Who’s signing deals with whom, who’s sitting next to whom… As ever, the Insider ensures you heard it here first

Some of you may have noticed that Lloyd's insurer Novae was the principal sponsor of this year's Prince's Trust Rock Gala in London, which took place on 17 November at the Royal Albert Hall. I understand that the mastermind of the sponsorship deal, Novae chief underwriting officer Peter Matson, and his wife got to sit next to Charles and Camilla for the performance. They even got to have a bit of a chinwag with the prince. How much did it cost Novae to sponsor the bash, I wonder? No doubt it was a princely sum.

Kelliher instincts

I’m hearing that Chris Giles was spotted recently chatting to Kerry London chairman Joseph Kelliher. It would be easy to put two and two together and think there could be some deal-making going on, yet I’m reliably informed that’s not the case. But this all begs the question: when is Giles going to make that long-awaited transformational deal? With the clock ticking down towards flotation in 2012, I’m sure he’ll want something sewn up soon, so he can prepare for the listing. Next year is going to be very interesting …

Job-move jitters

Moving on to one of my favourite topics, the AXA commercial job. I've previously told you the names in the frame – Allianz commercial boss Chris Hanks, Willis chief executive Brendan McManus, Towergate deputy chief Amanda Blanc and last week's frontrunner, Aviva broker chief Janice Deakin. The Janice Deakin talk is growing louder and louder, and coming from all angles, but I'm also told that AXA is hedging its bets by looking at some less well-known names too. Well, whatever they decide, I hope they do it quickly. The suspense is killing me.

Chips with personality

As an honorary Biba member, I was pleased to note that chief executive Eric Galbraith and regulation supremo Steve White were looking after my money while on a jaunt to lobby MEPs in Brussels last week. The trip kept White away from the Complinet Compliance Awards in London, where he was named Compliance Personality of the Year. Instead, he could be found queuing up with his boss at one of the Belgian capital’s chip stalls for lunch. The total cost of their lunch in one of Europe’s gastronomic hotspots? e4.60. Tighten that belt, sir!

Moral high ground

I was surprised to hear rumours about a recent confrontation between two key employees from Ink and Westinsure. I’m sure the gentlemen concerned would have played by Queensberry Rules, but when you work under the watchful eye of Mighty Mike Smith, I’m surprised that things ever get out of hand. If anyone can keep two scrapping employees in line, it must be the 7ft tall Ink boss.

Slippery slope

And finally, a success story always warms the heart, especially in today’s conditions. So it was good to see RFIB, which started life as Robert Fleming Insurance Brokers, celebrating its 30th year in business last week. However, it is with equal glee that I note the broker’s inauspicious beginnings. At RFIB’s 30th birthday bash, chief executive Marshall King recounted the tale of the plucky young broker who returned to the office with the company’s first fully signed slip – only to have it pointed out that he had forgotten to allow for any brokerage on there. Mind you, given the slim pickings available today, some broker chiefs must be constantly wondering if their underlings are making the same mistake. IT

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