November 30: End of an era, Sir David Walker retires

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November 30: Sir David Walker is retiring as chairman of Morgan Stanley International, aged 65. He will be succeeded by Jonathan Chenevix-Trench, who has been with the firm for 21 years. Chenevix-Trench is currently chairman of the firm’s European management committee but previously he oversaw the European fixed-income division and the global interest rate and foreign exchange group. Etonians will recognise the name well: his father, Anthony Chenevix-Trench, was a rather controversial headmaster of the school. Not that this tells us anything whatsoever about Jonathan, of course. Morgan Stanley says Sir David will remain a senior adviser to the firm. This is in fact the second time he has retired as chairman to be a senior adviser: he did exactly that in 2000 to make room for Stephan Newhouse until he then rose to be president of the firm early last year and Sir David moved back into his old seat.

Willie Walsh, the former pilot who has just taken over as chief executive of British Airways, has chosen the airline’s management as his first target for cost-cutting. The cuts are quite serious: 35 per cent of the group’s 1,700 managers and half the 400-odd senior managers. This is intended to save £50m a year. It cannot be entirely coincidence that Walsh is taking on managers before the move to Terminal 5 and all the union conflict that is likely to cause. There are some great comments on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network.

Lloyd’s of London says the chances of it making a profit in 2005 are now “small”. It has raised its estimated net loss from Katrina to £1.9bn, compared with the provisional estimate of £1.4bn made in September. Net losses from Hurricanes Rita and Wilma are estimated at £535m and £483m, respectively.

Daily Mail & General Trust is selling its regional papers business, which analysts reckon could be worth £1.2bn-£1.6bn. Some of this could find its way straight back to shareholders but could it be that DMGT, which reported decent full-year results today, is clearing the way for a go at GCap, the radio group where it owns a 15 per cent stake? The regionals division, Northcliffe, publishes more than 100 titles in the UK alone, and a few overseas. It’s cash-generative but low-growth and probably suffering from the decline in classified advertising. There is speculation in the market that Johnston Press might be interested but there must be several private equity bidders - 3i? - limbering up as well.

There are figures today from Corus, the steelmaker; Kingfisher, the retailer which owns B&Q; and Sage, the software group. Read Lex for more on Corus and Sage.

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