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CITY CELEBRATES TOP 50 LADIES IN BUSINESS

TO Borough Market last night for the launch of the FT Top Fifty Women in World Business, held in the sumptuous surroundings of Roast restaurant.<br /><br />Not many of the illustrious ladies made it to sample the corking canap&eacute;s, mind, since most &ndash; including PepsiCo&rsquo;s Indra Nooyi, the top-ranked world businesswoman, and Kraft boss Irene Rosenfeld, in at 4th place &ndash; were too busy to fly over from the other corners of the globe.<br /><br />But among those who did turn up was jovial former Lloyds chairman Sir Victor Blank, always one to get behind a good cause.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s very important to support women in top roles, but I&rsquo;ll tell you a story,&rdquo; Blank said. &ldquo;When I was at GUS the retail and business information group he chaired until 2006, I wanted to appoint a new non-exec and told the headhunter it would be great to have another woman on the board. But when the shortlist came back, it was a list of 20 men. It&rsquo;s sad but true; you have to bend over backwards to appoint female directors sometimes.&rdquo;<br /><br />The headhunter in question, he lets slip, was female herself. So, who was it, I asked him? &ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t possibly say,&rdquo; replied Blank, keeping a diplomatic silence.<br /><br /><strong>BORIS IN THE BOOZER</strong><br />Those who were home in front of the telly last night rather than at a swanky party were probably flicking over excitedly to BBC 1 to catch Boris Johnson&rsquo;s blond barnet making an appearance on Eastenders. Cue half a minute of unashamed flirting from Albert Square&rsquo;s finest, Peggy Mitchell, and a characteristically bumbling performance from the Mayor.<br /><br />&ldquo;Such an honour to have you here, Mr Mayor,&rdquo; dripped a syrupy Peg, to which a wooden Mayor replied: &ldquo;Oh, please, call me Boris&hellip;&rdquo; At the risk of sounding clich&eacute;d, it&rsquo;s a good job he hasn&rsquo;t given up the day job.<br /><br /><strong>BEARDED WONDER</strong><br />&ldquo;As some of you may know, I always end my summer in the mountains,&rdquo; wrote Ken Lewis, boss of Bank of America, in a resignation memo to his employees this week.<br /><br />&ldquo;I have always returned to the company in the fall energized and ready to get to work. This year, though, has been different&hellip;&rdquo;<br /><br />Not that the bank&rsquo;s staff were surprised, mind. They&rsquo;d already worked out that something was up when Lewis returned from his break with an impressive bushy beard, something that no-one could remember in his 40-year tenure at the firm.<br /><br />Now, research has shown that a third of businessmen admit to having a prejudice against beards, with one image consultant previously commenting that hairy chins give the impression of &ldquo;a cardigan and sandal-wearing person with a lack of focus&rdquo;.<br /><br />Canny Ken was obviously keen to let down his troops gently.<br /><br /><strong>REPUTATION FIRST</strong><br />Ex-RBS investment banking chief Johnny Cameron could be forgiven for feeling a little down in the dumps at the moment, after he was forced to resign as a senior adviser to headhunter Odgers Bernstein earlier this week. (Odgers &ndash; run by Lady Virginia Bottomley and Richard Boggis-Rolfe, a pleasingly titled pair if ever The Capitalist heard one &ndash; had been unceremoniously axed from the search for the next UKFI chief executive when UKFI found out about the appointment of Cameron, with his former connections to infamous former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin.)<br /><br />But all is not lost for Cameron, according to Will Critchlow, co-founder of &ldquo;online reputation specialist&rdquo; Distilled.<br /><br />&ldquo;There are a lot of negative news results on Google when you search for Cameron,&rdquo; Critchlow says, &ldquo;but he can combat the problem. Many people will be searching for him at the moment, so if he set up his own website, with a CV, past work experience and other interests, it would be easy to get that up to the top of the results.&rdquo;<br /><br />He goes on to suggest Sir Fred might be well advised to do the same thing &ndash; though with the &ldquo;comments&rdquo; section of the site firmly disabled, of course.