Business diary: Diageo’s a dram fine idea for venue

Martin Wheatley said firms did not always open emails from the FCA. Picture: Getty

Martin Wheatley said firms did not always open emails from the FCA. Picture: Getty

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Diageo may have had a mixed picture to deliver on its half-time trading results last week, but Scotland’s biggest Scotch whisky company took its well-known passion for “innovation” down a different avenue.

Breaking with years of tradition of Diageo holding its results press conferences at its offices in central London, chief executive Ivan Menezes opted for a different, somewhat more stylish venue: the famous Quaglino’s restaurant in London’s Piccadilly, patronised by royals and movie stars down the years.

The hacks sat round a table in a private room overlooking the main restaurant for a working lunch to discuss the numbers.

“We thought it was a little different from what we do normally,” Menezes said.

An email is not enough

Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, was lightly savaged by the Treasury select committee last week for the regulator’s cock-up in delivering price-sensitive information about an investigation of the insurance sector to a national newspaper last spring.

But part of Wheatley’s explanation for the use of the pre-briefing of a newspaper to get the information out there will ring true for many of us. He said many of the 72,000 firms the FCA regulates get their information from the media. “Not all firms open our emails. I know that for a fact,” Wheatley quipped.

Fundraiser is a Triumph

Zoe Redhead, media relations manager at Lloyds Banking Group, has been on the road again, in a fund-raising drive for the Help for Heroes charity.

Husband Chris was asked to help launch the Classic Monte Carlo Rally, which departed from Paisley last Wednesday evening, and participate in his beloved 1966 Triumph Spitfire.

Alas, strict rules meant that the presence of a new engine, gearbox and other oily bits prevented the motor from qualifying for the full Monte Carlo. But thankfully, the pair were able to take part in the Ecosse-Reims Heritage Tour, which stretches to half the distance.

Having done 2,000-plus miles in just 48 hours in the Round Britain Reliability Run last year, the just-over-1,000-miles-with-hotel-stops-in-between would have been a breeze.

A 3D vision of the future

Technology entrepreneur Javid Khan revealed an ambitious 3D vision of the future last week when he got his 15 minutes of fame on CNN.

Khan, founder and chief executive of the University of Edinburgh spin-out company Holoxica, was on CNN International’s Tomorrow Transformed in an episode where correspondent Richard Quest explores the history of photography. However, Khan was really there to talk about the future.

He said: “I can imagine walking into your home in ten, 15 years’ time and seeing floating holographic images coming off the walls and video images coming out of a holographic video display.”

All good news for Holoxica, of course, which would love to spread its 3D imagery technology beyond its current science and engineering clients and into people’s homes.

Peebles gets on track

After it emerged that up to 60 cyclists injured in accidents involving the city’s tram lines are set to sue Edinburgh council for more than £500,000 in compensation, Administrate chief executive John Peebles admitted that he has also come a cropper while out on his bike.

The US-born entrepreneur tweeted a picture of his attempt at writing with a broken arm, adding: “1st crash on the bike. Couldn’t be more impressed with NHS emergency room. Going to avoid tram tracks now.”

But Peebles will now be able to share some better news. As The Scotsman reveals today, Edinburgh-based Administrate – which develops software to help clients such as PwC and the University of York run online training programmes – has just secured £577,000 in funding as it prepares for its next phase of growth.

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