TO THE Kensington home of City slicker Roland Rudd, the boss of PR firm Finsbury, last night for his annual party, one of the highlights of the summer schmoozing circuit.
Grandees of the worlds of business and politics were there in their droves for the event, including WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell; Royal Bank of Scotland top dogs Stephen Hester and Sir Philip Hampton; Nomura rainmaker Guy Dawson, adviser to the Red Knights; the FSA’s Lord Turner; ex-Cadbury chairman Roger Carr; outgoing Guardian Media Group/incoming easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall; Baroness Shriti Vadera; and Rudd’s sister Amber, the newly-elected Conservative MP, fresh from making her maiden speech to the House of Commons earlier in the day.
Rudd kept up tradition by delegating to his young son Ollie the responsibility of wringing out the deep pockets of his guests at a charity auction in aid of NSPCC. (Last year, Rudd joked that he would have to make his annual speech before his son to avoid being upstaged again – a promise to which he held true at last night’s party.)
Sorrell stumped up the largest bid of the night, offering £7,250 for dinner for 14 people in a private room at the exclusive River Café, while Carr secured tickets to Sting at the Royal Albert Hall, complete with backstage tour, for £1,500.
Vadera bid £5,000 for an original score of the Beatles’ “Yesterday”, signed by Sir Paul McCartney and donated to Rudd by Universal Media’s Lucian Grainge ahead of his imminent move to the States. The auction raised £15,000 for the NSPCC.
CHAT SHOW QUEEN
Wandering through the lobby of the vast Bank of America Merrill Lynch headquarters this week, The Capitalist was intrigued to spot a poster advertising the most unlikely of speakers to address the banking crowd.
That’s right: next week, none other than TV’s chat show queen Trisha Goddard will be gracing the sofas of the firm’s Canary Wharf office. A bizarre choice, you may think, but there’s method in BoA Merrill’s madness. This month is its diversity and inclusion month, and they’ve had a variety of speakers in office, including gay rugby player Gareth Thomas, who won praise last year for coming out, and comedienne Francesca Martinez, who has cerebral palsy.
Trisha, who has struggled with severe depression in the past, will be talking on mental health issues.
Vuvuzela horns have polarised opinion in the UK throughout the World Cup, but they don’t half go to town with them in South Africa. The Capitalist chances upon a website, www.blingzela.co.za, advertising vuvuzelas with a difference.
“If you’re a fanatical fan, you’re gonna make a noise, so you might as well do it with class and style and hey, why not add a little Bling?” the website trills, apparently in all seriousness. “Copper, silver and gold reflective coated vuvuzelas that truly make a statement of class – now no one’s too posh to blow it!”
Giggles galore among the analysts of the City at some of the more unusual results of the World Cup so far, which some are comparing to the sovereign crisis in the Eurozone.
Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid noted yesterday in a research missive that Spain’s defeat on Wednesday meant none of the four EU peripherals had won in the first set of matches (a losing streak that was eventually broken by the crisis-stricken Greeks yesterday against Nigeria).
“Rather like in the sovereign space, Germany have been the stars so far, with the Latin American countries also performing well (e.g. Brazil and Argentina),” Reid wrote. “England (read the UK) were neither here nor there…”
Fingers crossed for this evening, then.
HIRING AND FIRING
It’s all go for five teams of employees at law firm Hogan Lovells today, as they pound the streets for their so-called “Bright Ideas Challenge”.
Apparently, five teams of legal eagles will be tasked with dreaming up weird and wonderful marketing techniques to help a community group sell their wares in the Whitecross Street market, with the winner the group with the highest sales.
Apparently, the event has been inspired by Suralan Sugar’s “The Apprentice” –hardly surprising, since Hogan Lovells has teamed up for the event with the Bright Ideas Trust, itself run by former Apprentice winner Tim Campbell…
City workers particularly handy with a table tennis bat should look out for a new City of London Corporation initiative in the coming weeks.
Two outdoor ping pong tables will be set up by the corporation at Paternoster Square, the Barbican and Finsbury Avenue Square, in order to get people taking up a new sport (or brushing up on their existing skills) ahead of the London Olympics in 2012.
Catering, too, to the ever-competitive nature of the City, there will also be a summer league for companies in the area, due to be launched by Lord Mayor Nick Anstee at the end of July.
“The Lord Mayor is more of an amateur table tennis player but he’s always game to get involved in any sport,” a spinner tells me, proudly.