March 5, 2002
· Hats off
to the Wall Street Journal, trying to shrug off its
"World Most Boring Newspaper 2001" award (as
voted by the readers of the Guardian, you may recall).
Last Wednesday the Journal's European edition - which
charges £1.20 to read all the best articles from
the previous day's US edition - had a "women in
business" focus, including a profile of "Europe's
25 most successful business women". An interesting
list it was too: number one being Sari Baldauf, the
president of Nokia Networks. The other 24 include luminaries
such as Wanda Rapacyznski of Polish media giant Agora.
Scanning through the list, one couldn't help feeling
that someone was missing... the most high profile businesswoman
in the UK, the only one running a FTSE-100 company...
just made a dame. Marjorie Scardino - heard of her?
Hmm? The chief executive of Pearson? You know, publishes
the FT. Never mind, maybe she'll make it next year.
Or perhaps during a month of Sundays.
· If there
are any unsuccessful and unhappy bidders involved in
the Enron auction held last week, perhaps you might
like to get in touch with the Diary, for research purposes.
Corner: Kirch, the multibillion pound black hole that
is also a German media group, is seeing its turkeys
come home to roost. Kirch's number two, Dieter Hahn,
was embarrassed during his talk at the FT's new media
conference yesterday. Making a speech entitled "New
routes to value" raised a few giggles, given Kirch's
problems. "Clearly I haven't had time to change
my presentation to take into account events of recent
weeks," said Hahn. "I should have called it
'New routes to debt'."
· Wembley plc,
the dogtrack-owning company that also has various gambling
operations in the United States, annoyed more than a
few of its shareholders recently when it was discovered
the company was under state investigation in the US
- a fact that Wembley chose not to mention. Nigel Potter,
Wembley's chief executive and a distant relative of
Harry, was quizzed yesterday as to why the company had
kept quiet about the investigation since last May. "The
reason we didn't do that was because we felt that that
would have been misleading," said Potter. That's
a triumph for transparent relations with investors.
· Bank of England
governor Eddie "Sir Edward" George has warned
of the dangers of reckless consumer consumption, and
yet we see impressionable shoppers being lured to part
with their money everywhere. If you can't beat them...
why not remortgage the house and blow it all at the
Bank of England's spring craft fair, which runs from
today until Friday. "Get all your shopping under
one roof in a unique setting," read the flyers
for the fair in the Bank's museum. Get all your shopping?
Perhaps not, unless the Bank is opening a Tesco Metro
franchise, but the flyer promises handmade chocolates,
handpainted china, handcrafted toys, "a wood turner
with wooden items" and copies of the Bank's latest
Inflation Report, personally signed by deputy governor
· South America's economic
struggles continue and even hoodlums are having trouble
making a good living. In Brazil, when a businessman's
wife was kidnapped in the city of Americana, the abductors
demanded a ransom worth £5,000 cash. But - blame
the state of the economy - her husband didn't have the
money. After several hours of negotiation, a deal was
struck. The husband handed over a stereo, a microwave
oven, some jewellery, a mobile phone and five postdated
cheques worth a total of £5,000, payable on each
of the next five months. The lucky couple would then
have cancelled the cheques, proving once again that
crime does pay, but just not very well.