People & Business: Former British Lion scrums down with the Lloyd's team

John Willcock
Wednesday 03 September 1997 23:02
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Former England rugby hero and ex-SIB chief executive John Young will henceforth be scrumming down as chairman of Lloyd's Regulatory Board (LRB), the body that regulates the Lime Street insurance market.

Mr Young will be building on the work of Sir Alan Hardcastle, who chaired the LRB since its launch in 1992. Mr Young will need all his wits about him as Lloyd's comes to terms with the new super-SIB or NewRO that is about to take over all investment regulation.

NewRO is set to take over the DTI's responsibility for regulating all forms of insurance business, while the LRB will continue its role as the policeman for the Lloyd's market.

Now 60, Mr Young enjoyed a successful rugby career with England and the British Lions in the 1960s, as well as winning the national 100 yards sprint championship and a rugger double blue at Oxford.

He's mostly been a stockbroker since then, although his skills in rucks and mauls will probably be more useful in the regulatory upheavals to come.

My old chum Tiny Rowland just doesn't stop. Yesterday he spoke to me by satellite phone from his yacht moored off the coast of Albania, where he has just completed another mega-deal.

The former head of Lonrho was coy about the exact nature of the business, saying only that it involved "some parties inside Albania and some outside".

It was a big deal, though. "I've made more money out of it than I did out of Lonrho in my last three years there. I'm enjoying myself," he trills.

He certainly is. The evergreen tycoon has just fired off another of his famous circulars to Lonrho shareholders, this time attacking the proposed merger with South African mining group JCI.

Tiny is convinced that "JCI are acting as stooges for Anglo American, who have always wanted to get their hands on Lonrho's most valuable asset - the Ashanti gold mine".

He points out that John Craven would hardly have agreed to become chairman of Lonrho after years as a director of Morgan Grenfell and Deutsche Bank unless he was going there specifically to utilise his South African contacts with Anglo.

Tiny hasn't lost his gift for invective. He describes Anglo as "that elephant in South Africa's living room". The recent sale by Lonrho of the Metropole hotels to Stakis is blasted as "jam for Stakis shareholders and vinegar for Lonrho shareholders". I wonder what the Albanians make of him.

George Kynoch has been hard at work job hunting, like other former Tory ministers since the election, and yesterday clinched the non-executive chairmanship of Silvertech, a computer company which produces control systems for the chemicals industry.

Mr Kynoch said yesterday that Silvertech approached him as it was looking for a chairman in the run-up to its flotation on AIM, which is planned for around October.

He spent 25 years in industry before entering Parliament, including stints with Aardvark Holdings and the Milk Marketing Board. Before Tony Blair & Co intervened last May, Mr Kynoch was Conservative MP for Kincardine and Deeside, and minister for industry and local government in the Scottish Office for the last two years.

"Since the election I've looked to build a clutch of non-executive directorships, and I'm still talking to a number of companies," he says.

Speaking as someone who played a part in luring companies such as Canon and Hyundai to Scotland while he was in government, Mr Kynoch is a stern anti-devolutionist, warning of higher taxes from a Scottish Assembly. He's convinced a "silent majority" of Scottish business people are also opposed to devolution, but need to be chivvied into saying so in public.

Builder Wilson Connolly has appointed a brace of non-executive directors - John Tutte, a civil engineer who is currently managing director of Wilcon Homes Eastern and John Weir, a qualified architect who is currently managing director of Wilcon Homes Midlands.

I see the story about Tim Smith, the former Tory minister, being charged by the Institute of Chartered Accountants for "bringing the profession into disrepute" is the front-page splash for today's issue of Accountancy Age, the bean counters' weekly read.

How fitting. Mr Smith wrote a column for the Age about accountancy issues for what seemed like eons, although his musings have been less regular since the matter of Mr Fayed's payments to him came up.

It's a hard, unforgiving world, accountancy.

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