THE TALE OF PIPPA MIDDLETON, ALEX LOUDON AND THE BEERMAKER

COULD Pippa Middleton be persuaded to relocate to leafy Woking?

The Capitalist only asks because a finance professional with the same name as her boyfriend and rumoured fiancé, Alex Loudon, is currently employed by the Woking UK head office of brewing giant SABMiller.

Recent press reports have described the younger Middleton sister’s love interest as a stockbroker, but if the Alex Loudon who answered the phone from the Surrey HQ of the South African brewing giant is one and the same person, the job title of corporate finance and development analyst at SABMiller is nearer the mark.

Alexander Guy Rushworth Loudon, to give him his full name, was educated at Eton before becoming a promising cricketer, starting his professional cricket career near his family home in Kent before moving to Warwickshire in 2005.

But when his sporting career came to an end, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his father James Loudon – a “big fish in the City”, says a source. Loudon senior is chairman of Caledonia Investments and former group finance director of cement manufacturer Blue Circle Industries. Alex first did an MBA at the London Business School.

From there – if The Capitalist is correct in connecting the well-spoken Alex Loudon who declined to comment yesterday with the Alex Loudon who is dating the sister of the future Queen – it was a short hop to SABMiller, the London and Johannesburg-listed brewer of brands including Pilsner, Grolsch and Peroni.

“Our people are our enduring advantage,” declared the beer business, as it announced its solid March 2011 year-end results last week.

Just presumably not in the way chief executive Graham Mackay imagined when he first penned that note to investors…

RUGBY TACKLE
MEANWHILE, the City’s sportiest ditched their pinstripes in favour of rugby kit on Sunday in a charity match that helped raise more than £20,000 for The Child Bereavement Charity.

The financial players were drawn from more than 30 City firms, but after a hard-fought final, the IG Warriors from financial spread betting company IG Group took home this year’s Neptune City Sevens crown.

Sponsored by fund manager Neptune Investment Management, the event drew a crowd of over 1,000 to Richmond’s Athletic Association Ground, including some familiar faces: former Ireland and Wasps player Rob Henderson and Serge Betsen, a former player for France.

GONE TO ICELAND
WITH hindsight it all becomes clear.

Richard Pennycook, finance director of Morrisons, was unable to collect his award for FTSE 100 FD of the Year in person at the FDs’ Excellence Awards on 10 May because he had gone to Iceland.

Iceland the supermarket, that is – while his deputy Robin Brown collected his trophy on his behalf, Pennycook was no doubt busy preparing Morrisons’ ambitious £1.5bn bid for the Baugur-owned chain, which hit the headlines at the weekend.

Morrisons declined to comment on the acquisition, which would triple the grocer’s tally of UK stores, and suggested linking Pennycook’s mysterious absence at the awards to the Iceland deal less than two weeks later would be “presumptuous”.

“Pennycook had something else on that evening so he was unable to attend – but I don’t know where he was,” said a senior Morrisons source.

Perhaps the investment banks who recently pitched to Pennycook and his strategy director Gordon Mowat to advise on the potential takeover might be able to shed some more light on his whereabouts…

SOCIAL CLIMBERS
THE traditional Maori Haka resounded through the City on Sunday, when more than 1,000 people took part in a 1,037-step charity stair-climb up the Gherkin tower, which raised more than £275,000 for the Christchurch earthquake appeal.

Some fundraisers dressed up as bottles of New Zealand wine and beer in the sponsored climb, which was completed by City runners including David Riley of SJ Berwin, Michael Evans of Evans Randall (pictured left) and Andrew Marshall of KPMG.

The New Zealand-flavoured event was the brainchild of two London-based Kiwi businessmen, Kent Gardner and Paul Kendrick of Evans Randall, the investment banking and private equity group that half-owns the Gherkin.