Business Gazetteer: Heathrow row set for take-off

Terminal Failure

OH TO be the proverbial fly on the wall when Standard Life Investments meet with British Airways senior management to discuss what has been politely termed "understanding the situation" at Heathrow's Terminal 5.

A measure of the concern at Standard Life is that it is holding not one, but two meetings with BA this week, the first today and the second tomorrow.

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David Cummings, Standard Life's head of UK equities, and Guy Jubb, the Edinburgh fund manager's head of corporate governance, will meet chairman Martin Broughton first and air their views to chief executive Willie Walsh the day after.

In the world of business it is not the done thing to do much in the way of pre- or post-meeting briefings to the media. We are not dealing with politicians here.

However, those in the know say that these kinds of discussions are not for the faint-hearted and that, behind closed doors, big investors make it very clear indeed when they have concerns over the company in which they have entrusted large amounts of their customers' money.

Both Walsh and Broughton are not exactly shrinking violets, but given the disaster of the T5 opening, it is hard to imagine that they will be able to give as good as they get today. Or tomorrow.



THE total number of jobs which the Centre for Economics and Business Research predicts will be lost in the City of London over the next two years due to the credit crunch.

According to the CEBR, jobs will decline by 11,000 in 2008 from 2007 and a further 8,200 posts will be shed in 2009. It blames the persistence of the credit crunch and downturns in the UK economy.

The job losses are predicted to be more severe than during the dotcom crash.


"Willie and I are both keen soccer fans. We are both aware that the chairman's vote of confidence is often the last act before the manager goes"

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Martin Broughton, the chairman of British Airways, commenting on the fate of his beleaguered chief executive, Willie Walsh, in the wake of the Heathrow Terminal 5 debacle


Scottish accountants

MEMBERS of the Institute of Chartered Accounts of Scotland have been given permission to carry out probate work in England and Wales. The Ministry of Justice has granted ICAS permission to carry out the work, previously done mainly by lawyers.


The Mittal family

REPORTS yesterday suggested that Lakshmi Mittal, Britian's richest man, had reignited a family feud by trying to buy a Bulgarian steel plant owned by his younger brother, Pramod. Lakshmi is said to value the Kremikovtzi plant at 40 million less than his wee brother does.