Saturday, November 1, 2008

Brand target of bitterness at BBC

By Charlotte Groves Saturday, 1 November 2008

The full scale of the management breakdown at Radio 2 began to emerge yesterday, as a traumatic week for the BBC ended with internal recriminations about the basic failure to follow editorial guidelines.
The chairman of the BBC Trust, Sir Michael Lyons, said that neither he nor the director-general, Mark Thompson, knew about the lewd phone calls made by the Radio 2 presenters Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross until they read about the row in last Sunday’s newspapers, eight days after the original broadcast.
Sir Michael suggested that the failure of managers to inform him and Mr Thompson of the matter was a reason why Radio 2’s controller, Lesley Douglas, had quit. He said: “That is itself an issue, of which I’m absolutely clear, and that is why people have acknowledged their responsibility in that failing.”

BT to axe thousands after shock profits warning

By Amanda Andrews Last Updated: 7:36PM GMT 31 Oct 2008

BT is expected to cut thousands of jobs worldwide in its Global Services division following a disappointing performance in the second quarter, forcing the telecoms group to sound a shock profits warning and raising doubts about the dividend.
BT Group Chief executive Ian Livingston has drafted in group finance director Hanif Lalani as Global Services chief executive with a remit to cut costs, following the resignation of Francois Barrault. BT has still to find a replacement for Mr Lalani, who will be assisted by Ray Leclercq, the chief executive of BT's Openreach and an experienced cost-cutter. Mr Leclercq will become chief financial officer of the troubled division.

Barclays' shareholders angry at generous terms of £7bn Middle Eastern fund raising

By Katherine Griffiths, Financial Services Editor Last Updated: 10:21AM GMT 01 Nov 2008

Barclays has angered shareholders by offering new Middle Eastern investors a more generous than expected package in return for capital which will see the UK bank raise £7bn from the private sector.
The deal will mean Barclays is the only major British bank which will not have to take money from the taxpayer, keeping it free of the constraints the Government has said it will impose on dividends, bonuses and lending levels.
But that freedom has come at a high price. Analysts yesterday estimated the financing will cost Barclays at least £1bn more than if it had used the Government’s bail-out package, which is being taken up by Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and HBOS.
Sandy Chen, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, said: “The terms of this capital raising are expensive, especially compared to the financing terms that had been on offer from the UK Government.” Alex Potter at Collins Stewart said: “Government intervention is being avoided at a very high cost.”

Exclusive: SAS chief quits over 'negligence that killed his troops'

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Last Updated: 7:42AM GMT 01 Nov 2008

The commander of Britain's SAS troops in Afghanistan has resigned in disgust, accusing the Government of "gross negligence" over the deaths of four of his soldiers.
Major Sebastian Morley claims that Whitehall officials and military commanders repeatedly ignored his warnings that people would be killed if they continued to allow troops to be transported in the vulnerable Snatch Land Rovers.
As a result, he says Cpl Sarah Bryant – the first female soldier to die in Afghanistan – and three male colleagues, the SAS soldiers, Cpl Sean Reeve, L/Cpl Richard Larkin and Paul Stout were killed needlessly.
All four died when their lightly armoured Snatch Land Rover split apart after hitting a landmine in Helmand province in June.
In his resignation letter, Major Morley, the commander of D Squadron, 23 SAS, said "chronic underinvestment" in equipment by the Ministry of Defence was to blame for their deaths