Column Eight: Bridging the gulf at Fleming

Topaz Amoore
Tuesday 14 July 1992 23:02

ROBERT Fleming has made the mother of all appointments. General Sir Peter de la Billiere, commander of the British land forces in the Gulf war, has been enticed out of retirement and on to the board of Robert Fleming Holdings, parent company of the merchant bank, as a non-executive director.

Sir Peter, who must have developed a close relationship with the desert and its doings, will have a special remit - the Middle East, where Fleming has substantial business. 'His knowledge and experience of the Arabian Peninsula at the highest levels will greatly enhance our profile in the region,' says the bank. Try telling that to the Iraqis.

MONEY may not grow on trees but it does grow on floor mops. Andrew Cohen, chief executive of Betterware, doorstep sellers of household items, notched up a 103 per cent pay rise last year. Mr Cohen is not of the 'profits-are- falling-but-let-that-not-worry-the-remuneration-committee' persuasion. His pounds 188,000 last year was related to earnings per share that increased 75 per cent in the financial year.

The salary, however, is mere icing on the cake. Mr Cohen's 12 million Betterware shares have doubled in value - to pounds 36m - in the past 12 months.

IF THE offices of Morgan Grenfell look a little under-populated today, that's probably because 117 of its employees are in Battersea Park, warming up for the Chemical Corporate Challenge. The 3.5 mile running race involves 6,000 employees from 400 companies.

But none of them is likely to beat the dark horse from British Gas - Steve Crabb, who is treating the race as a little warm-up before heading off to the 1500m at the Olympic Games.

THE COLD WAR reheats. A Russian court has begun hearing the vodka-riddled case of Smirnov vs Smirnoff. The (Russian) Smirnovs are apparently battling the (US) Smirnoffs over the right to use their common name (identical in Cyrillic). Seems the Smirnov/ffs have both been producing vodka since before the revolution, thanks to one Piotr Arsenievitch, a common ancestor.

REED Personnel Services, Britain's largest independent employment agency, surveyed 350 companies throughout the UK on the effects of the recession. 'The answer to the survey's question, 'Has the recession changed staffing patterns?' would appear to be a resounding 'Yes' ', the report confides. Not a huge surprise.

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