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Good to hear that Graham Ward, the former Oxford boxing blue, is set to be president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales in the year 2000.

Perhaps the 45-year-old Price Waterhouse partner should rename himself "Millennium" Ward. Under the Institute's arcane rules, once someone is nominated by the eight-strong council to become vice-president, they then automatically become deputy president a year later and full president the year after that.

A spokeswoman for the Institute commented, ``Mr Ward will have to box clever with Dame Sheila Masters, the current vice-president", referring to the bitter election the duo fought last year, which she won. The spokeswoman added: "He's quite a heavyweight."

Mr Ward, currently deputy chairman of PW's World Energy Group, is confident that any friction with Dame Sheila last year is over. "We worked together at the London Society of Chartered Accountants in the 1980s. I'm sure we will do the mature, proper thing and work together," he said.

And his ambitions for the millennium? "To get a sensible outcome to the audit liability debate." Makes the Dome sound positively scintillating. He also wants to improve the public image of accountants.

"People tend to think that auditing is all about fusty old people in fusty old rooms," he said. Er, yes. Isn't it?

A former principal private secretary to three former chancellors, Nigel Lawson, John Major and Norman Lamont, has just been appointed director of the Treasury's Budget and Public Finances Directorate.

In a classic show of civil service continuity, John Gieve, 47, will succeed Paul Gray, when Mr Gray moves to the Department of Social Security after the Budget. Mr Gieve's new job is, very crudely, to help draft the next Budget.

Our man is currently the deputy director in the Treasury with responsibility for general expenditure policy, including the management of the Comprehensive Spending Review. He began his climb up the civil service ladder in the Department of Employment and joined the Treasury at the end of 1978.

In 1982-84 he rose to Sir Humphrey-status when he was made private secretary to the chief secretary (first Leon Brittan and then Peter Rees). He spent the following two years making money at Investors in Industry, now 3i, before returning to Whitehall as the Treasury's press secretary. Then came his period as confessor to successive chancellors.

Patrick Crean is off to do his own thing after six years with Adare Printing Group, the Dublin-based printing group which does most of its business in the UK. Although only 34, Mr Crean has 14 years' experience in the printing industry and is now looking for a UK printer to buy, for around pounds 10m, according to colleagues.

Peter Lynch, finance director at Adare, says that Mr Crean spent most of his time moving around the businesses in the UK, where 13 of Adare's 16 businesses are based. Mr Lynch said: "Paddy's biggest success was turning around the Waddington printing business we bought from John Waddington, the Monopoly company. Paddy took it from losing pounds 2.5m to making a profit of pounds 3m in just over two years."

Mr Crean was made a director of Adare four and a half years ago. Before joining Adare he spent eight years with Clondalkin, a printing group which used to own a big mill in Clondalkin, Dublin, before the latter went bust.

Anthony Muller, senior vice-president and chief financial officer with the Anglo-American software developer Micro Focus Group, has resigned from the company to join another business in California.

Micro Focus has its headquarters in Newbury in England and its other office in Palo Alto, in California's Silicon Valley. Mr Muller is joining another, as yet un-named, company with which he has been associated for around 10 years.

Micro Focus says it intends to announce a replacement shortly, probably with the annual results on 4 March, and during the interim period, the company's vice president, general counsel and secretary, Loren Hillberg, will assume Mr Muller's role.

Mr Muller was very much associated with Marcelo Gumucio, who was brought in as chief executive of the company in April 1996 to rescue it from drowning in losses. Mr Gumucio appointed Mr Muller as effective finance director in September 1996, and then left last July after returning Micro to profit.

Micro's new chief executive Martin Waters said yesterday: "The company is confident that it will meet its revenue and profit plans for the remainder of this fiscal year and believes it will continue to grow in both revenue and profits for the coming fiscal year.''