People & Business: Arise, Sir Jurgen, as UK honours Siemens chief

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The Independent Online
History will repeat itself after 114 years when Jurgen Gehrels, chief executive of Siemens plc and the man with overall responsibility for the group's activities in the UK, is made an honorary KBE for his contribution to British industry. The original founder of the Siemens business in Britain, William Siemens was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1883 in recognition of his services to science.

Since then, of course, its assets have been sequestrated not once but twice during two world wars, something over which the press release discreetly draws a veil. But in the 11 years since Herr Gehrels took over the UK operations in 1986 turnover of Siemens UK has risen from something over pounds 100m to an estimated pounds 2bn.

He rapidly rebuilt the company through a combination of organic growth, new investment and acquisitions. He was a prime mover in the setting up of Siemens Semiconductors' pounds 1.1bn plant on North Tyneside, in 1995 the largest ever inward investment in the UK.

Getting the best out of the 1997 Economic Summit, which opens in Denver, Colorado next week, is likely to be a costly affair. Taking part in the talks is likely to be the cheapest option of all. My colleague who will be there to get a flavour of the world's most serious problems from the world's most serious politicians is already being offered a variety of attractions, from a souvenir photo of herself riding Boz the (stuffed) 800lb bull, a free tour of the Coors Brewery and a one-to-one with Bill Coors himself, a co-chairman of the Host Committee.

For the less energetically inclined the Rita B Salon offers a gent's haircut at $40, a woman's haircut and styling for $60. Colouring costs $60 and highlights $90. Cheapest item on the menu is a nail polish change at $15. A full hour's body massage will set you back $60, but a chair massage is just $1 a minute.

I hear with a barely concealed sense of outrage that Guinness of all people have signed a contract with Carl Pickford Associates, the specialist advertising company which has bought exclusive rights to advertise in public loos of all places, the spiritual home of writers of rude rhymes from Kilroy onwards. Carl Pickford, a former assistant manager of Duran Duran, who runs CPA has already signed up 2,000 sites mainly in London and the South-east. He tells me that outdoor poster advertising may well have reached saturation point, but indoor pub advertising is an open book, a blank sheet of paper so to speak.

It can deliver a captive audience for anything from 30 seconds to 3.5 minutes according to scientific research, and can target men and women separately. The first Guinness ads will include a rather risque slogan based on the hokey-cokey lyrics: In, out, shake it all about etc. The company will service its sites regularly and thinks it has the answer to all those jokesters who think they can gild the lily while they strain the greens. I sense a challenge.

The 24th annual luncheon and presentation of awards to winners of the annual Extel Survey of Investment Analysts promises to be a swift and sober affair. Extel had booked the Guildhall on 2 July before the Chancellor chose the same date for his first Budget. Lunches at the Guildhall are not lightly cancelled so the organisers are promising to bring proceedings to an end by 2.15pm so analysts can get back to their posts before Gordon Brown rises to his feet. Marjorie Scardino the chief executive of Pearson is presenting the awards at the end of the meal.

Eddie George is a hard man to keep out of a diary column these days. Tomorrow he will be turning up at the Cranfield School of Management, to receive an honorary MBA. Also up for an honour is Sir Colin Marshall, the chairman of British Airways and president of the CBI.

Tony Hales, chief executive of Allied Domecq is not a man to duck a tough question. In his column On the Record in the group's house journal ADventure he is asked: "What effect would a single currency in Europe have on our business?" He replies: "Many issues have to be resolved before I can give you a detailed answer to that question." There you have it.

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