People and Business: Diary 600 words in here yes yes in

Francesco Guerrera
Sunday 23 October 2011 07:03

A HEART-WARMING tale of fatherly love and devotion to the call of duty comes from Jonathan Freeman, director of corporate finance at Beeson Gregory. A long-planned night out with the girls for his wife left Mr Freeman holding his one-year-old son, Rory.

Nothing special for a modern couple like the Freemans, I hear you say. Not quite. Mr Freeman's baby-sitting stint coincided with the publication of the prospectus for Memory Corporation, the software group due to float on Easdaq on the advice of Beeson Gregory.

Mr Freeman had no choice but to bring Rory into the printer's office for the all-night writing job. Secretaries and fellow directors were pressed into service to sing lullabies and feed muesli bars to the toddler. But Rory looked more interested in the mechanics of placings and rights issues and listened closely to the pre-float discussions.

Headhunters have already approached Rory's creche for a quick chat about his future.

CONGRATULATIONS to Richard Hickinbotham, head of Warburg Dillon Read smaller companies' research team, which scooped three of the top five prizes at yesterday's Extel small-cap awards.

But the real star of the show was Ken Clarke. The former chancellor, the Extel's jamboree's principal guest, was held up by the Queen's Speech and arrived after the ceremony had ended. The delay caused a bit of stir among the organisers but left mighty Ken unruffled. He resorted to the ancient political art of rewriting history and asked for all the photographs of the awards to be retaken to include himself.

THOUGHT FOR the day for Sir Ron Garrick, the chief executive of Weir: never use Scottish dialect with Australian customs officials. According to my latest Weir Courier, Sir Ron wanted to present the New South Wales premier with a "quaich" on the opening of the engineer's new Australian plant.

Unfortunately, a couple of overzealous Oz officials stopped the brown box containing the quaich at the border. Convinced that it was a bomb, they X-rayed, gas-tested and unleashed security dogs on the package. When the quaich stubbornly refused to explode, they decided that the box must contain some disease-carrying animal and put it in quarantine.

The box was safely caged for three days until a Weir employee explained to the baffled officials that a quaich is a traditional Scottish cup for drinking whisky.

STAYING WITH drinking, David Arculus, the new chairman of Severn Trent, yesterday proudly announced that for the first time his company was extracting drinking water from the river Trent.

The only hiccup is that Severn's environmental drive has angered the Trent's many anglers. They claim that the clearer waters enable fish to spot their rods, giving the animals ample time to take evasive action. The outraged anglers have been venting their frustration in the columns of Angling Times, the sport's bible, published by Emap.

And who is Emap's former boss? Why, Mr David Arculus, the erstwhile anglers' friend who has turned into foe in one quick corporate mutation.

STRUAN WILEY is to replace the Budgens boos, Clive Clague, as chairman of Stadium group, the electronic engineer. Mr Wiley's CV boasts a number of important posts headed by his directorships of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, described by one source as "one of the mist prized corporate appointments in the North of England".

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