News Josef Ackermann spoke of ‘shock’ at the suspected suicide of his colleague

Josef Ackermann, the chairman of Switzerland’s top-ranking Zurich Insurance Group and a former head of Deutsche Bank, has stepped down with immediate effect following the suspected suicide of the company’s chief financial officer.

Debt accord set to ease European Directories deal

£1.7bn restructuring will see banks write-off 80 per cent of what phone book publisher owes

Rio recovers from a dog of a deal

After a disastrous M&A adventure in 2007, the mining giant has staged a remarkable recovery

Goldman Sachs fined £17.5m by FSA over fraud investigation

Goldman Sachs is to pay an estimated £17.5m fine to the UK's Financial Services Authority, after admitting that it should have told the regulator it was under investigation for fraud in the US.

Ben Chu: Bob Diamond - a very dangerous banker

Warren Buffett advises investors to 'be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful'. But Diamond's record shows that he is greedy all the time

We're in the money! But maybe we won't get that much

As the high-street banks make bumper profits, their taxpayer rescuers may get little in return. Mark Leftly and Matt Chorley find out why

RBS back in the black for first time since 2007

Royal Bank of Scotland scraped back into the black for the first time since 2007 after losing more than £1bn a year earlier, as its restructuring plan began to take effect and the financial markets improved.

RBS heads back into the black - just

Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland fuelled recovery hopes for the sector today as it steadied the ship with a return to profit for the first half of 2010.

RBS hit with huge fine for Goodwin failings

Royal Bank of Scotland suffered a major embarrassment yesterday when the state-owned bank was fined a record £5.6m by the City watchdog for failing to ensure that funds were not transferred to people under Treasury sanction.

Sir Nigel Rudd agrees to second term as BAA chairman

Corporate grandee Sir Nigel Rudd has been asked to stay on for a second three-year term as chairman of BAA. Sir Nigel took on the chairmanship of the UK's airports operator, owned by Spain's Ferrovial group, in September 2007, and has overseen a troubled period including the completion of Terminal 5, the forced sale of Gatwick airport and the failed attempt to build a third runway.

'Bank bosses don't like paying huge bonuses either'

The former deputy chairman of Barclays has seen the banking industry change over the decades and doesn't hesitate to speak his mind over its vagaries

The cult of the CEO

In the age of personality, it's not surprising that bosses of giant corporations are seen as more than mere figureheads. But do we expect too much of them? This cult of the CEO is a bad business, argues David Prosser

David Prosser: Pru's shareholders hold it to account

Outlook It is too early to say whether Tidjane Thiam can carry on as chief executive of Prudential in the wake of his misjudgement of the willingness of investors to back the insurer's purchase of AIA. But what has happened at Pru is that this has been a triumph for those who want shareholders to assert themselves more aggressively.

Leading article: Prudential shareholders awake

The Prudential's Asian adventure lies in ruins. The plan of the insurer's chief executive, Tidjane Thiam, to buy the Asian arm of the stricken American financial services giant AIG has collapsed. A significant number of Prudential's institutional shareholders protested over the £24bn price being offered for the target. They also, after some timely prompting from the Financial Services Authority, harboured concerns over the stability of the giant new global insurer that would have been created by the merger.

Paul Mumford: Investors will toast the demise of 'a deal too far'

The brusque rejection by AIG of Prudential's reduced offer for its Asian unit, AIA, looks likely to be the death blow that finally puts this audacious bid – already floundering in the face of an unprecedented shareholder rebellion – out of its misery. Should Pru's management and its lofty-thinking chief executive, Tidjane Thiam, fail to see the writing on the wall, the bid will almost certainly not be approved at its extraordinary general meeting on Monday.

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam