Wednesday 24 March 1999
Hold the vinegar: The Queen's Award for Exports, please, to Naomi Campbell (below), the model who has now turned venture capitalist, financing a counter-invasion of British fast food in the land of burgers. Miss Campbell is the main backer of an authentic British fish and chip shop planned for Greenwich Village, New York. The eaterie is to be called A Salt and Battery and will be the cornerstone of Miss Campbell's plan for a Little England to rival Chinatown and Little Italy. Officials have given permission for a red telephone box on the sidewalk outside the establishment.
City lunches are not what they used to be: At the Financial Services Authority, newly ensconced at Canary Wharf, the conversation is better than the food. Visitors were recently treated to sandwiches that were, one said, "disgusting". An austere regulatory regime is all very well but FSA boss Howard Davies doesn't need to poison the regulated to get their attention. Perhaps he should call Miss Campbell for catering advice.
Knocked out: At Merrill Lynch, nobody's reputation is currently higher than that of Stephen Bellotti, 38, the Australian head of European debt operations. He is also, if the sometimes misleading Merrill gossip mill is to be believed, a handy man in a scrape. Increasingly embellished accounts have it that Bellotti was the victor of a trading floor altercation with Nabeel Nabulsi, head of European fixed income sales. It is said this left Bellotti with a black eye and Nabulsi without a job. Merrill denies everything: Bellotti got his shiner playing tennis, the firm says, and Nabulsi has left, "of his own volition". Whatever the truth, Bellotti is plainly not a man to cross.
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