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SWINE FLU HITS THE CITY (WELL, SORT OF...)

IT had to happen eventually: the global swine flu outbreak has officially claimed its first City victim.<br /><br />Well, that might be a touch exaggerated, since the poor chap in question &ndash; Sterling Printers director Simon Pearson-Miles, who&rsquo;s better known in the City simply as &ldquo;PM&rdquo; &ndash; only contracted a mild sniffle after coming into contact with a sufferer.<br /><br />But after emerging in rude health from an enforced 10-day quarantine period at home, I hear it was not PM himself who kicked up a fuss about coming back to work, but his drinking chums who feared for their own safety &ndash; especially after one incident when a couple of beer glasses mysteriously got mixed up during a cheeky post-work pint.<br /><br />Sympathy always was in short supply in the City.<br /><br /><strong>STUNT MAN</strong><br />They say all work and no play makes for a downbeat, downtrodden workforce, so perhaps City bosses could learn a thing or two from Charles Dunstone, who co-hosted a breakfast event on Friday to celebrate the relaunch of the Extra Mile Partnership, a peak performance and employee engagement business.<br /><br />It seems the Carphone Warehouse founder &ndash; himself a keen sailor who spends as much time on his yacht as possible outside of work hours &ndash; has more motivational tools up his sleeve than the recently-announced strategy of scrapping commission and paying employees higher basic salaries.<br /><br />In the past, his &ldquo;team bonding&rdquo; sessions have involved taking entire teams to learn the art of sword-swallowing and walking over hot coals, among other terrifying stunts. At least a lucrative career in the circus awaits if they get bored of selling mobile phones&hellip;<br /><br /><strong>WINNING STREAK</strong><br />To Sandown Park last Thursday night for Panmure Gordon&rsquo;s annual racing night, where the broker&rsquo;s staff were busy celebrating the &pound;23m sale of a 44 per cent stake in the firm to QInvest, Qatar&rsquo;s largest investment bank.<br /><br />Though The Capitalist was decidedly down on luck (with every single bet placed resulting in the horse coming in last place in the race), Panmure chief executive Tim Linacre made up for it with four wins and two second placed runners out of six races.<br /><br />&ldquo;I do tend to do OK on the evening itself, but I always give any profits to charity and wagers are rarely more than a tenner a race,&rdquo; Linacre tells me. &ldquo;I am not the world&rsquo;s largest gambler!&rdquo;<br /><br />With that kind of track record, could it be time to up the stakes?<br /><br /><strong>LLOYD&rsquo;S LION</strong><br />International rugby-playing beefcakes are positively queuing up for Square Mile jobs at the moment. <br /><br />Hot on the heels of former Wasps star Josh Lewsey, who is joining accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers as a performance improvement consultant, comes former England captain Jason Leonard, who has landed a lucrative position at Besso, the Lloyd&rsquo;s of London insurance broker.<br /><br />&ldquo;Business development consultant&rdquo; is the record-capped forward&rsquo;s new job title, though I&rsquo;m told he&rsquo;ll be more of an &ldquo;ambassador&rdquo;, tasked with introducing potential UK clients. And while it may be a far cry from head-butting mountainous men on the rugby pitch, The Capitalist is sure Leonard&rsquo;s well-documented passion for sinking a post-match pint or twenty will mean he&rsquo;ll take to City life like a duck to water.<br /><br />Let&rsquo;s just hope he&rsquo;s not tempted to bunk off work too much in the next couple of weeks to watch his fellow British Lions on their South African tour.