£5m a year takes the edge off ‘dull’ accolade

Nicola Benedetti was a major draw for the Christmas charity lunch organised by property professionals. Picture: Getty
Nicola Benedetti was a major draw for the Christmas charity lunch organised by property professionals. Picture: Getty
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Standard Life boss David Nish was in a jolly mood at the board’s festive reception last week, though he admitted it was not in keeping with his reputation.

He’s recently been named among Britain’s dullest business leaders, a dubious accolade that disappointed Mrs Nish, who rather hoped he might be regarded as a little more exciting.

“I’m quite relaxed about it, actually,” said Nish, who is clearly living up to his pledge to make the company “reassuringly dull”.

Mind you, his £5 million pay packet last year would have been enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.

New festive office

Rather than send out the ubiquitous Christmas e-card, tech firm Prolexic Technologies opted for a spoof press release.

The “global leader in distributed denial of service protection services” actually had us fooled for a bit with the announcement of a new office to add to its operations in London, Hong Kong and the United States.

Until, that is, details of the company’s “high-profile” client were disclosed.

“While orders can be placed anytime, delivery is only available on one eve per year,” should have given the game away. The location of the new centre, the North Pole, its manager, Inna Openslae, and mention of a piece of viral software called the Grinchruin sealed the festive wind-up.

Nicola, a lady who lunches

A PERFORMANCE by violinist Nicola Benedetti proved a draw for Scotland’s property professionals, helping the industry’s annual Christmas charity bash become one of the largest lunch events in Britain this year.

The Scottish Property Industry Festival of Christmas – Spifox – celebrated its 30th anniversary with more than 1,430 people in attendance, raising more than £180,000 for children’s charities.

The lunch, held in the EICC, was preceded by a carol concert at nearby St Cuthbert’s parish church, where guests were treated to Benedetti’s concert.

Another major draw was the auction, hosted by former Scotland and British Lions rugby player Andy Nicol, with prizes including a 1964 Ford Mustang, four VIP tickets to the Monaco Grand Prix and a box for ten people at the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo.

It’s the name of the game

out with the old and in with the new. Two companies have announced subtle name changes to kick off 2014.

The new management team reviving the banking company Williams & Glyn’s have decided to drop the apostrophe and final “s”, apparently because of the difficulty of using an apostrophe in branding and website addresses.

Julie Moulsdale, who runs the PR company Perceptive Partners, has decided to change its name to Perceptive Communicators to better reflect what the company does. It shouldn’t make any difference to the way the firm operates. In a note, she reassures clients that the firm will “continue to work with you as a partner”.

Support for armed forces

And just to prove that David Nish and his team are good eggs, Standard Life last week upgraded its special leave policy to support partners and spouses of armed forces personnel.

From 1 January, the company will offer up to five days additional paid leave and allow temporary changes to working patterns.

Standard Life officially signed the government’s corporate covenant in October, committing the firm to supporting armed forces personnel in the workplace.

Nish and Sandy Begbie, group operations officer met the minister for the armed forces, Mark Francois, last week to discuss the company’s plans to support the armed forces.

Standard Life has previously provided funding to SkillForce, a charity which runs a programme that allows services personnel to work with schools to develop children’s team working abilities, confidence and find work.