People & Business: Airtours chief tops the entrepreneurial charts

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David Crossland, chairman of Airtours, is the UK's top entrepreneur, according to the first annual survey by Enterprise magazine. The mag, under its new editor, Richard Shackleton, has compiled a list of the UK's top 100 entrepreneurs by ranking them in terms of personal wealth and business acumen, based on sales growth and increase in employment over five years.

With the greatest of respect to Mr Crossland and the other enterprising types on the list, surely it runs the risk of emulating the Guardian Young Businessman of the Year, an annual award which turned into a kiss of death. Winners in the 1980s included John Aschcroft of Coloroll, John Gunn of British & Commonwealth and George Davies, head of Next - all of whom came down with a bump.

Alistair Ross Goobey, then with the broker James Capel, analysed the Guardian winners in the nine years to 1988. While shares in all but two of the last nine winners boomed in the three years before the award, all but two lost heavily in relative terms in the period between winning and the Goobey probe.

On the other hand, I'm sure Enterprise will do better. After all, it's got Lloyds Bank Commercial Service sponsoring it.

Anyone got a job for Ken Clarke? The former inmate of Number 11 told fellow diners yesterday that he was looking for a job in business. "I always thought of myself as a pro-business Chancellor," declared the brown- shoed member for Nottingham Rushcliffe. "Now I would like to run a business."

Our Ken says he's "got feelers out", but there have been no takers yet. He adds that he has not been asked to be chairman of his home football team, Nottingham Forest, contrary to some press reports. The pint'n'panatella- wielding politician insists he likes going to watch football, but that's as far as it goes.

Book your tickets now - Cambridge Mineral Resources says it has "completed a heavy mineral survey on the Inishowen licence group in County Donegal in Ireland, confirming its initial findings of diamond, kimberlite and lamproite indicator minerals and small blue sapphires present in the stream samples." What this means in plain English, says Cambridge's managing director, David Bramhill, is that they've found some "candy pink sapphires" and other mineral deposits which strongly suggest that diamonds are present.

Mr Bramhill and a handful of other investors formed Cambridge last year and floated it on AIM in March, in order to prospect for gemstones in Ireland, Sweden and Spain. His theory is that there is a global band of sapphires stretching from Archangel in Russia, through the Western Isles of Scotland all the way to Montana in the US - with Inishowen somewhere in the middle.

That said, he's keen not to over-egg the pudding. "We don't want everyone turning up panning for stuff in the rivers."

Congratulations to Richard Dixon, who is retiring as head of investor relations at Storehouse on Friday after eight years in the job. He had a drinks do for analysts on Monday evening, and is described by colleagues as "very highly regarded."

To paraphrase Harold Wilson, eight years is certainly a long time in business. Mr Dixon was originally asked to help out two days a week at Storehouse by its then chairman, Terence Conran, along with former chief executive Michael Julien, both long departed from the group. "I always meant it to be part-time, but I'm still here," Mr Dixon said yesterday.

His career has included a long spell as ITN's industrial correspondent, then information director at the CBI, and stints at Imperial Group and Eurotunnel. It was in 1989 that he retired to write a book about transport, but only got two-thirds of the way through it before he got the call from Storehouse. "It's still waiting to be finished," he says, in a way that suggests it never will be.

While the proposed merger between BT and MCI to create a company called Concert has entered choppy waters, the BT-sponsored sailing boat Concert has become becalmed in the middle of the Atlantic. This has left one of the boat's crew, Dr Alan Rudge, BT's deputy chief executive, with a tricky problem. Will he make the agm in Edinburgh today?

Dr Rudge has helped crew Concert throughout the year-long, around-the- world Global Challenge, and his boat was expected to enter Southampton in the early hours of this morning. Then, according to a BT spokeswoman yesterday, he would be whisked up to Edinburgh by the quickest means available for the 10.30 start.

Whatever happens, Dr Rudge can take pride in Concert's performance in coming third. Whether the other Concert will ever make it down the slipway remains to be seen.

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