Any other business
You know Kipling’s words, about meeting triumph and disaster? Well, imagine this. You’re in your mid-forties, chief executive of one of Britain’s fastest-growing public companies.
Once upon a time there was an investment banker. He was hardly today’s stereotypical WASP smoothie, but an overweight, sweaty trader from the Bronx who shouted a lot, ate pizza at his desk when he wasn’t standing on it, and treated colleagues as imbeciles.
‘This is backwoods, really backwoods,’ says Aditya, as the rackety, jam-packed bus pulls into Rajgarh, a small town in the north-west of Rajasthan, India’s desert state.
I’m back, as Arnold Schwarzenegger famously declared in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. In fact I haven’t really been away, just hovering in cyberspace to leave room for other contributors in our slimmed-down-for-the-beach summer Business section.
Why would anyone choose to spend an afternoon with a self-proclaimed geek in a clip-on tie, who calls himself a ‘field agent’? Carphone Warehouse is betting that many of us will jump at the chance. They’ve brought the Geek Squad over from the US and are offering their nerds to UK consumers and their computers.
Writing in the midst of turmoil, one is always at risk of being overtaken by events, but I have found myself vaguely approving of the recent market panic.
The fiercer the fighting for our boys in Basra and Helmand, the more important you may think it is that Britain has a thriving arms industry to supply them. The reasons that this isn’t so can be summed up in one Arabic phrase which translates, ironically, as ‘dove of peace’: Al Yamamah.
If only Alan Greenspan had read John Locke more attentively. The 17th-century philosopher, who doubled as a brilliant economist, was among the earliest exponents of the law of unintended consequences.
Judi Bevan meets Simon Nixon, founder of Moneysupermarket.com, who floated his online price comparison business on the day the stock market started to plunge
It is 12 years since Tony Blair did battle with the socialist dinosaurs and forced them to abandon their commitment to nationalisation with his celebrated ‘Clause 4 moment’ — the very birth of New Labour.
Joanna Pitman advises investors who are wary of turbulent stock markets to investigate the world of philately, where values have risen steadily for 50 years
Private equity investment, backing venture capital and management buy-outs, has been around a long time. Private-equity takeovers of public companies listed on the stock exchange are a more recent development; and the number and size of such transactions has increased dramatically. Since some identified individuals have made enormous fortunes, inevitably there has been a bit of an outcry.
Peace would be a better business planfor the island of a hundred ministers
Morgan Stanley has just hosted its first ‘early access’ event for young women: 75 girls from 15 top schools were taken on a tour of the trading floor (I bet there weren’t many traders off sick that day)
Jules Evans meets the billionaire Russian banker Alexander Lebedev, who learnt about
international finance as a Soviet spy in London and now dares to criticise the Kremlin
We’ve all been there: the brain stuck in first gear during an interview; an inappropriate remark to a senior colleague…
Shoppers stay home as rates and floods rise — but there’s a bit of better news for M&S
Neil Collins meets John Neill, who turned the spare-parts arm of the sinking British Leyland into Unipart, a world leader in logistics and a model of employee empowerment
Margareta Pagano foresees a tussle between Clara Furse of London and Cathy Kinney of New York and Paris
Subitha Subramaniam and Guy Monson say the economic version of Pax Americana has brought extraordinary global benefits but is already sowing the seeds of its own demise
EMI is a giant of the music business and a symbol of British prowess in ‘creative industries’ — but has stumbled from disaster to disaster in recent years
Red tape and big money
Fast bucks all round as Saga and the AA form the Victor Meldrew conglomerate