The Business On... Lord MacLaurin, Non-executive director, Evolution

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The Independent Online

He's back at Evolution Securities? Isn't there a bid battle there?

Yes. It's rather hard to see why, though. Stockbrokers are people businesses and taking them over is notoriously risky. You end up having to pay up once for the business, only to have to pay up again to stop all the best staff from walking out the door. Not that this should bother Lord MacLaurin as he helps to umpire what amounts to an auction, having rejoined the stockbroker as a non-executive director only a couple of months after stepping down.

Is he a good man to have?

Eminently. Lord MacLaurin has had a distinguished business career. He was instrumental in the rise and rise of Tesco (he had the foresight to hire Sir Terry Leahy to run the supermarket chain while he was its chairman). He was also chairman of Vodafone for a number of years, overseeing its rise to market dominance.

Didn't he write a book about it?

Indeed so. It's a rather macho affair which goes on about about how he grabbed the "Tiger by the Tail" while in business. If you want to find out more, you can always snap up a second-hand copy on Amazon's marketplace for the princely sum of 1p (plus delivery).

But that's not what he's best-known for is it?

No. He's a a sporty type who even played minor counties cricket for Hertfordshire in his youth (his son Neil made an appearance at first-class level for Middlesex). He also chaired the England and Wales Cricket Board between 1997 and 2002.

Did he grab the tiger by the tail?

Hmm... not so much. England ended the 1990s as officially the world's worst Test side, but performances did pick up a bit thereafter and they had recovered to equal fourth by the time of his departure. Not a patch on the current bunch though.

So what's the deal at Evolution?

Investec, the South African group, is in talks to buy the broker but other bidders are circling – Canada's Cannacord Financial expressed an interest yesterday. This will be more like Test cricket than limited overs.