nyone who’s attended a City awards ceremony will know, it’s often hard to keep the attention of a room full of businessmen and women who are used to being online 24/7.
But ITN news anchor Mary Nightingale had no such trouble on Wednesday night when she hosted the 9th annual PwC Building Public Trust awards, during what will surely become known as the Great Blackberry Blackout of 2011.
Instead, all eyes were attentively on Mary and PwC chairman Ian Powell as they handed out the evening’s trophies, given to firms for excellence in corporate reporting.
With more than 300 guests in attendance, the Dorchester’s ballroom was full to bursting to watch Arm Holdings, Balfour Beatty and NS&I pick up the awards in the FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and public sector categories respectively.
Still, a misbehaving mobile network was nothing compared to what dinner guests had to deal with three years ago, as Powell reminisced during his speech.
That night the Blackberrys were out in force as attendees awaited the US Senate’s verdict on the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was eventually voted down somewhere between dessert and cheese, sending US markets into freefall.
UN PETIT FAUX PAS
THERE was momentary embarrassment this week for Jean-Claude Trichet (right), European Central Bank president, during the delivery of one of his final speeches before leaving the bank.
Despite the recent City focus on gender diversity, Trichet began a speech to AFME, the Association for Financial Markets in Europe, by forgetting to address the ladies in the room. Luckily Baroness Shriti Vadera was on hand to remind Trichet there was a female contingent present, from her position at one of the top tables.
As Trichet welcomed Lords and gentleman, he must have caught sight of Vadera waving manically because he restarted his intro to include the dinner’s fairer guests.
The event was held at the King’s Cross Renaissance hotel, and was attended by some of the biggest players in finance and government, with Danny Alexander representing the Treasury and Sir Mervyn King responding to Trichet.
SOME much needed good news yesterday for Kweku Adoboli, the 31-year-old trader charged with fraud at UBS, who stands accused of losing the bank £1.3m.
While Adoboli gears up for his trial, he’ll be pleased to hear that he’s currently one of the top three nominations in City tailor Cad and the Dandy’s Best Dressed Banker competition.
Entries for Adoboli described how he “looked classy throughout the investigation” and “under all the pressure from the case his fashion taste never once took a down turn”.
The eventual winner will receive a bespoke suit from the company which could come in useful for future court appearances. Well, if you’re going to end up in front of a judge, you may as well look good doing it.
STARS OF THE STAGE
CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of the City A.M/Aviva “You are the big picture” competition, who had the results of their makeover projected onto the side of the National Theatre this week.
Vittorio Fontano, Georgina Potier, Nikki Schmidt and Daniel Wynne were the lucky readers who got their fifteen minutes of fame.