Business Diary: February 5

HERE’S a pub quiz question that will tax the sharpest brains.

Shelley Rudman

What’s the connection between a Rotherham company and a world champion bobsledder?

The link is provided by Shelley Rudman who won the skeleton World Championships in St Moritz, Switzerland last week.

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Sheffield-based Ms Rudman’s victory was made possible with technology developed and produced by Bromley Technologies, which is based on Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing Park.

Bromley, founded by Ms Rudman’s partner Kristan Bromley and his brother Richard, has developed bobsleighs for more than 12 years and supplied Ms Rudman with equipment for all her successes, including her 2006 Olympic silver medal.

Bromley supplies skeleton sleds and runners to athletes from 23 countries including Canada, Australia and Japan.

It was an emphatic performance by Ms Rudman, whose win made her the first British woman to claim a sliding world title, and the first Briton to take pole position since Mr Bromley won the men’s title in 2008.

Ms Rudman said afterwards: “I’m so happy because this was the one medal in my sport I hadn’t won. I always set goals and the world title was always my priority this year.”

Red letter day

Diary was heartened to hear about steps being taken by a Yorkshire airport to honour the Chinese Year of the Snake – and the vital role played by our county’s Chinese business community.

British Airways and Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) have joined forces to present a traditional ‘red letter’ gift to the Leeds Chinese community.

To mark the Chinese New Year, Leeds Chinese Community Association’s director, Man Chiu Leung, put on a special display with a colourful symbolic dragon in the airport’s terminal.

In China, a red envelope is given during holidays or special occasions. The red colour of the envelope symbolises good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.

Tony Hallwood, the commercial director at Leeds Bradford Airport, said: “The Chinese economy has expanded rapidly over the past 30 years and we are confident that the new route between Leeds Bradford to Heathrow, with swift onward connections at Terminal 5 to the Far East, will prove popular with businesses trading in the major economic hubs of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu.”

The world’s gone mad

Analysts’ notes can sometimes be dry, forgettable affairs. So when a note from Charles Stanley with the headline ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’ thudded on Diary’s desk, we knew we were in for something a little out of the ordinary.

Charles Stanley’s Week in Preview commentary, which arrived on February 1, was not for the faint-hearted.

It could have carried the sub-heading “Naught for your comfort”.

According to Charles Stanley, it’s time, to view a classic film with a chilling performance from Marlon Brando.

Here’s a flavour: “When risk assets are on fire and stock markets are surging to new multi-year highs, while in that far away place known previously as ‘the real world’ policy is failing to gain much, if any, traction...it’s time to dust off those old Apocalypse Now DVDs.

“A better exploration into the nature of madness, individual and institutional, one would have to go a long way to find. Of course, Francis Ford Coppola’s epic is perhaps most remembered for Robert Duval’s outstanding cameo as the reckless Lt Colonel Kilgore, the kind of man you just know will escape from the clutches of the Vietnamese war without so much as a scratch. But the film’s leitmotif, drawing heavily on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, is about insanity on every level.”

The authors accept not everybody will find sympathy with their view that what’s happening in the global economy or across the financial markets is insane.

The commentary continues: “Investors are, after all, cleaning up, especially so if they’re invested in the stock market. No matter valuations are looking stretched. No matter economic policy is failing to generate much, if any, traction.”

The authors believe that the West suffers from a significant productivity problem and is in urgent need of restructuring. They also believe senior executives should be remunerated not on the basis of the measures aimed at short-term share price appreciation, but on the basis of their efforts to help promote longer term economic prosperity.

“Current policy enables us to survive for a few more years on the notion that conditions might return to ‘normality’ if we just hold our collective breath for long enough,’’ the note says.

Perhaps we’d all rather watch The Shawshank Redemption?