IT ISN’T every day that a financier gets to ditch his day job for a few weeks and sail off into the sunset for the adventure of a lifetime with a self-confessed adrenaline junkie. Then again, how many City financiers can count Bear Grylls – the skydiving, creepy crawly-munching, elephant piss-drinking star of Channel 4’s Born Survivor – among their best buddies?
Tim Levy, chief executive of investment boutique Future Capital Partners, can, and he’s teamed up with Bear to complete the first ever crossing of the Arctic Northwest Passage on a rigid inflatable boat (a sort of souped-up dinghy, just so you get the hare-brained picture).
The mission – which the pair are undertaking along with three chums – is taking place in August and aims to raise awareness of global warming and the role businesses can play in slowing down the effects, as well as raising money for African water charity Global Angels. (Visit www.fcpnorthwestpassage.com for more details.)
Levy tells me that Bear – renowned for his superhuman ability to eat virtually anything Mother Nature cares to put in front of him, including live insects and spiders, raw snakes and fish, animal eyes and the like – will be following a traditional Inuit diet, though the rest of them will be sticking to packet food.
“There’s absolutely zero chance I’ll be eating whale blubber and rotten fish – he can show off with that,” he laughs.
The Capitalist wouldn’t put it past the irrepressible Bear to chuck the tasty stuff overboard and force his companions to tough it out survivor-style, so Levy perhaps shouldn’t get too complacent…
Joy for the punters and pain for the bookies in Saturday’s Grand National, which saw star jockey Tony McCoy storm to victory atop Don’t Push It, his first win in the race in 15 attempts.
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power had previously made a pledge to buy every person in Liverpool a free pint if McCoy ended up being first past the post – a gamble that turned rather expensive as thirsty gamblers piled into their designated pub after the race.
Mind you the estimated £10,000 cost of the beer gamble was a mere drop in the ocean after McCoy gave the bookies their worst ever National result.
Paddy reckons the total cost of the result for all the firms combined was in the region of a cool £50m.
GUTS AND GLORY
A snippet of interesting trivia about Simon Murray, one of the men newly appointed to the board of Essar Energy, the business Indian industrial giant Essar said last week it plans to list on the London Stock Exchange.
A little bird alerts The Capitalist to Murray’s interesting background, in addition to his roles on the boards of Vodafone and luxury goods group Richemont.
Back in his youth, Murray dropped out of high school to join the French Foreign Legion, and subsequently spent years fighting the Algerians in the Atlas mountains with the Legion’s parachute regiment.
He then wrote a book about his experiences – the bestseller Legionnaire: The Real Life Story of an Englishman in the French Foreign Legion, which has variously been described as “one of the greatest adventure stories in recent years”, “perhaps the best book I remember reading – not just about the legion but about life” and a true “guts-and-glory thriller”.
Strangely enough, Murray’s official biography on the company website has references to his extensive business career – including stints at Deutsche Bank, the Hilton and Sheraton hotel chains and Hutchison Whampoa – but no mention of his military or literary endeavours.