Last updated: March 3, 2011 12:29 am

Eggar will need energy at Cape

Former UK energy minister Tim Eggar is brushing off his airmiles card

Former energy minister Tim Eggar, who has been named the new chairman of Cape, the oil services group, is brushing off his airmiles card.

Cape, which is poised to move from Aim to the main market, is adopting a complex corporate structure, being incorporated in Jersey, listed in the UK with its tax residence in Singapore.

A former corporate financier with Hambros, Mr Eggar was a Tory MP between 1979 and 1997 and was energy minister in the 1990s. He was chief of Monument Oil and Gas, and served on the boards of Indago Petroleum and Expro. Mr Eggar, who replaces Sean O’Connor in May, was the global head of ABN Amro’s energy corporate finance group.

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Family affair

Rupert Murdoch, who turns 80 this month, has put his eldest daughter Prudence MacLeod on to the board of Times Newspaper Holdings, which oversees The Times and The Sunday Times. Ms MacLeod joins the 18-member board alongside Kai Diekmann, the editor of Germany’s Bild newspaper, and Sir John Scarlett, former MI6 boss.

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Non-exec decision

Congratulations to Centrica senior director Mary Francis, who was awarded the non-executive director of the year at the NED awards at the Waldorf Hilton on Wednesday.

Ms Francis, who was director-general of the ABI after a career in the Treasury, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace, beat Anglo American’s David Challen and Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis for the gong, sponsored by brokers Peel Hunt. The judges included Anglo chairman Sir John Parker and Centrica chairman Sir Roger Carr – who both recused themselves from voting on their board members – as well as Guy Jubb, head of Standard Life’s corporate governance, and Barclays Capital banker Richard Taylor.

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S Africa push

Credit Suisse is tapping in to the network of Rick Menell, a member of one of South Africa’s old mining families, as it tries to build its business there.

Mr Menell, a geologist and former JPMorgan banker who is on the board of Weir Group, has been hired as an adviser to the bank in South Africa.

Credit Suisse last year ended its joint venture with Standard Bank – Credit Suisse Standard Securities – launched in 2006.

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Devilish diners

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary was his usual punchy self as he declined an invitation to the annual black tie industry bash hosted by the Airport Operators Association at the Grosvenor House on Tuesday. AOA chairman Ed Anderson read out Mr O’Leary’s letter in which he said he tried to “avoid supping with the devil where ever possible”, and “I hope all the monopolists choke on their chicken nuggets”.

Virgin Atlantic chief Steve Ridgway, who gave the main speech, was also not shy of having a go at rivals. He congratulated BMI for one of the great start-ups of the year: it launched its new service to Tripoli on February 21 and suspended it the next day. On British Airways, he referred to Superbrands’ business top-10 list, saying Virgin and BA had fallen out, but making the point BA had fallen to 48th place – and Virgin only to 14th.

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Anna Walker

Power Player: Anna Walker, Welsh Water

From regulator to a director of a regulated company: Anna Walker, chairman of the Office of Rail Regulation, is joining the board of Welsh Water.

The 59-year-old former civil servant knows the water industry well, as she headed the government’s review of charging and metering the sector in 2009. Ms Walker, who will remain chairman of the ORR, which she joined in 2009, was also attracted to Welsh Water’s unique model: it is run for the benefit of customers, financed by bonds and gives back profits as a rebate.

Long regarded as a Whitehall high-flyer with a career spanning trade, post and telecoms, energy and rural affairs, Ms Walker took a big decision to leave the civil service in 2004 to head the Healthcare Commission.

She had initially resisted an approach to head the new NHS inspectorate, but realised that she was interested in the issues surrounding healthcare and was also swayed by the fact that the new body oversaw both private and public companies.

After studying history at Oxford, Ms Walker joined the British Council in 1972 and started at the Department of Trade in 1975. The mother of three is unlikely to take on other roles as she also chairs an epilepsy charity. She enjoys walking and cycling in her spare time.

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