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PWC BOARD GET THE X-FACTOR TREATMENT IN SURPRISE CONTEST

RECENT surveys have shown that employees&rsquo; sense of job security has improved in recent months, but it seems it is now so high that poking fun at the board is back in vogue.<br /><br />The PwC board were half way through a three-week UK tour last week &ndash; in which they met 850 partners &ndash; when they were surprised and flattered to be asked by the Bristol office to stick around to judge a competition between the local PwC teams &ndash; X-Factor style.<br /><br />And as we all know, the X-Factor would not be complete without its high profile judges. But the image of Simon Cowell was not up on the screen for very long before morphing into a rather scary snap of high-waisted-trouser-wearer and PwC chairman Ian Powell.<br /><br />&ldquo;The line up would not be complete without a loud Geordie&rdquo;, quipped the compere as he unveiled Cheryl Cole, who soon enough morphed into PwC&rsquo;s own head of regions Kevin Nicholson, followed by Dannii Minogue, AKA the firm&rsquo;s head of strategy and &ndash; appropriately &ndash; talent, James Chalmers.<br /><br />Fortunately for the cheeky Bristolians, the board were so impressed with the quality of the projects in the competition that their jobs were safe. Or perhaps there was more to it than that?<br /><br />&ldquo;About half way through the morphing, we actually started to think we were quite attractive. Which is worrying,&rdquo; Nicholson told The Capitalist.<br /><br /><strong>GOODWOOD GLORY</strong><br />Five days of racing and frivolity began yesterday with the first day of The Glorious Goodward Festival, and the theme for the day was Sporting Greats. <br /><br />In attendance on behalf of SportsAid were rugby greats Jason Leonard, Gareth Edwards and &ldquo;the whispering death&rdquo; Michael Holding, all of whom are famed for their sporting achievements.<br /><br />But the day started off with a formidable physical achievement as Paul Stewart, son of racehorse owner and Cenkos founder Andy Stewart, walked the mile and two furlong course in 45 minutes &ndash; despite having been told earlier this year that he would never walk again. <br /><br />Paul was accompanied on the &ldquo;Paul goes the extra mile stakes&rdquo; &ndash; the farthest he has walked since being paralysed in a snowboarding accident in December 2008 &ndash; by three-times champion jockey Richard Dunwoody.<br /><br />The walk, which raised money for Spinal Research, took place before the first race of the day, which was sponsored by Andy Stewart after he bought it at a charity dinner.<br /><br />Readers may remember that Stewart senior recently stepped down from his role as chief executive officer of Cenkos to spend more time with his son. <br /><br />It sounds like the support has made the world of difference, Paul recently also accompanied Dunwoody on a mile of his 1,000 miles in 1,000 minutes Dunwoody Challenge.<br /><br />Congratulations to father and son, and all the best for a speedy recovery.<br /><br /><strong>JOHN WHO?</strong><br />The Capitalist was surprised at efforts yesterday by UK Financial Investments to conceal the news that chief executive John Kingman has decided to step down in &ldquo;due course&rdquo;. <br /><br />So embarrassed was the organisation that the man put in charge of managing taxpayers&rsquo; stakes in the banks is heading for the door after just nine months in the job, that they smuggled the announcement into a statement announcing the appointment of Sir David Cooksey as its new chairman.<br /><br />So much for greater transparency.<br />&nbsp;<br /><strong>MODEL STRATEGY</strong><br />While the government wrangles with the issue of reforming the nation&rsquo;s rail franchises, Barclays Commercial has decided to start small. <br /><br />The bank has funded a deal for a Midlands-based Bachmann Europe to buy a Chinese model train manufacturer, making its parent company Kader Holdings the biggest model railway company in the world. Like they say, from small acorns...