Virtual City Diary

IT HAS been extremely sticky down at Komme Towers so I adjourned to the Snug Bar at the Fount of all Knowledge for a sloe comfortable frappe or two. Who should I see staring woefully into the dregs of a lager shandy than my old friend David David, the Welsh words wizard and casual adviser to NatWest. He has been on code red for Project Tinkie Winkie for the past few days and I inquire why he is not in the City toasting the creation of a vibrant force in global financial services.

"Name of Shame," he mutters incoherently

It transpires that Derek Wanless, NatWest chief, was referred to on prime-time national steam radio yesterday by his chairman Sir David Rowland as David Wanless. Later in the day as Mr Wanless tried to distinguish between (NatWest) David (Rowland) and (Legal & General) David (Prosser), he pronounced in exasperation that "there are too many Davids in this deal". That was enough for the Welsh wordsmith and he is now trying to find a family with whom to spend more time.

HE IS not the only casualty of the NatWest acquisition of Legal & General. Joining David David in the departure lounge is NatWest's Paul Myners who carries the appropriate title of Executive Director, Wealth Management Business. It was Mr Myners who can take much of the credit for the deal since it was his insistence which persuaded Sir David to make that call to David.

Although Paul has lost out to my old pal and drinking companion David (David?) Rough from L&G, he will still have a reasonable amount of wealth to manage. He is promised the compensation he is entitled to which will be 12 months salary plus bonus , plus benefits and presumably whatever he is entitled to under the various Gartmore incentive schemes of which he is a member. All in all he could be up for a package which will allow him to start his own TV gameshow Who wants to see a Millionaire. If he were my friend I would phone him, ask for an audience and seek to go 50- 50.

ON A more serious note, David David brings me distressing news. Garry Weston, the billionaire chairman of Associated British Foods, has suffered a mild stroke.

Thankfully, he is expected to make a full recovery, and he will leave hospital shortly. Deputy chairman Harry Bailey will take on the role of acting chairman for a "period of several weeks" while Mr Weston recuperates, the company said. Day-to-day running of the business will continue to be the responsibility of chief executive Peter Jackson, who was appointed on 1 June.

Mr Weston, 71, has been a director at the company since 1949 and was chief executive from 1966 until he relinquished day-to-day control of the group in December last year. He is also chairman of the luxury department store Fortnum & Mason, and one of the few British representatives on the Forbes Top 500 list of billionaires.

Our thoughts are with Mr Weston and I join my colleagues in wishing him a speedy recovery.

IN 1953, four years after Mr Weston was appointed to the AB Foods board, Walt Disney made a film called Peter Pan. It has been a firm favourite with families for nearly half a century.

I regard myself as something of a Peter Pan figure with the gift of eternal youth and a close acquaintance with Never Never Land. I was pleased to hear, therefore, that the Walt Disney Company has been obliged to end production and send back to the development process a planned sequel to Peter Pan. This is fairly common, particularly with animated pictures. I can only hope Tinkerbell can spread her pixie dust in all the right places and ensure my dreams are not shattered by the release of Peter Pan 2.

IF PETER PAN ever grew up he would become a fighter of evil and righter of wrongs, or someone like David (David?) Pitt-Watson who was yesterday appointed Commercial Director at Hermes Lens Asset Management.

David is glowingly described as an Activist director which, presumably he will become a Swampie of fund management, holing up in boardroom drinks cabinets and tunnelling under private helipads. Mr Pitt-Watson was a founding partner and managing director of Braxton Associates, the strategy consulting arm of Deloittes, and since 1997 has been Assistant General Secretary of the Labour Party where he has played a significant part in turning around its financial fortunes. A case of fund raiser turned fund manager?

Dorothy `Dot' Komme (John Willcock is on holiday)

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