Tiny reminds MPs of a nasty business five years ago; People & Business

The behaviour of Tiny Rowland, ousted founder of Lonrho, is becoming a trifle odd. Yesterday a glossy brochure plopped on my desk titled "R.W. `Tiny' Rowland - An Apology." Inside the four-page pamphlet, Francesca Pollard apologises to Tiny for her "long and vicious campaign against him under my name."

Miss Pollard, an unemployed mother of two, admits she carried out a four- year anti-Tiny Rowland campaign funded and organised by Mohamed Al Fayed. She "signed and distributed libellous letters to members of both Houses of Parliament, the legal profession including judges, and thousands of other influential people in England and abroad".

And on it goes. But hang on a minute. The "apology" is signed and dated 25 June 1991. Why send it out now, over five years later?

Apparently it is aimed at the House of Commons Privileges Committee, which is investigating Mr Neil Hamilton MP, to point out what a thoroughly nasty chap Mr Fayed is.

"We feel the committee needs reminding of who they're dealing with," said Josie Rowlands, Tiny's wife. All very odd.

John Kay, who has resigned his job as chairman of the influential London Economics consultancy in order to become the first director of the Said Business School in Oxford, is a bitterly disappointed man.

"Last Tuesday was a disastrous day for Oxford," he said, referring to the dons' vote against accepting Wafic Said's pounds 20m donation for the new school.

While Mr Kay remains optimistic that the postal vote of Oxford's 3,000 dons this week will overturn the earlier rejection, he candidly admits that things could go wrong. He has asked the vice-chancellor to agree to postpone his start date from 1 January to 1 April 1997.

He says that if the position has not been clarified by then " I will, with the greatest regret, withdraw my acceptance of its [the school's] offer."

This is tricky, since Baroness Hogg is due to take over as chairwoman of London Economics on 1 January whatever happens. So if the business school is scuppered Mr Kay will "take a long holiday, write a book, and do bits of work for London Economics. I'm not going to be short of work."

Angered as he is by the vote, he only wants the school to go ahead if it gets the full pounds 20m from Mr Said. "I don't want anything half cock or second rate, and neither does Mr Said."

Bad news for Richard Branson of Virgin, Alan Sugar of Spurs, entrepreneur Peter de Savary, Graham Day (formerly of Rover) and the Duke of Kent.

"Young women do not trust men with beards, but are more tolerant than their male counterparts when it comes to casual dress in a business situation," says a survey.

The survey of 500 men and women of varying ages was conducted by insurer CGA Direct. It showed that "younger women displayed a marked aversion to bearded men - 52 per cent said that they would have less trust in a man with a beard."

No doubt this is why John Sunderland, chief executive of Cadbury Schweppes, and Roger Myers, founder of Pelican (now owned by Whitbread) have both shaved off their beards. There's some consolation for the whiskers brigade, however. Over 80 per cent of men over 45 said that facial hair would not affect the level of trust they had in a man.

So will Branson shave it off?

Peter and Michael Kane founded their Business Post parcel delivery company based in Slough over 20 years ago. Last year Peter stepped down as chairman, despite the fact that the company's shares have done very well. Perhaps making money just gets boring after a while. Now Michael Kane has declared he is stepping down in March, and will go to live in Jersey.

So is he one of a growing band of chief executives who are heading for the exits to avoid a Labour tax bombshell? No, no, says Mr Kane, there are the charms of Jersey, the better climate, the kids will love it, the lower taxation. "I'll be going anyway even if the Conservatives get back in."

Ironically if the Tories do get re-elected, it could be a big opportunity for Business Post, since it's in a good position to profit from any privatisation of the Royal Mail.

SBC Warburg re-jigged its emerging markets operations in the Far East yesterday. Rodney Ward has spent some time integrating SBC and Warburg in Asia, and he is now returning to Europe to revamp emerging markets operations here. Mr Ward is succeeded by Luqman Arnold, who joins from Banque Paribas, where he was head of the business development department.

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