A rapturous reception on Tuesday evening for Lucian Grainge, the current head of Universal Music’s international division, who is moving to New York next month to become chief executive of the group as a whole.
Grainge, on crutches owing to a recent leg injury, stood near the stage area in a room at the Knightsbridge Mandarin Oriental hotel as his world-famous artists lined up patiently to pay homage to him. Amy Winehouse, whom Grainge has nursed through some sticky times, held him in earnest conversation, as did Welsh blonde bombshell Duffy. Superstars The Killers were there too, as was Texas lead singer Sharleen Spiteri and Ronan Keating. Entertainment was provided by Enrique and Jamie Cullum, who sang a version of Sting’s An Englishman in New York.
Sir Bob Geldof managed to offend the more prim and proper members of the audience with a keynote speech peppered with expletives, in which he pointed out that Grainge was relocating to New York at a time when British business leaders, thanks to BP’s Tony Hayward, are not exactly at their most popular.
Geldof also returned time and time (and time) again to his favourite gag of the evening – Grainge’s expansive waistline – and quipped that he must have injured himself running for a bus, a seemingly unlikely pastime for the moneyed music boss.
Also present to pay their respects were Lord Mandelson, Topshop billionaire Sir Philip Green, WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell and Lloyds chairman Lord Levene.
LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR
A delightful coincidence chez Brunswick, apparently, when two of the financial spinner’s clients got down to some back-scratching with no help whatsoever from their PR advisers.
RSA chairman John Napier got stuck in to the debate about BP last week by sending an impromptu letter to President Obama, castigating the world’s most powerful politician for anti-British, “prejudicial and personal” attacks on the oil giant.
RSA is a new client of Brunswick’s, recently won from arch-rival Finsbury, while the firm is a long-standing adviser to BP, with boss Alan Parker spending the vast majority of his time working on diffusing the situation. And yet Brunswick’s partners say they knew diddly squat about the letter until it appeared in the media.
Happy days. Mind you, those same partners couldn’t have been quite as pleased to read Napier’s damning indictment of BP’s public relations strategy. “In your words, ‘[Hayward] has taken the heat’ and not hidden in his office,” Napier wrote. “The real response has been total. You could argue a poor PR performance, but BP are not alone in that…”
One of the more talked-about amateur World Cup ditties has a distinctly City flavour to it.
“Bring it Back to Blighty” was written by Mo Park and Stuart Fearn, after the former bid a few quid for a wartime film tin on eBay and found within it a missing Charlie Chaplin propaganda film, since valued at in excess of £1m. The film featured a song by Chaplin, “See you back home in Blighty”, which has inspired Park’s World Cup offering.
He’s roped in a bunch of friends from his village to sing on the chorus, who all work in the City. James Goodchild of European American Capital, KPMG’s Paul Chater, JP Morgan’s Mark Gibbons, Tony Whitelock of Jardine Lloyd Thompson, Nick Watson of Berwin Leighton Paisner, Land Securities’ Paul Dacey and Richard Goodworth of Control Risks all play footy together in Henham, Essex. They’ve since scored over 45,000 hits on YouTube – not half bad for a bunch of finance lads, even if they can carry a tune.
To a DLA Piper/Spectator Business breakfast at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall yesterday, where Olympic Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt was arguing that the Olympics will be “worth every penny”.
“We are on time,” Armitt insisted to his audience, who didn’t appear entirely convinced. Who can blame them? After all, as the ex-chief executive of Railtrack and Network Rail, Armitt used to be responsible for the trains being on time.
HARD AS NAILS
A tale reaches The Capitalist’s ears about Sir John Vickers, the new head of the commission tasked with investigating whether to split retail and investment banking activities.
Shortly after he stepped down as OFT chairman, Vickers was lecturing on competition economics at Oxford and picked the watchdog’s notorious case on replica football shirts to illustrate his point. After the lecture, a student approached him and quietly requested that he refrain from using the same example again, as her father – Allsports boss David Hughes – was one of those caught by the case.
Vickers promptly told the poor girl in no uncertain terms where to go, claiming he’d talk about anything he wanted.
Clearly not a man to be trifled with.