MT's week in 60 seconds

The best of this week's business news: governance fears, normality nears and randy peers...

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

It’s not often we get to say this, but it’s been an interesting few days in the world of corporate governance. In the week that saw the untimely death of Sir Derek Higgs, we saw more examples of how influential his report on the role of non-executive directors has become. Newly-crowned M&S executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose was forced to sell his stake in Lucky Voice, the karaoke bar chain owned by M&S non-exec Martha Lane Fox, while Exxon boss Rex Tillerson came under fire from members of the Rockefeller family, who want him to give up the chairmanship to an outsider.

In the City, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King took a break from having a pop at the banks’ excessive bonus culture to try and persuade us that we’re through the worst of the credit crunch. The catch is that he’ll only be proved right if we actually believe him – and if banks start bolstering their balance sheets, like HBOS did this week. However, as long as we keep seeing gloomy stories about how much value our houses have lost in the last 12 months, it’s hard to be very cheerful…

Still, elsewhere in the corporate world there have been some signs of life. Mars launched a massive £23bn bid for chewing gum-maker Wrigley, while both BP and Shell recorded massive profit hikes (only to be accused of profiteering from the oil price). And a benevolent Middle Eastern investor swooped to the rescue of business-class airline Silverjet (whereas rival Eos, which wasn’t so lucky, went bust). And it was business as usual at the OFT, which has launched yet another investigation into the Big Four supermarkets (even if the Competition Commission refuses to join the finger-pointing).

And of course, there’s always someone worse off. Take the Italians, whose government published everyone’s salary details online (the site proved so popular that it ended up crashing). Or new BT star Peter Jones, who’s spent the week battling Gremlins (yes, the real ones). Or even Lord Laidlaw, the 64-year-old former businessman who confessed to being a sex addict for his entire adult life. Where do these people get their energy from?

Finally, don’t forget to send us your nominations for this year’s '35 Women Under 35’, MT’s annual list of Britain’s best young businesswomen. Polls close next Friday, and we can guarantee that neither Ken nor Boris will be involved...

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