A bad day for HMV, whose profit warning and comments on a possible breach of banking covenants pushed its shares down the charts to the tune of 22 per cent.

The entertainment retailer, led by chief Simon Fox, suffered another blow after it was pushed down research group Verdict’s list for best music and video retailer of the year by iTunes.

A poll of 6,000 consumers voted Amazon the winner, followed by iTunes and Play.com – showing the structural shift towards buying music and DVDs online.

Neil Saunders, Verdict’s consulting director, delivered a gloomy forecast for UK retail spending at the event in Westminster’s Cabinet War Rooms. He predicted that real household disposable income would fall by £5.49bn ($8.92bn) this year (that’s equivalent to 2 per cent of total retail spending). It was apt then, that his presentation was delivered in a bunker.

. . .

Cashing in

Jeffrey Meyer, Gartmore chief executive, is to receive about £5.8m for his efforts last year to offload the troubled fund management group to Henderson for £335m.

The news will rub salt into the wounds of Gartmore shareholders, who have watched the group’s share price more than halve since its listing in December 2009.

While £3.8m of the package is compensation payable on “termination [of contract] without cause”, Mr Meyer also had a 25 per cent increase in his pay package last year to £2m.

. . .

Morse code

Ed Morse, one of the most respected commentators on the international energy markets, is leaving Credit Suisse to join Citigroup as global head of commodities research. The 69-year-old – who was deputy assistant secretary of state for US international energy policy between 1979 and 1981 – will be based in New York.

A former Princeton professor, he used to be head of commodities research at Lehman Brothers.

The move is another blow for Credit Suisse, which lost Adam Knight, its head of commodities, in January.

. . .

KKR hires

After weeks of chatter among the City’s close-knit restructuring community, KKR, the private equity group, has announced that it has relocated one of the co-heads of its special situations group to London.

Nat Zilkha, former Goldman Sachs banker, has moved to the UK from the US West Coast where he co-heads the group along with Jamie Weinstein, managing $1.7bn of funds.

They have hired Mubashir Mukadam as European head of special situations, focusing on buying distressed assets in secondary markets as well as providing rescue lending and structured investments. Mr Mukadam, who turned 37 on Tuesday, joins from York Capital, a $14bn multi-strategy hedge fund. He is also known for his time in Deutsche Bank’s London distressed products team.

. . .

Power Player: Nemat Shafik, IMF deputy head

Nemat Shafik, the permanent secretary of the Department for International Development, who has just been named deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is far from a typical Whitehall civil servant.

Born in Egypt, the popular 48-year-old development economist – who is known by her childhood nickname, Minouche – brought her experience in international policymaking from the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation to Dfid’s aid programmes. At the IMF, she will work closely with boss Dominique Strauss-Khan, and will no doubt bring her communication skills and open approach to the job.

After high school in Egypt, Ms Shafik received her undergraduate degree in economics and politics from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and her masters from the London School of Economics. She also holds a doctorate from Oxford.

She joined the World Bank in 1990 and was part of the International Finance Corporation. Having taught at the Wharton Business School and at Georgetown University, she became director-general of Dfid in 2004 and was appointed permanent secretary in 2008. Married with two children and three stepchildren, she enjoys the theatre, walking and yoga.


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