Mudlark: Bowman counts on whisky to blend in

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Any new director of a Scottish company is scrutinised for Tartan lineage and commitment. So how does Philip Bowman, Scottish Power’s new chief executive, stack up?

Although Australian, Bowman claims Scottish forebears, but his main pitch will be based not so much on Scots as Scotch.

As chief executive of Allied Domecq until last year’s takeover by Pernod Ricard, he was responsible for whisky brands, such as Laphroaig single malt. He is also a Keeper of the Quaich, a distinction conferred on substantial contributors to the Scotch whisky industry.

But where will Bowman live when he moves into Scottish Power’s Glasgow head office? “He will take steps to secure a base in Scotland,” was the word from the Bowman camp.

Only yesterday, Mudlark noted that Tulchan Communications still advised Scottish Power in spite of speculation last year when it was being stalked by Germany’s Eon.

Not so fast. Thursday’s appointment of Bowman was announced by his old buddy Anthony Cardew, who advised Allied Domecq, and looks on the way to gaining a new client.

“You just have to laugh,” Tulchan’s Andrew Grant said. “Sometimes I think being a football manager would make for a less eventful life.”

Hot desk or not?

Nick Ritblat has kept a low profile since leaving British Land last summer. Sir John Ritblat’s son had at one time been tipped to become chief executive. He was, in an external role, put in charge of selling its £300m residential portfolio. Insight is expected to buy it soon.

But what next? Mudlark has learned that Nick Ritblat now has a regular desk at Delancey, the private company run by his younger brother Jamie.

Could this be the start of a new full-time job? He was unavailable for comment.

Tuckered out

Stephen Whitehead, Barclays’ newish group corporate affairs director, now has another job to fill, to go with the long sought-for public relations chief for Barclays Capital.

Chris Tucker is leaving after five years as group PR director and 16 years with the bank. Tucker and her husband plan to go on the road: “We have the World Cup in June and the Ashes starting in November.”

Feathered friends

It was the scare over bird flu that first prompted an introduction to Thelma and Louise (Mudlark, October 29/November 4/December 23 2005). But last weekend brought a reminder that the biggest danger usually comes from closer to home.

The hens were attacked by a fox in their Billericay garden. “By some miracle, they both survived,” reports owner Piper Terrett, a City journalist. “Louise escaped with a few missing feathers from her backside, but Thelma was more seriously hurt, although she is hopping wounded. She lost a lot of feathers from her back, hurt her foot and is sporting a number of bites.

“But after a trip to the vet and a good night’s sleep, she was looking a lot better. She can’t really move round much and is being kept comfortable in our kitchen. She even laid an egg on Monday, but we couldn’t eat it since she’d had an antibiotic shot.

“I spent the morning rubbing antiseptic cream into her back, and Doug [Terrett’s partner] is making her a little fleecy jacket to put over her bald patch, as we were advised to make sure she is kept warm. Louise is fine but alone in the pen and missing her pal a bit.”

Cooking with gas

Z novym rokom. The new year begins on Friday in Ukraine, so it’s the right moment to report on our contest to rename the gas pipelines that enter from Russia, currently Friendship and Brotherhood.

Garry Booth was first to suggest Fear and Loathing, and entries from Tim Orchard of Zebedee Capital included Carrot and Stick.

Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at Hargreaves Lansdown, went for Cold and Schnapps; blame Michael Claxton of Design Works in Sweden for Gas Trick and Ulcer.

Zeno Geisseler of Swiss newspaper Schaffhauser Nachrichten proposed Tit and Tat; Piers Monckton of Mark Capital in London – Short and Curly.

Simplicity reigned in the end, with an entry sent in by several readers, but first and with the best tag line (“A harmonious marriage hitting the rocks”) by fund manager Justin Seager of Jupiter Asset Management – Trouble and Strife.

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