ALL EYES remain on financier Joe Lewis, whose surprise appearance in London on his superyacht Aviva ten days ago has been satisfactorily explained by this week’s hostile move to take control of pub chain Mitchells & Butlers. Case closed.
Or is it? As ever with the enigmatic Bahamas-based billionaire, the truth is rather more surprising – the real reason Lewis is in town, according to a business associate source, is that the 74-year-old is expecting the arrival of his first great-grandchild.
Lewis’s boat has now moved from Tower Bridge to the Tower of London, says The Capitalist’s man on the riverbank, and there it will remain until the latest addition to the Lewis gene pool has been safely delivered into the world. “Forget Mitchells & Butlers,” said the source. “He could have done that business from anywhere in the world.”
Such as the New Providence marina in the Bahamas, Aviva’s usual mooring place and the site of the Albany resort, which Lewis has been quietly developing through his Tavistock Group business interest alongside golfing investors Tiger Woods and Ernie Els.
The next stage of the 600-acre project, The Capitalist has learned ahead of the official announcement later this month, is the start of building works on the marina residences, to be sold during construction by a newly opened Albany office in Berkeley Square.
Leading the new office is Albany’s business development director James Deen, most recently spotted at international members’ club The Eden Club. Just the right credentials, then, to persuade Mediterranean yacht owners to invest in a marina-side penthouse with a private swimming pool alongside a winter berth for their boat in the Caribbean.
JUST FOR MEN
IT SOMETIMES feels like he would turn up to the opening of an envelope. But Nick Candy, the newly crowned Entrepreneur of the Year by GQ magazine and suit afficionado, was nowhere to be seen at the opening of a new Spencer Hart store on Mayfair’s Brook Street.
Instead, Liongate Capital’s co-founders Randall Dillard and Jeff Holland; Mike Asscher, the director of development of Far East business for the Royal Asscher Diamond Company; Owen Murfin, managing director of BlackRock Global Capital Securities; and Justin Marciano, managing director of Revolver Entertainment; trotted along to admire the tailor’s “fresh and modern retail world for men”.
Open for business today, the flagship shop marks a new direction for the brand, which has diversified into books, films, music and art – over to you as to whether the “Spencer Hart scent”, designed by Floris heir Edward Bodenham, is a step too far…
NO MACPLAN B
THERE is something galling about Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister, lecturing the rest of the UK on the economy.
Yesterday, the bumptious Scot was crowing from the rooftops about Scottish employment, which outperformed the rest of the UK between May and July, rising 23,000 compared to a 69,000 fall across the UK.
Funnily enough, he failed to mention that in east Glasgow, almost a fifth of the population claims incapacity benefit. Maybe George Osborne shouldn’t adopt the so-called “Plan MacB” after all.
EVERSHEDS OPTS IN
A PUBLIC engagement close to Theresa May’s heart yesterday, as the home secretary launched the government’s voluntary gender equality initiative at Eversheds.
“Promoting equality of opportunity and equal treatment isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also crucial to promoting growth,” said May, speaking at the City law firm that has 27 per cent female representation on its board.
Also adding weight to the debate were Katja Hall, chief policy director at the CBI; Tesco personnel director Judith Nelson; BT Group’s people director Caroline Waters; and Eversheds chairman John Heaps, who recently joined The 30 Per Cent Club.
“We have been externally reporting on diversity for three years,” Heaps told The Capitalist. “We regard it as an important part of the culture of our firm that we do so – it is crucial both our clients and our staff understand how important the issue is.”
SO PERHAPS Eversheds and its high-powered panel could help spread the word about the Women of the Future Awards, open to high-achieving women under 35 in the UK, which has issued a last call for entries ahead of the closing date on 21 September.
Nominate either yourself or a colleague at http:// womenofthefuture.co.uk to stand a chance of joining the winners at the awards ceremony at the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square on 16 November.