Superwoman quits - and takes her men with her

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The Independent Online
An Oxford contemporary of City superwoman Nicola Horlick has become the latest woman to cause a headhunting scandal.

Sarah Grunewald, who is possibly the only woman heading a corporate finance team outside London, was ordered to clear her desk at NatWest Markets last Friday when she announced she was quitting to join rivals Arthur Andersen.

The decision by Mrs Grunewald and her four-man team - who in traditional high finance fashion are going with her - meant NatWest Markets was forced to close its Leeds office and look after its clients from Manchester.

Mrs Grunewald began her career in corporate finance 14 years ago and despite taking time off to have three children, aged one to five, is now reported to earn in the pounds 100,000-a-year bracket. She more than doubled her number of clients during her time at NatWest and took over as director of corporate finance 16 months ago.

She is now sitting out her contract at home before starting her new job at the end of March, and was refusing to comment yesterday. But, earlier, she told the Daily Mail: "People I know have likened me to Nicola Horlick, but I am no superwoman.

"First and foremost, I am a mother. Combining home and work means I am always tired and always guilty - guilty that you are not giving enough time to everything."

Michael Beverley, her new boss at Arthur Andersen's northern regional office, said: "I don't think there are many women doing what she does. Like Nicola Horlick, she is a very capable lady."

Her work involves advising the management of companies on how to go public and matters such as flotations, takeover bids and rights issues.

But one City insider said few women survived in this market for long because the companies demanded 24-hour-a-day attention which made combining work with family difficult.

Mrs Grunewald's husband, Richard, a consultant neurologist, prepares breakfast for Harriet, five, Max, three, and Zoe, one, after she has departed for work from their home in the Peak District at 6.45am.

Mother-of-five Nicola Horlick was earning pounds 1m a year when, aged 35, she was sacked by Morgan Grenfell because it suspected she was about to take her team to a rival bank.