recently teamed up with Christian Frederiksen to form Buckinghamshire-based Frederiksen Gilchrist. Together they claim to lecture to over 4,500 accountancy firms a year. Sounds exciting.

"Additionally," they add, "we are proud to boast a rooster (sic) of clients well in excess of 1,000 firms." No wonder they're crowing.

It's not just the accountancy profession that is getting a tad eccentric. City law firm Mischon de Reya claims to be the first to have introduced its own poetry corner, complete with resident poet.

Mischon partners Jonathan Cameron and Anthony Julius decided recently that the arid world of legal debate needed brightening up, and invited poet Lavinia Greenlaw to spend half-a-day a week at the firm's Southampton Row offices, according to The Lawyer magazine.

Ms Greenlaw beat 60 other candidates to the job, and she hopes to hold regular workshops for budding versifiers in the firm.

In the spirit of things, I launch the People & Business Limerick competition. Complete the following, on a postcard please: "There was a young poet from Mischon..."