Well-connected man returns

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The Independent Online
DAVID DAVIES, who has returned to head his old property company, Imry Holdings, gets hot under the collar if you mention his playboy tag. 'You can't do what I've done and be a playboy,' he says.

The gossip columns eagerly followed Mr Davies's first marriage to Debbie Loeb, a New York banking heiress. His name was linked with one of Princess Margaret's ladies-in-waiting and with Christina Onassis. These days he prefers to be known as one of the best-connected men in British business.

As well as returning to the top of Imry after a three-year absence, Mr Davies, 52, sits on the boards of Johnson Matthey and American Barrick Resources Corporation. He is a former vice-chairman of Britain's second-biggest property company, MEPC, ex-managing director of Hongkong Land, and has also headed Hill Samuel.

Mr Davies feels one connection has been overplayed - the one with Andrew Buxton, chief executive and chairman-designate of Barclays. One year older than Mr Buxton, Mr Davies says he knew the future banker at Winchester but did not see much of him when they both went to Oxford.

Among Mr Davies's business achievements is what has been described as the sale of the century - when he persuaded TSB to proceed with the purchase of Hill Samuel for three and a half times its book value, despite the 1987 crash.

Hill Samuel shareholders could not believe their luck. TSB has never really recovered.