views

HEADHUNT IS ON FOR DISGRACED EX-BANKERS

SOME in the City might be surprised by Sir Fred Goodwin&rsquo;s decision to re-enter the business world, as revealed on the front page of City A.M. today, but it seems headhunters will be rubbing their hands with glee.<br /><br />Take former HBOS chief Andy Hornby, who was also strung up by the public for his role in his own bank&rsquo;s unhappy fall from grace, for example. Not only did Hornby land himself a cushy new position at the helm of Alliance Boots, but he was also inundated with rival offers (though I hear all were in the retail sector rather than from the banking world, given his lengthy past experience at Asda).<br /><br />As one chum of Hornby&rsquo;s puts it: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s great when there&rsquo;s a scandal around &ndash; people think headhunters wouldn&rsquo;t touch those involved with a bargepole, but it&rsquo;s actually a great opportunity to secure high-quality talent for less, since people are so preoccupied with reputation.&rdquo;<br /><br />A trifle dubious, perhaps, but if it really is the case, The Shred is going to have to start beating them off with a stick.<br /><br /><strong>GLAMOUR GIRL</strong><br />Speaking of headhunting, Channel Five really is lining up the lovelies to push its news agenda, isn&rsquo;t it?<br /><br />The latest beauty to sign up for a stint on the channel, in the wake of newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky&rsquo;s much-publicised &pound;1m-a-year role, is none other than Kate Walsh, the runner-up in the latest series of Sir Alan Sugar&rsquo;s The Apprentice. Walsh will be fronting the broadcaster&rsquo;s new evening magazine show, &ldquo;Live from Studio Five&rdquo;, alongside former footballer Ian Wright and presenter Melinda Messenger &ndash; involving a nightly round-up of news and showbiz stories in Five&rsquo;s usual &uuml;ber-relaxed style.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s a shame for the City, mind, since I hear the lovely Ms Walsh was approached by several Square Mile firms before turning them down for the more glamorous option.<br /><br /><strong>CREATIVE JUICE</strong><br />Is there no end to the weird and wonderful things the world of Twitter has to offer?<br /><br />I hear the social networking site has now extended its tentacles to the Royal Opera House, where planning for September&rsquo;s Deloitte Ignite festival is currently well underway.<br /><br />Apparently, the Twitterati are being encouraged to let their creative juices flow and tweet their way to the world&rsquo;s first online opera story &ndash; excerpts from which will be performed at the Royal Opera House as part of the festival on 3-5 September, set to music by composer Helen Porter.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the people&rsquo;s opera and the perfect way for everyone to become involved with the inventiveness of opera as the ultimate form of storytelling,&rdquo; an ROH spokeswoman preens. &ldquo;Expect the unexpected.&rdquo;<br /><br />Interested parties should search for @youropera to exercise their operatic flair.<br /><br /><strong>HAIR TODAY...</strong><br />There are rather drastic plans for celebration afoot at Octopus Investments, which tells me it hopes to break through the &pound;1bn barrier for funds under management later this week.<br /><br />Apparently, managing director Guy Myles and chief executive Simon Rogerson are marking the occasion by shaving their heads bare in the office in front of their staff &ndash; though whether the move is down to pure dedication or a burning desire to scare fellow City folk with a skin&rsquo;ed is anyone&rsquo;s guess.<br /><br />Next thing you know, they&rsquo;ll be bringing in a tattoo artist to finish the job.<br /><br /><strong>JET SETTER</strong><br />All hail the jet-setting Lord Mandelson, who proudly accessorised the start of his stint at deputising for Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday with a pinker-than-usual &ldquo;suntan&rdquo;.<br /><br />Fresh from his holiday in Corfu, where he was entertained by billionaire financier Lord Rothschild and his son Nat, Mandy looked the picture of health &ndash; in stark contrast to our Gordon, whose under-eye bags are enough to frighten small children.<br /><br />Plus, of course, the business secretary&rsquo;s sunburn and sandals combination was the perfect advertisement for Brits abroad&hellip;<br /><br /><strong>RUGBY LEAGUE</strong><br />Rugby fans should clear some space in their diaries on Thursday, for the Harlequins are coming to town.<br /><br />Yep, ETF Securities has organised the Square Mile&rsquo;s very first touch rugby tournament at the HAC Artillery Ground, to promote Rugby League in the City.<br /><br />The 12 teams which have signed up to compete in the tournament, including usually star names such as Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, will battle it out in a three hour contest &ndash; and what&rsquo;s more, each team will be assigned a professional Harlequins Rugby League player as a coach. The organisers are expecting up to 200 spectators on the day, but if the City teams are expecting all the pressure will come from the sidelines, they&rsquo;re very much mistaken.<br /><br />&ldquo;My players are incredibly competitive by nature,&rdquo; Harlequins head coach Brian McDermott tells me. &ldquo;Already they&rsquo;re starting to niggle each other about whose team will win&hellip;&rdquo; Let the games begin.<br /><br /><strong>WACKY DRESSERS</strong><br />And finally, a call to arms for readers who reckon they know a colleague or friend with the craziest dress sense in the City.<br /><br />Following the success of The Capitalist&rsquo;s recent rundowns of the top ten hunkiest gents and loveliest ladies in the City &ndash; which caused quite a stir among you jaded Square Milers &ndash; another piece of unashamedly frivolous fun is heading your way (well, they do call it the &ldquo;silly season&rdquo;, after all).<br /><br />We&rsquo;re now taking nominations for a list of the top ten wackiest dressers in the City, to be published next week &ndash; so any ideas would be welcome at the capitalist@cityam.com. Just don&rsquo;t forget to include photographic evidence&hellip;