NO LUNCH FOR BLAIRS AT BANKING AIDE’S BASH

SO MANY social engagements, so little time for Tony and Cherie Blair, who only had time for a quick drink at the fiftieth birthday for Russell Chambers – the man dubbed “Blair’s favourite banker” – before rushing off without sitting down to eat.

Chambers, the Credit Suisse senior adviser who famously lent Blair a pair of swimming trunks while on holiday in Barbados with the former PM, chose the terrace of the River Café for his birthday lunch on Saturday, as one of the restaurant’s most loyal customers.

River Café owner Ruth Rogers and her architect husband Lord Richard Rogers were among the 150 guests, as were CBI boss Roger Carr and former M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose; RBS group chief executive Stephen Hester; News International’s Will Lewis and his brother Simon, the head of AFME; and former Lloyds chairman Sir Victor Blank.

Advertising boss Johnny Hornby of CHI seized the moment by convincing the River Café staff to join in a rendition of Happy Birthday, while PR chief Roland Rudd of Finsbury – who has known Chambers since the age of nine – provided after-lunch anecdotes about how Chambers wooed his Barbadian-born wife Margaret, known as Monkey.

Of course, there was no competition with Rudd’s high-powered fiftieth just two weeks earlier – although an obvious comparison is that both parties clashed with another top-level City social event: Rudd’s with George Osborne’s fortieth and Chambers’ with PR leader Matthew Freud’s summer party.

Which may have had something to do with the swift exit to Freud’s home in Gloucestershire made by Will Lewis and Carphone Warehouse boss Charles Dunstone, one of Chambers’ longest-standing clients…

ROYAL PROTOCOL
SECURITY has been stepped up at SABMiller now the world knows that Pippa Middleton’s boyfriend Alex Loudon (right) works in the Woking office of the South African brewer, as exclusively revealed in this column back on 24 May.

When The Capitalist called Loudon for a chat – about his advisory role in his firm’s hostile £6.2m bid for Fosters, not his stop-start relationship with Miss Middleton, obviously – the well-briefed receptionist informed: “We have to filter calls to Alex now.”

No luck at SABMiller’s London-based press office, either. “I can confirm Alex Loudon’s job title, but that is all,” said a battle-weary spokesperson. He’s a corporate finance and development analyst, just in case you missed it the first time around.

MAN OF MYSTERY
THEY SEEK him here, they seek him there – but no matter how hard the City’s headhunters try, the identity of “the Alan Partridge of recruitment” who is causing chaos by exposing his calling’s unethical practices remains a mystery.

Not even the colleague who sits next to the turncoat writing the Recruitment Rehab blog is any the wiser. “Who are you and why are you giving our industry such a bad name?” he unwittingly emailed to his office neighbour’s “Fred Bayr” pseudonym.

Because, as “Bayr” explained to The Capitalist speaking in a disguised voice: “There are a lot of cowboy recruitment companies who are lying to candidates and lying to clients, and the more they give our industry a bad name, the more banks will bypass the search specialists and take their recruitment in-house.”

Bayr will reveal his identity when the time is right – in the meantime, the only clues to go on are that he has made a lot of money in recruitment but has no plans to retire soon…