HE heart of London’s financial community last night for one of the most eagerly-anticipated competitive moments of the year – the annual Bloomberg Square Mile Relay.
No less than 100 teams of ten runners thronged the streets to take part in the relay, after months of boot camp-style training regimes to win bragging rights over their City rivals.
Since the event’s inception in 2007, the crown has been passed between Legal & General and Barclays Capital, with the latter taking the honours last year by a minute and a half.
This year saw a bit of a shake-up at the top – BarCap remained king of the track, storming in to win with a combined time of 47 minutes and 45 seconds, but Macquarie pinched the runner-up spot ahead of Legal & General in third place.
BarCap captain Stephen Whitehead said the team, including David Peters, John Kettle, Nick Altmann and Andrew Lawrence, had been kept on their toes by Macquarie and were “delighted” with the result.
Jaded City types looking for a flight of escapism this weekend need not even leave the confines of the Square Mile. Word reaches The Capitalist of preparations for a movie crew to descend upon the area around St Paul’s on Sunday, ready to capture a few daredevil stunts on camera for the forthcoming second Johnny English film.
Celebrity-spotters hoping to catch a glimpse of comedian Rowan Atkinson in action might be disappointed, though – the stunts in question sound far too treacherous to be entrusted to a precious actor.
According to leaflets dropped around the area yesterday, the scene being filmed constitutes motorbikes and cars haring after Johnny as he manoeuvres a motorised wheelchair from Carter Lane onto Ludgate Broadway. Residents have been warned not to panic if they spot clouds of smoke or the dummy handguns being carried by two characters posing as agents.
LOAD OF BULL
Bull semen group Genus – a company which can always be relied upon to bring a childish chuckle to those trawling through endless RNS announcements of a morning – has a new chairman.
The lucky fellow, Bob Lawson, ambles over from rather more conventional pastures – recruiter Hays, to be exact, where he will shortly retire as chairman. Apparently, the prospect of the move leaves him suitably “excited”.
To a breakfast seminar yesterday morning to discuss the consultation on proposed alterations to the Takeover Code, where pearls of wisdom were imparted by distinguished speakers including Centrica chairman Roger Carr, Slaughter & May partner Stephen Cooke, Herbert Smith partner David Paterson and Morgan Stanley investment banker Suniti Chauhan.
Carr, of course, is something of a veteran in the M&A arena, having most recently extracted 840p per share from consumer goods giant Kraft for Cadbury, where he was chairman up until February.
Cooke, meanwhile, was also heavily involved in the takeover, advising Carr and the board on their defence. Perhaps, in light of their combined experience, organisers MergerMarket might have thought to provide a Dairy Milk for all participants instead of a packet of Starburst chewy sweets?
“I see we’ve been brought to you today courtesy of the Wrigley company,” noted Cooke, wryly.
An astonishing find, courtesy of blogger David Xia over the pond, who’s unearthed a laminated card with, er, advice for ladies looking to get ahead in the business world. Apparently, the card was found lying around on a desk in HR at Citigroup in the States – with ten tips for women on what NOT to do to “sabotage” their careers.
“1. Women tend to speak softly – you are not heard,” the list begins. “2. Women groom in public – emphasises your femininity and deemphasises your capability. 3. Women sit demurely – the power position when seated at a table is forearms resting on a table and resting forward...”
On and on goes the list, from asking permission, to apologising, to smiling inappropriately and not offering “one good pump” as a handshake. If any creative ladies out there feel like composing a comeback with gems of similarly clichéd advice for the gents – testicle-scratching, expletive-laden outbursts of anger and all – The Capitalist is sure those HR gurus would be only too happy to pass them on to the male contingent.
SIX IN THE CITY
And finally, while many of their colleagues sweated it out in their running shoes yesterday, teams from Linklaters, Deutsche Bank, Ashurst, M&G Investments and PwC, among others, were at the crease battling it out for supremacy on the cricket pitch at the annual “Six in the City tournament”.
Kudos goes to Linklaters, captained by Chris Allfrey, which beat M&G in the finals.