WILL that Stefan Allesch-Taylor ever stop adding to his already thickly-strung bow? A City veteran of some stature (quite literally: Allesch-Taylor stands a formidable 6’10” tall), he is best known as the founder of boutique Mayfair-based investment bank Fairfax. In addition to that, his CV lists top positions at any number of firms, including Clearbrook Capital and hedge fund Global Evolution, where he is chairman – and he has also recently turned his hand to film producing, with his first effort, Africa United, out in the autumn. (The movie follows a gaggle of young kids journeying across the continent from Rwanda to South Africa for the start of the World Cup.)
Now, The Capitalist hears Allesch-Taylor is launching a coffee shop business with two New Zealand partners – the Coffeesmiths Collective – which plans to open its first outlet just behind the Globe theatre in September.
“When these two Kiwis first came to see me about setting up a chain of coffee shops my first reaction was, ‘Are you mad?!’,” the big man roars, jovially. “I said, ‘Isn’t the world past this? Haven’t we got enough of them?’ But then I took a step back and realised that their business plan would really work. I’m a great Starbucks fan but our chain will be very different – there’s an absolute focus on the coffee and the ambience and feel of each shop will be unique. No two Coffeesmiths outlets will look the same…”
The group is targeting 50 outlets within the next five years, delivering a substantial kick for London’s caffeine addicts.
FEAT OF ENDURANCE
Much jollity over Wimbledon’s record-breaking match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, which was eventually won by American Isner yesterday afternoon after a gruelling 11 hours and five minutes.
Betting group Bodog was first off the mark, offering odds on which company would be first to snap up either or both of the pair for an advertising campaign before the end of the year. You can bet on a fitness centre chain at 7/2, while Red Bull is at 6/1, Hummer at 8/1 and Duracell at 16/1.
Odds of the pair bragging of their stamina in a Viagra advert look rather long at 12/1, while the famous Rabbit is offered at 5/1 (“It’s better than any man, however long he may last,” is Bodog’s helpful analysis.)
Long-suffering oil villain BP gets an outsider look-in at 100/1 alongside the sex gags, with the firm’s reasoning being that “it never stops”.
Meanwhile, spread better Extrabet quoted the total games played at 44-46 before the match, falling rather short of the end result of 183.
Buyers of total games made a stonking 137 times their stakes, with the firm taking over 1,000 bets on the game (ouch).
Still, at least Extrabet’s retaining a sense of humour. “The trader working the game has gone home after complaints of exhaustion,” quips a spokesman, good-naturedly.
ONLY A GAME
Staying on the sporting theme for a minute, and Goldman chief economist Jim O’Neill clearly isn’t one for taking the World Cup too seriously.
O’Neill has been a regular in the news lately for his role leading the Red Knights’ bid to take over Manchester United, so he’s no stranger to the trials and tribulations of the football world. But speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme yesterday, he was adamant that the World Cup is an event which should be enjoyed, plain and simple. As the Cass Business School’s Stefan Szymanski and author Jason Cowley debated how the tournament might cause the politicians to neglect South Africa’s social problems and highlight the not-so-rosy plight of African football, O’Neill begged to differ.
“These guys are too miserable,” he insisted. “Everyone should just enjoy it, it’s great fun.
“You guys’ll be blaming our ’66 victory for the pound going down in ’67, at this rate…”
O’Neill’s firm Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, has another reason to be celebrating apart from topping the M&A adviser leaderboard for the first half of the year (see page eight).
According to the latest YouGov BrandIndex poll, which measures how brands are perceived by the public, Goldman is still well below its pre-SEC fraud case level with a score lingering around the –40 mark. But BP, crunched by the impact of its devastating Gulf oil spill, has fallen out of positive territory in the last few months and is now even lower than Goldman, at –47.6.
Finally, good luck to David Wardrop-White, a director in financial services consulting at PwC, who is retiring from the firm after almost 20 years’ service. The sporty chap had his retirement do in London this week, but has now embarked on a 500-mile cycle trip up to Edinburgh for a second Scottish party on Tuesday, hoping to raise £1,750 for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign in the process.