The Insider is puzzled by regional account-winning celebrations and prefers the Lanesbrough Hotel to a 140-mile cycle ride
Kwik Fit Insurance cast aside credit crunch concerns and whipped out the company credit card this month to reward employees for five years’ loyal service with a luxurious lunch prepared by Brian Maule, chief proprietor of the celebrated Glasgow fine-dining restaurant Chardon d’Or.
No expenses were spared as more than 70 employees were joined by Kwik Fit’s financial services managing director, Brendan Devine, and his board of directors for a relaxing day out. Staff were chauffeured in a fleet of limousines and treated to a cocktail reception, a three-course lunch and further rewarded with £60 worth of high-street vouchers.
Reports of the paparazzi mistaking Kwik Fit staff for celebrities and harassing them as they were whisked away in limousines have still not been confirmed.
Let’s all do the funky chicken
Those guys down at Aon certainly know how to celebrate. After winning a major account with a food manufacturer, Two Sisters Food Group, in the West Midlands, one of the staff decided to mark the occasion in a rather unusual way.
Apparently he had vowed to get dressed up as a chicken if Aon ever won the prestigious account, and true to his word, he pulled on the rather hot and sweaty bird suit. Onlookers said he looked so good, even Big Bird off Sesame Street would have been proud.
All this tomfoolery in the regions makes you wonder what goes on higher up the food chain. What did Aon’s Greg Case do after winning the Man Utd sponsorship deal? In fact, I can see him kitted out as Eric Cantona.
And so to the Lanesborough Hotel in Hyde Park, where the IIB treated members to a slap-up meal. The wine flowed almost as freely as dark mutterings about commission disclosure. IIB chief executive Barbara Bradshaw attempted to lift spirits by noting that brokers were, for the most part, holding up well, compared to other industries, adding that the IIB had frozen subscription fees. “If only the FSA had done the same,” she lamented. But the mantra for the day was “put up and shut up” in case the FSA step up in its attempts to bring about mandatory commission disclosure in 2011. Not if the IIB has its way.
I was Biba in the USA
I hear that the rock gods have been shining down on Biba’s Steve White this week after his appearance at Bruce Springsteen’s Hyde Park show in London at the weekend.
Apparently, Steve could be heard belting out Springsteen hits Born to Run and my personal favourite Dancing in the Dark at Biba’s headquarters, despite his croaky voice.
Rumours that Steve is lining up to perform at next year’s Glastonbury festival are unconfirmed, however he was spotted with a new pair of green wellies.
Running, cycling and giving
I’ve never been the athletic type, you might say – but I take my hat off to those who exert themselves in the name of a good cause.
Take Paul Meehan, who you would have thought had his hands full turning round the service at AXA.
But no, it’s going so well, that the customer experience director is able to take time out to cycle 140 miles from Whitehaven to Sunderland, to raise money for charity Conductive Education on Friday.
On the other side of the country, the team from software house Transactor is aiming to walk 100km to raise money for the Gurkhas and Oxfam – and already planning what to say to Joanna Lumley at the finishing line.
If like me, you’d rather not indulge in such extreme physical exertion, then fear not – you can still get involved by visiting the charity website www.justgiving.com/paulmeehan1 and www.justgiving.com/transactor respectively.
A random selection of donors may also receive a special thank you in forthcoming issues of Backchat – so don’t be shy, leave your name and a message.