GORDON Brown’s savage attack on Goldman Sachs for being “morally bankrupt” must have come as a surprise to those who can recall a time when the Prime Minister’s attitude to the bank was rather different.
BGC’s veteran market commentator David Buik yesterday reminisced about a fundraising gala dinner he attended years ago in aid of the children’s charity “Shine”, where Sarah Brown is a patron and Goldman’s chief economist-cum-football fanatic Jim O’Neill is chairman.
According to Buik, as many as 12 of the 50 tables at the event were taken by Goldman employees supporting their esteemed colleague, while Gordon Brown also turned up, fresh from a crisis meeting, to give a speech to a “rapturous reception”.
Let’s hope they don’t repeat the invitation any time soon, or the PM might face a somewhat frostier response.
Ideas have been flooding into the Mayor of London’s website from Londoners keen to contribute to Boris Johnson’s Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
The Capitalist’s eye is drawn to one post in particular, advocating a more cost-effective use of roof space in the City.
“Imagine if the Barclays group had its own tower greenhouse,” our contributor writes, excited about the potential of Barclays’ gargantuan office block in Canary Wharf. “Every day they could get fresh salad, giving them better nutrition, which would enable them to make better decisions, and their waistlines would shrink, and the workforce would be happy…”
It’s certainly a novel way to boost profitability.
A titbit on Fabrice Tourre, who’s become virtually a household name in the space of a week after being named in the SEC’s monster fraud case against the bank.
Having heard tales of Tourre’s penchant for throwing lavish parties (apparently he was renowned for being a bit of a social butterfly at the bank), The Capitalist did wonder how he was able to really let his hair down in his luxurious apartment building in London without disturbing the neighbours.
But I hear that the swanky former Metropolitan Water Board HQ in Islington has covered that particular base by allowing its tenants to rent out the firm’s ornate old boardroom for larger groups to party the night away. Phew.
City types itching to get away for a break from promises of punishing tax changes, listen up. Former Deutsche Banker Neil Cowhig – who now spends his days at fund of hedge fund Aurum – also runs a charity, Enable Ethiopia, which he set up a few years ago after a trip to the African country.
After signing up for a trek in aid of the Great Ormond Street Hospital, Cowhig (pictured above) arrived in Ethiopia to shocking scenes of poverty, and decided to do something to help. He’s now organising another trek across the country’s Simien mountain range, to take place this October, and wants like-minded City types to come along for the fundraising ride.
Interested parties should email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
SKY’S THE LIMIT
More on the remarkable public relations turnaround of Willie Walsh, the British Airways chief executive, whose handling of the volcanic ash crisis of the past week has earned him numerous plaudits.
Even “Dragon” Duncan Bannatyne (left) yesterday added his voice to those praising Walsh, calling on Twitter for the wee Irishman to be appointed “president of the world” after he boarded a test flight to check the safety of the UK airspace on Sunday.
“He was the one who jumped on a plane and flew into the skies,” tweeted Bannatyne, admiringly.
ALL IN THE JARGON
Speaking of the now-abating ash cloud, word reaches The Capitalist of a new piece of jargon coined by the City in the aftermath of the crisis.
The new best way to describe time off taken by the thousands of workers stranded abroad? “Lava Leave”. It’s got a certain ring to it, hasn’t it?