YOU’RE not going to believe this, ladies and gentlemen, but that’s the beauty of pure irony.
A little bird whispers in The Capitalist’s ear that the latest victim of the Icelandic volcano belching ash over Europe is none other than Malcolm Walker, who runs – you guessed it – frozen food supermarket chain Iceland.
It gets better. Rumour has it that Walker is stranded, of all places, somewhere near the North Pole. (Well, up in the frozen wastes, at least.)
Heaven knows what he’s doing up there, but it must be mighty chilly.
RALLYING THE TROOPS
Spare a thought for Goldman’s poor staffers, for whom even the prospect of a hefty $5.5bn shared compensation pool probably hasn’t done a lot to ease concerns over the ramifications of the SEC’s monster fraud case.
Mind you, at least chief executive Lloyd Blankfein has been keeping them up to date via personal voicemails to his minions, leaving a morale-boosting little number on employees phones earlier in the week in an attempt to put minds at rest.
“The extensive media coverage on the SEC’s complaint is certainly uncomfortable, but given the anger directed at financial services, not completely surprising,” Blankfein admitted. “[But] I want to remind all of you of the fundamental values that have served Goldman Sachs throughout our history: teamwork, excellence, and service to our clients… We have faced challenges before and our people have always responded through their skills, talent and focus on our clients. We will do that now, and in the process, re-affirm everything that defines Goldman Sachs. Thank you.”
A positively Medieval lesson in firing up the troops for battle.
GUNNING FOR IT
Interesting to hear that John Connolly, the fiercely successful chief executive of Big Four beancounters Deloitte, is to step down in May next year after three terms in charge.
The whole affair puts The Capitalist in mind of a party at Claridge’s a couple of years ago to mark the retirement of another of the firm’s old guard, former chairman Martin Scicluna. The jovial Connolly was on top form on that occasion, giving a rousing speech and handing Scicluna a personalised gift – of a Manchester United football shirt, complete with his name and age (then 57) on the back.
All of which would have been very kind, were it not for the fact that Scicluna is a life-long Arsenal fan. Perhaps his successor, current chairman David Cruickshank, can avenge him? I hear Cruickshank is a staunch supporter of Aberdeen – which, of course, is where Sir Alex Ferguson was manager prior to taking over at Man U...
In drops an email from betting site Bodog, which wants me to gamble some hard-earned cash on “what Iceland will give us next” (after taking all our savings and preventing us from going anywhere, natch).
The next world’s strongest man is the favourite at 6/4, while crop failure is on at 16/1 and singer Bjork (left) appearing on Coronation Street at 50/1. There are even odds on an imminent Icelandic invasion, though they’re pretty long at 500/1.
You’ve got to keep a sense of humour, haven’t you?