News roundup—25th February 2009

News roundup—25th February 2009

Former Harrods chief executive James McArthur is suing
his ex-employer a month after leaving the business. The
Telegraph notes that “in the past
seven years [Harrods] has had almost as many chief
executives” and adds that although there are no further
details on the suit at present, more papers are due to be filed
at the High Court that could reveal all very soon.

Former BBC and ITN newsreader Anna Ford joins multititle
mailer N Brown Group, the parent company of Fashion
World, Gray & Osbourn, and JD Williams, as a
nonexecutive director next week. The company also named Ivan
Fallon, chief executive of Independent News & Media, as deputy
chairman. Chief executive Alan White told The Times that Ford was chosen for her
close links to Manchester where N Brown is based. Also,
“we didn’t have a female non-executive director, even
though 94 per cent of our customers are female, so wanted to
change this”. Ford is also a nonexecutive director at

Tomorrow, business secretary Lord Mandelson will introduce
legislation that proposes to put roughly a third of Royal Mail up
for sale. As the unions’ uproar intensifies, much of the media are in
agreement that Royal Mail cannot continue as it is: The Independent writes that “those
who argue that the status quo is sustainable are deluding
themselves”, whilst a comment piece in The Times suggests that “the only
real question about the future of the Royal Mail is when, and
how, the service will be restructured and partly privatised,
not whether.”

For a pros and cons piece the Guardian has put together a Q&A to
clarify the situation.

Manchester-based promotional products cataloguer
4imprint posted a pre-tax profit of £5.07 million in
the year to 27th December 2008, a rise of 54 per cent. Revenue was
also up-by 14 per cent to £168.09 million-but, according to
Crain’s Manchester business company warned
that market conditions weakened considerably in the fourth
quarter. 4imprint says its focus for the rest of the year is on
expanding sales in the UK and export markets.


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