People: The business diary

Michael McIntyre will host Scottish Business Awards tonight. Picture: Getty
Michael McIntyre will host Scottish Business Awards tonight. Picture: Getty
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ONE of Scotland’s best-known journalists-turned-PR spinners, Rob Ballantyne, has decided it’s time to retire, though he won’t be stepping back entirely from the media circuit.

Ballantyne, a former business journalist at The Scotsman, Times and Sunday Times, has spent the last five years as deputy chairman of London PR firm Cardew, dividing his time between the City and Edinburgh.

The York Place office, however, has now closed and a couple of contracts, including Irish drinks firm C&C, have been switched to other PR operators.

Now 61, Ballantyne says he may continue to do some work for Cardew in an unpaid capacity, though he would like to take on a few writing assignments.

He joined the firm from Scottish & Newcastle. Previously, he was Sir Brian Souter’s right hand man at Stagecoach.

One for home brews

After letting staff settle into their roles for the first couple of months, Clerk’s Bar’s appropriately named general manager Kayleigh Beveridge decided it was time to throw a launch party.

The Maclay Inns-owned enterprise in Edinburgh hosted journalists and clients in its basement eatery with a selection of American style barbecue meats. The beers, however, were strictly Scottish, with guests encouraged to try a selection from the capital’s Stewart Brewing and Alloa’s Williams Brothers.

I don’t fancy yours

The witty putdown seems to be thriving in the City, if nothing else. In a teleconference alongside his devastating report into the Co-operative Group’s corporate governance last week, Lord Myners was asked by one scribe if the Co-op’s management practices were the worst example of “corporate bullying” he had come across.

Myners was not prepared to take the bait, however. “I have never worked in national newspapers,” he said.

Salute to Sir Bill

There may be a few tears at the Cairn Energy annual meeting this week, and not because of the company’s failure to strike oil off Greenland or its ongoing tax dispute in India. Sir Bill Gammell, founder of the oil explorer, will end his 30-year association with the company when he stands down as chairman.

A decent turnout is expected at the Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh, where the former rugby internationalist who built a FTSE-100 company from scratch should get a good send-off from the top table and shareholders alike. He is replaced by former Balfour Beatty chief executive Ian Tyler.

Sir Bill is now focusing on his sports initiatives and his chairmanship of the Edinburgh-based gluten-free bread company, Genius.

Q&A at awards

VIRGIN boss Sir Richard Branson will address tonight’s Scottish Business Awards at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre which will be attended by 1,600 business figures and their guests.

He will also take part in a question-and-answer session focused on responsible corporate behaviour.

Winners will be named in 19 categories during the ceremony to be hosted by comedian Michael McIntyre. Funds raised at this year’s event will benefit charities including The Scottish Social Business and Microfinance Fund, Scottish Business in the Community and Virgin Unite.