The week according to MT

Our 60-second guide to the highlights of this week’s business news - from pay-slip controversy and cost-cutting success to Ewan McGregor’s pearly whites…

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Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

It’s not easy running a big public company, as Royal Mail chief Allan Leighton stressed this week when awarding chief executive Adam Crozier a £500,000 bonus. The former FA chief may have presided over record service levels, but with profits plunging and strike action crippling deliveries, it’s no wonder the unions were upset.

Of course there is a plus side – much like Blankety Blank, nobody leaves the boardroom empty-handed. This week Kingfisher’s Gerry Murphy and Merrill Lynch’s Stan O’Neal both picked up hefty severance packages after parting ways with their employer.

Given the week they’ve had, all three might want to think about getting involved with the new Smile Stress Away campaign – even if it is encouraging us to be more like Ewan McGregor.

There was less need for stress-busting measures at BA and Unilever, both of whom recorded big profit increases after successful cost-cutting. And the four big supermarket chains also had cause for celebration after the Competition Commission gave the industry a clean bill of health in its long-awaited report.

The migrant worker issue hit the headlines again, when the government was accused of bodging its statistics. A couple of the nation’s more high-profile imports also suffered over figures: Liverpool’s Norwegian footballer John Arne Riise had a photo of his princely pay-cheque appear on the internet, and Martin Jol, Tottenham's beleaguered Dutch boss, paid the price for recording only one win in 10 games by being booted out of his job. Jol, a popular figure in football, will be much missed by Spurs fans – although middle England may be more concerned by the worrisome numbers surrounding another popular import: avocadoes.

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