Predators feature on Honours list

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The Independent Online
THREE of 1992's most notable stock market predators feature in the New Year Honours. And, not for the first time, corporate donors to the Conservative Party are prominent - a feature that may revive allegations that gongs can be had for a price.

Willie Purves, the dour Scottish chairman and chief executive of HSBC, receives a knighthood. He outwitted Lloyds Bank to take over Midland Bank for pounds 4bn last summer. An influential figure in Hong Kong, he also chairs the Jockey Club there.

Also knighted is Christopher Lewinton, chairman and chief executive of TI Group, which made a pounds 494m hostile takeover of Dowty in June. Mr Lewinton is well known for his jet-set lifestyle and high pay - pounds 488,000 last year - and for transforming TI's fortunes since his arrival in 1986.

Martin Taylor, vice-chairman of Hanson, the highly acquisitive conglomerate, is appointed CBE. His pounds 790m bid for the food group Ranks Hovis McDougall was trumped by Lord Hanson's former protege, Greg Hutchings, of Tomkins. A knighthood goes to Geoff Mulcahy, the workaholic chairman and chief executive of Kingfisher, the retail group. Mr Mulcahy has built Kingfisher into a pounds 3bn turnover business since the buy-in of the moribund Woolworth chain in the early 1980s. Also to be knighted are Robert Clarke, chairman of United Biscuits, and Christopher 'Chips' Keswick, chairman of Hambros, the merchant bank.

Many of the bosses honoured run companies that make generous donations to the Tories. Last year, United Biscuits gave pounds 130,000, Hambros pounds 51,000, Kingfisher pounds 25,000 and Hanson pounds 100,000.

Appointed CBE for services to the newspaper industry is Frank Barlow, managing director of Pearson Group, which owns the Financial Times. Clinton Silver, deputy chairman and managing director of Marks & Spencer, another Tory party donor, is also made CBE, as is William Morrison, deputy senior partner of accountants KPMG Peat Marwick. Christopher Sharp, managing director of Northern Rock, is the only building society chief to receive a high honour this year - he becomes a CBE.

Engineers are well rewarded, with CBE appointements going to Alexander Daly, managing director of GKN's engineered products division; Edwin Foden, chairman of truckmaker ERF (Holdings); and James Keir, director of supply at Rolls-Royce aero engines.

At the Confederation of British Industry, David Wigglesworth, chairman of the economic situation committee, is made CBE.

Hazel Cook, who may have had the busiest year - as typing manager of the Department of Trade and Industry's insolvency service - is made MBE.

(Photograph omitted)