People: Doug Smith | Nicola Sturgeon | Anne Richards

Sweet tooth: Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Contributed
Sweet tooth: Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Contributed
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INSURANCE industry veteran Doug Smith, best-known to some as the former chairman of Hearts Football Club, is re-uniting with former Corporate Risk colleague Colin Paterson.

The pair are due to make a formal announcement about their new partnership in the next week or two but it is likely that Smith will take on an advisory role at Insight, the corporate insurance consultancy founded by Paterson.

Smith, who spends the summer months in Barcelona, hosted a table at the second Bill McLaren Foundation lunch at Prestonfield House, Edinburgh, on Friday. Despite stepping down as Hearts chairman nine years ago he was adorned with the club tie.

“As I was back in Edinburgh it seemed the most appropriate thing to wear,” he said.

Size is not everything

YOU couldn’t accuse them of being mob-handed. James Leigh-Pemberton – executive chairman designate of UK Financial Investments (UKFI), the body that monitors the taxpayers’ stakes in Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and the rump of Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley – told the Treasury select committee last week that UKFI had a staff of just 13.

This hardy crew has to monitor banks with hundreds of thousands of staff and extensive operations.

Leigh-Pemberton revealed, however, that UKFI was planning to hire a 14th employee next year.

“I hope he’s a good chap,” said committee chairman Andrew Tyrie, obviously feeling some sympathy for the UKFI boss’s plight.

Sturgeon’s unjust desserts

IT WASN’T due to any attacks from the Better Together campaign or Holyrood’s opposition benches that was getting deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon agitated at last week’s Federation of Small Business East of Scotland dinner – it was the lack of a chance to sample the white chocolate cheesecake that she was about to miss.

The SNP’s deputy leader delivered a pre-dinner speech outlining why the Scottish Government was committed to infrastructure spending to stimulate the economic recovery, but she was unable to stay the course for the meal itself.

“The white chocolate cheesecake looks particularly inviting,” Sturgeon mused, before having to leave Edinburgh’s Caledonian hotel for another engagement.

Honour for Richards

ABERDEEN Asset Management’s chief investment officer Anne Richards received an honorary doctorate from Heriot-Watt University last Friday.

She was made a Doctor of Letters by Professor Alexander J McNeil “in recognition of her outstanding and influential contributions in the field of investment management and for services to the financial services industry”.

If Aberdeen’s hopes of acquiring Scottish Widows Investment Partnership come off then she will also be in a key role at what will become Europe’s biggest independent fund manager. 

Walsh in the money

PAUL Walsh may have retired from the hot seat – and mega-bucks – at drinks giant Diageo, but the former chief executive won’t have to switch his favourite malt for a cheap blended Scotch to make ends meet.

Last week he bagged the chairman’s role at satellite communications group Avanti, where he already sits on the board as a non-executive director.

That comes on top of the chairman’s role at global catering firm Compass which he recently accepted.

While the fees for his services to either company haven’t yet been disclosed, the current incumbents are getting a total of more than £600,000 a year.

Walsh will also take up an £80,000-a-year role in the Scotch whisky industry – the full details of which are still under wraps – funded by Diageo.

He takes up all his new positions next year and while they add up to significantly less than the £14.8 million pay and shares package he earned in his last full year with Diageo, they should help keep the wolf from the door in the years before his state pension kicks in.