Weekend Round-Up November 22, 2009

Last Updated Feb 3, 2010 5:44 AM EST

Sunday Times
Shamed MG Rover chiefs bank extra £11m The five former directors of MG Rover -- John Towers, Nick Stephenson, John Edwards, Peter Beale and Kevin Howe -- are to receive over £11m in payouts. Their windfall will bring to £42m the total they have extracted from the collapsed company in one of Britain's biggest business scandals. The payout comes from the winding up of MGR Capital, a car finance operation kept separate from the rest of the group.

Waitrose's 'chubby grocer' tipped for Morrison job Waitrose MD Mark Price has emerged as a leading contender for new chief executive of supermarket chain Morrisons, replacing departing boss Marc Bolland, who'll take up Sir Stuart Rose's former role as chief exec at M&S. The report says the man nicknamed the Chubby Grocer could be tempted into swapping his role for an estimated £2m-a-year pay package at the value grocery chain.

News of the World
Average pay increase is £2 (if you're lucky) Figures from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings show wages have been rising by one per cent a year on average since 2002 -- an average increase of barely £2 a week. The Eden district in Cumbria was identified as the worst place for wages, with pay cut there by 21.7 per cent to an average wage of £350 a week in the seven years to April 2009.

The Independent on Sunday
On your Marcs Marc Bolland may be asked to leave his current role as head of Morrisons imminently as shareholders cite a conflict of interest between his current role and his 2010 job at the top of Marks and Spencer. Headhunters are said to be looking externally for a "top-flight retailer", with Archie Norman apprentice Richard Baker among those deemed worthy to take over from Bolland.

Blacks in the red Outdoor clothing retailer Blacks is aiming to wind up the business by CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement). With landlord approval, it will close 89 shops and pay landlords rent for six months, whatever the terms of the lease. One source is quoted as saying that while landlords
are expected to green-light the CVA "grudgingly", it's "a no-brainer... they don't want another Woolworths on their hands just before Christmas."

The Observer
Is Hershey a better bid? As a pure sweet-making concern, Hershey may seem a better fit for Cadbury. Like the UK company, it's a venerable name with a philanthropic side, plus it already manufactures Dairy Milk and Creme Eggs for local tastes. But it has also instigated a major restructuring at home that has resulted in thousands losing their jobs to lower wage-earners in Mexico. At barely half the size of Cadbury, it's clear what the US company wants from the tie-up. But it'll be Hershey's charitable trust that will decide whether it can afford the UK company. And that other bidder? Business editor Ruth Sunderland lambasts Royal Bank of Scotland, which has backed the Kraft takeover bid for Cadbury, saying "this everyday tale of life in the banking sector illustrates much of what has gone wrong: lack of loyalty, lack of ethics and lack of long-term vision."
No name, no shame Sir David Walker's report, due Friday, will continue to press for top earners at the banks to have their pay disclosed, even if they aren't on the board. Individuals, though, wouldn't be identified because it might appear vindictive -- despite City minister Lord Myners' suggestion that banks disclose the names of star traders, whatever their corporate rank.

The Sunday Telegraph
Apple is the most influential business in the UK Apple is number one for innovation and influence, outstripping Google in this year's Thought Leadership Index. Top 10 slots also go to big pharma's GSK, as well as The Co-operative Bank and retailer Marks and Spencer. The Tory party and the Carbon Trust also featured on the list of influencers.
The 2009 index, compiled by the TLG consultancy, polled 1,000 business leaders and public figures to rate organisations on five criteria -- including whether they challenged conventional thinking, their innovative capacity, and how far they lived up to their service promises. .

Women directors earn 50 percent less than male peers Women directors take home half what their male peers do, says a Reward Technology Forum study. Part of the reason is that of the 218 women on board FTSE-350 companies, 181 are non-execs -- and women executive directors' numbers are down by one this year -- a "discouraging picture for women", indeed.

High rollers make for the Alps Top City earners look set to swell London's Lanesborough hotel this week to find out more about relocating to the more favourable tax regime of Switzerland. Estate agent Savills is holding its second seminar this year for high-earners who could be hit by the 50p tax in April 2010. Entrepreneur Hugh Osmond of Punch Taverns and Pizza Express, along with UK publisher Informa, are said to be eyeing Switzerland to escape high property prices and taxation.
Water companies under pressure Water regulator OFWAT's "final determination" on pricing may force utility companies to cut dividends by up to 25 per cent and could lead to job cuts at some of the UK's major utilities.
The Thursday result of a price review is aimed at curbing price rises that might otherwise "go straight from the customer's bill into the companies' pockets".