AS survived running the world’s largest hedge fund and managing the books for the Conservative Party. But the test that will really prove the making of Lord Stanley Fink is a 24-hour, country-hopping bender from London to Spain.
Next Thursday, Fink and his business associate David Johnstone, who co-founded the luxury brands holding company Free Holdings in 2010, will board the Orient Express at London Victoria for a black-tie cocktail party as the train steams deep into the countryside and back again, before flying to the Costa del Sol for a party co-hosted with property investor Daniel Shamoon at the Marbella Club.
“I think by that stage we will be on our knees,” said Johnstone, who is joining Fink in the international party-hop as co-host of The Global Party: a philanthropic first inspired by the adventures of Jules Verne’s literary invention Phileas Fogg that will link together 80 parties in 73 cities in 42 countries – and all taking place within 24 hours.
The invitations to the event weigh 122 tonnes – perhaps inevitable when you have invited 80,000 guests – with each of the global venues, from the Taj Mahal to the Ocean Club in Copenhagen, splitting the proceeds between a local charity of their choice and the Global Party’s 15 designated charities, which include Ark and the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation.
Johnstone was speaking to The Capitalist ahead of tonight’s The World Wide Launch Party – “a party to launch a party” at the Natural History Museum – where surprise guest Bryan Ferry will entertain 2,000 VIPs including Sir Philip Green and Sir Richard Branson as a warm-up to the main event next Thursday and Friday.
So how much do he and Fink hope to raise for good causes? “How long is a piece of string? We have just been hit by another global credit crunch in the last four months, so everyone is taking a deep breath. But to make one million pounds would be amazing.”
LEVENE’S SWAN SONG
LLOYD’S of London has got its money’s worth out of figurehead Lord Levene in his final stretch before handing over to Kingfisher deputy chairman John Nelson – the first six months of this year have been the toughest since he took the reins back in 2002.
Floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and storms – the man has a point. But the billions of pounds of claims paid out “does not detract from our success in sorting ourselves out” after the losses in the 1990s and post-9/11, said Levene (right) as he opened his final Lloyd’s City Dinner in front of dignitaries including Barclays chairman Marcus Agius, Trinity Mirror CEO Sly Bailey and Prudential chairman Harvey McGrath.
“None of this means we have broken the insurance cycle,” he warned Nelson, also in attendance before starting his new job next month. But at least the firm’s reputation has improved from “on the floor” to “the gold standard in insurance”. “No-one could ask for more,”he said.
A CONFERENCE call with SuperGroup boss Julian Dunkerton (above) went badly awry when the firm’s PRs dialled in City A.M. without hanging up on a previous call, meaning they chatted away as their conversation was recorded on voicemail.
“It’s going well, you’re saying all the right things,” one young spinner reassured Dunkerton between interviews on his company’s interim results. “We keep looking at the share price – it looks like the plan is coming together.”
The hapless PR was less complimentary about the editor of an industry trade magazine, however. “She’s got a bit confused.” Perhaps not the only one?