Putting the beef in the special relationship

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The Independent Online
Grand Metropolitan is recognised for its significant investment in the American diet. Tonight, at the Pierre in New York, The Rt Hon Lord Sheppard, Grand Met's chairman, will accept a British-American Chamber of Commerce award for his "outstanding contribution'' to the economic relationship between the UK and US.

At first glance this looks like a big thank you for beefing up Burger King.With its US hamburger and Pillsbury operations dispensing everything from grilled meat to canned sweetcorn, the judges of the inaugural Transatlantic Business Awards have displayed a common touch. The US winner is Alex Trotman, chief executive of the ubiquitous Ford Motor Company.

However, the smaller company awards demonstrate an altogether more scientific approach. The British winner is Bill Castell and Amersham International for "innovative application of technology''. The US winner is the hi-tech Gartner Group.

Barry Dale's pounds 1.2bn bid for Littlewoods has come as a welcome breath of fresh air for two the City's better known spin doctors. The meters are now running at Alan Parker's Brunswick agency (Littlewoods) and Lowe Bell Financial, Sir Tim Bell's outfit, which is representing the former Littlewoods chief executive.

All the signs are that this could be a lucrative - I'm sorry, lengthy - battle, pitting together two old adversaries. For Lowe Bell there is the need to exorcise the humiliation of the Hanson affair.

Scholars of the persuasion business will recall the stiff letter from the Huddersfield peer to Sir Tim during the abortive ICI bid, complaining that Mr Parker "shows himself to be running circles around us''.

Not all has been lost in the demolition of the corporate communications department at Redland, builders merchants to a grateful nation. The 45,000 photographic images which make up the firm's library have been discovered intact and will be preserved for posterity.

You might think that 45,000 photos of bricks is too much of a good thing. But the Redland collection has been painstakingly built over more than 20 years and represents the definitive evolution of the brick.

"There are pictures of bricks, clay tiles, aggregates and even various stages of the manufacturing processes,'' explains Brian Stapely, Redland's photographer of two decades. "They are used by the salesmen. But once you have taken them it's difficult to get rid of them.''

While Mr Stapely's views might not be universally held, the collection does contain something for every taste. "We have even have shots of wild geese flying over building sites,'' he reflects.

The tragic death last Tuesday of Simon Mathieson, the up-and-coming Goldman Sachs man, has come as a shock to friends and colleagues. The 28-year-old equities salesman on the US desk specialised in selling to Scotland and had taken to commuting to Glasgow on his motorbike. He died last Tuesday in an accident on the M40, leaving his widow, Abigail. The two met at the investment bank and had been married for five months.

There will be a memorial service for Mr Mathieson this Friday at Hindland Parish Church, Clydesbank, Glasgow at 2.30pm.

So no wholesale sacking of the Baring ancestry in the move to London Wall over the weekend. Some 40 Pickford removal trucks later and the portraits of great-grandfather Baring and his subsequent issue (loins not bonds) have been safely installed in the new headquarters. Not a Rembrandt or Van Gogh in sight.

Indeed, Baring's new Dutch owners have been given a sharp lesson in City tradition Our man in the stolen Pickfords uniform reports the new dining rooms to be "more than adequate and certainly up to City standards.'' Never let a pounds 1bn loss get in the way of a good lunch.