More CEOs leave

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Another head rolls. Today it is the chief executive of Blacks Leisure, Russell Hardy, who liked to blame most of the chain’s considerable problems on climate change. He will now have more time to enjoy the warm weather. The shares are up nearly 4 per cent.

We’re also saying goodbye to Denis Waxman, the chief executive of Hays who helped found the recruitment business 38 years ago in a room above Sweetings, the City fish restaurant. Waxman, 60, will retire in November and be replaced by Alistair Cox, CEO of Xansa, an outsourcing and technology services group.

I see shares in Sports Direct International continue to slide. They are off another 4 per cent this morning, taking them to 187½p, compared with the 300p float price. This might have something to do with Richard Fletcher’s story in Saturday’s Telegraph about how founder Mike Ashley used a game of spoof to settle a disagreement over fees with his banker at Merrill Lynch, Simon Mackenzie Smith. It’s an amusing story, which doesn’t make Ashley look good but Mackenzie Smith doesn’t look much better, gambling for fees. Does Merrill really allow its bankers to settle fee disputes with clients with a game of spoof? At least he won, but how long would one of Simon’s juniors have lasted if they had done the same thing.

We’re keeping a close eye on online gaming stocks today after PartyGaming said it had initiated talks with the US justice authorities. There is speculation that the US government may be preparing to relax last year’s clampdown on online betting (not that the shares have moved much today).

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