Sid responds after becoming 'talk of the town' and reveals the odds are shortening in his CEO sack race

Following a bit of whispering as to my real identity, I’m flattered to hear that apparently I am a composite figure of John Kitson, Paul Meehan, Chris Blackham and Peter Hubbard. That’s at least two pantomime horses I would not want to be the back end of (or the front end, come to think about it).

And I’m told that one megalomaniac insurer chief executive in particular is determined to unmask me. Beware Sid's curse!

Seeing Philippe Maso criticise Aviva as “defying gravity” reminds me that AXA once had the strategy of “double income and triple profits by 2012”! This seems to have been quietly buried and replaced with the slogan “Redefining standards”. Quite.

Meanwhile, I was delighted to hear that our dear old CII has made a stand against nuclear proliferation with its Aldermanbury Declaration. Provided, of course, my lights don't go out. Which reminds me, I’m told the CII dinner was a very posh affair, and this year there was even a meal. Hanksie takes the chair from Smithy shortly – good eggs both, I approve.

I was also pleased to receive a first edition copy of the aptly named ‘Insurance People’ from my old mate Brian Susman and Susman junior. It is clear – or is it? – that I cannot be Alan 'the stig' Cleary, since he reappears with his column in this new organ, a mixture of soft soap and caustic soda. I have to say I choked on my cornflakes to see Andy 'daddy cool' Homer described by the stig as a “nice guy”.

Last but not least, which headhunters are desperately seeking a replacement chief executive for a serious and fast-growing insurer? The odds are shortening on the first chief to walk the plank. Let me know if you know, on the QT.

And keep those secrets coming my way, especially about the Martians and HSBC. Entre nous, as always.

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