wo imminent departures, John Prescott finds an alternative vocation in showbiz and three good reasons why you should never get a lift from a Stace employee

Put it on Alan’s expenses …

More predictions reach me on the Jarvis saga. As I mentioned last week, it seems the departure of chief executive Alan Lovell is imminent. Word is that Lovell may bow out when the firm posts its next results, in June. One detail that he may not wish to highlight is the total fees that the firm will have incurred for the year to 30 March. This is to pay for the gaggle of advisers/lawyers/ accountants who helped the ailing contractor flog off chunks of the businesses and stop the banks from calling in their considerable debts.

The latest estimate from well-placed insiders is this may total £75m for the year, which is, er, more than half what the firm got for its stake in Tube Lines. Ouch.

Big fish to bigger pond

Speaking of departures, I hear Balfour Beatty project management arm Heery International will be saying goodbye to a long-standing staffer today. Word reaches me that marketing director Chris Houchin has pitched for his final job after 16 years loyal service and is off to pastures new, namely a small contracting outfit known as Bovis Lend Lease. Will he be looking to snatch work away from his old parent firm Balfour, I wonder?

Driving ambitions

It seems consultant Stace held an awards ceremony with a difference at the firm’s recent annual dinner. My Stace spy tells me the firm decided to celebrate its staffers’ wayward driving skills. Hence retired partner David Harrison was nominated for the “Nelson Mandela Parking Award” for practising equal rights in the car park by regularly hitting both staff and partners’ cars without discrimination, whereas Richard Gough received the “Attack is Better than Defence Award”, after hitting the back of a woman’s car and then apparently accusing her of driving away too slowly. But the ultimate winner was partner Gary Fletcher. Unfortunately my source was unwilling to disclose the nature of his misdemeanour but the award was entitled the “I Don’t Know What He’s On, But Let Me Have Some Award”. I need answers.

Politics For Idealists

A cheeky Hansom reader, one Dave Pogson from South Lakeland council, has responded to my anger over the misuse of the PFI abbreviation last week. “After 10 years in public service we have worked out what it stands for,” Dave writes. “Profit For Investors.” A bit political, but go for it, Dave.

No Valentines there, then …

A colleague of mine ran into Lesley Chalmers, chief executive of the English Cities Fund, last week at the sustainable communities summit. Lesley congratulated him on an article he wrote a couple of years ago on the regeneration of Manchester. Was it because of his fine writing or researching skills or the cogency of his argument? Nope, it was all down to a bit of point-scoring – she was delighted that the article referred to her former beau, architect Ian Simpson (above), as being an ex of hers rather than the other way round. Building is glad to be of service, Lesley.

Prescott: The Musical
Prescott: The Musical
Deputy prime minister John Prescott knows where his priorities lie. He concluded his Sustainable Communities Summit by lauding staff at his department not for their policy-making skills, nor their ability to deliver urban regeneration, nor even getting to grips with his rather shaky £60,000 house concept.

No, it was much more important than that. “My department knows how to put on a great show,” trumpeted Prescott. Good to see the country is in safe (jazz) hands.