WHAT do you buy the emperor who has everything? If you’re Donald Wilson, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the answer has to be whisky.
Wilson was a guest of honour at an event last week hosted by Japan’s consul general in Edinburgh, Hajime Kitaoka, to celebrate the birthday of emperor Akihito, who turns 80 later this month.
Kitaoka-san, who arrived in October following a previous posting in Ethiopia, told the assembled dignitaries – including Finance Secretary John Swinney and Jim Todd, the “hairy biker” Provost of East Ayrshire – that state broadcaster NHK was creating a screenplay about Jessie Roberta “Rita” Cowan of Kirkintilloch, who married the founder of Japan’s whisky industry, Masataka Taketsuru, in 1920.
So it was fitting that Wilson presented his host with a bottle of Lord Provost’s Malt, specially blended by Inverarity Morton for such occasions, and assured him that, having enjoyed “several tasting sessions”, it was a fine dram indeed. Kanpai.
Greenaway cooks up plans
CHEF Mark Greenaway launched his BistroModerne venture in Edinburgh last week and one of the capital’s top cooks hinted that other plans may be coming to the boil. The Glaswegian said he may expand the bistro model into his home city, and possibly also to Inverness.
He described the Highland capital as a “happening place” but cautioned against any firm plans. Greenaway clearly has enough on his plate.
Charity roles for chairmen
TWO of the best-known figures in the Scottish business community, Ian Marchant and Norman Murray, are taking over as chairmen at two of the country’s high-profile charities.
The former Scottish & Southern Energy chief executive has been named as chairman of Maggie’s, the cancer care charity.
Marchant has served on the charity’s board since 2005, chairing its audit committee, and replaces Nigel Cayzer, who has led the board since 2005.
Marchant adds the role to his growing portfolio, which already includes acting as chairman of Infinis, the renewable energy group floated on the stock market by private equity investor Guy Hands, and as a non-executive director at Aggreko, Cyberhawk, Linknode and Wood Group.
Meanwhile, Cairn Energy’s former chairman will be filling the same role at Scottish Ballet.
Murray – currently chairman of energy services firm Petrofac and whisky distiller Edrington Group, which makes Famous Grouse, Highland Park and The Macallan – replaces Zoe van Zwanenberg, who is standing down after nine years in the role.
Dragons’ Den star in focus
BEING retweeted by former Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis led camera retailer Ben Mullay away from his shop in Lerwick to Birmingham last week.
Each Sunday night, BBC2 stalwart Paphitis honours six small businesses by retweeting descriptions of what makes their firms unique. Mullay’s Camera Centre received the accolade and last week he joined 950 other Small Business Sunday Awards winners in Brum.
“Everyone there knew our story and there were lots of questions about how we do business in such a small community,” Mullay said. “We shared our journey of diversification, tourism initiatives and our continued focus on e-commerce as a way to expand our otherwise limited market.”
Student gets first contract
Strathclyde University student Ross Pert will be off the baked beans and into the high life after the website he set up to match interns with vacancies in the engineering sector signed up its first paying customer.
The mechanical engineering and financial management undergrad was inspired to launch Enginterns.com early this year after his own positive experiences of summer work. Since then, its user base has passed 700 students who receive job notifications, and he has set up sister site bizinterns.com for finance students.
He has just given both sites a complete overhaul. Richard Irvin Sustainable Energy of Aberdeen has chosen Enginterns in its search for a design engineer.