Business Diary: May 17

Skipton Financial Services’ PR manager Matthew Cox had an interesting night at a major awards ceremony in London.

While the rest of the room chuffed down the champagne before throwing themselves around the dance floor, Matthew’s night was strictly sober after he learned that his wife Caroline could be going into labour – ten days early.

He got the call just as the awards were about to start, but the event organisers set up a hotline so Caroline could contact the events and banqueting manager on his mobile who could come and get Matthew on table 73 if anything happened.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Having checked his mobile phone every 30 seconds throughout the night, he left as soon as the awards finished at 10.30pm.

Thankfully it was a false alarm and Caroline and their unborn baby are doing well.

We send our best regards to the Cox family ahead of the due date, which is this Saturday.

“We are both very relieved I didn’t miss it and I will not be risking any trips to London again in the near future!” Matthew told Diary.

Tissue aims to wipe the floor

Bold predictions of future success can be a dangerous game, leaving you hostage to fortune.

But York-based biotech firm Tissue Regenix was no shrinking violet when it released its full-year results recently.

The company, which grows replacement body parts, said it is “poised to accelerate towards our goal of becoming a major player in regenerative medicine”, despite recording no revenues.

Asked when that ambitious target might be achieved, managing director Antony Odell estimated it would be a couple of years. “It’s ambitious but it’s not an unachievable goal,” said Mr Odell.

“The board will probably hang me for it,” he added.

Superstition brings some cold comfort

The range of surveys conducted on behalf of Yorkshire’s corporate community never ceases to amaze Diary. Diary has been solemnly informed that a survey has revealed that 13 per cent of van drivers in North Lincolnshire believe that sitting on a cold surface will give you piles.

This nugget of information was supplied on behalf of Hull’s Volkswagen Van Centre, JCT600, to promote its National Service Pricing programme.

If the survey is to be believed, then van drivers are a superstitious breed, to say the least.

According to the survey, the most popular myth around North Lincolnshire was that breaking a mirror will give you seven years of bad luck.

Fifty five per cent of respondents claimed to have been told this.

Kevin Fretwell, the general manager at JCT600 Volkswagen Van Centre, said: “The survey revealed how myths can influence and confuse people’s actions with over a third of people trusting others opinions rather than finding out the truth themselves.

“Whether these pearls of wisdom have been handed down by our parents or grandparents, or we have simply picked them up along the way, it’s clear they have quite an affect and can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.”

So it’s a fair bet that van drivers move their furniture in a gingerly fashion.

The ‘cuddly’ airline chief executive

Michael O’Leary has not lost his sense of humour.

“My leadership style is cuddly and consensual,” the Rynair chief executive told businesses at the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber lunch last week. He wasn’t joking, however, when he said the budget carrier puts an “immense amount of effort” into customer service.

As jaws dropped he quickly explained that his definition of customer service was offering cheap flights that arrive on time – and nothing more.

“Who wants half a bottle of champagne at 6.30 in the morning?” he said in a reference to his company’s pay-for-your drinks policy.

Despite his mix of fire and brimstone on the usual subjects – the evils of air passenger duty, customers who want refunds on non-refundable tickets – and some X-rated banter, O’Leary left the audience at Leeds United FC wanting more.

Perhaps that’s because he included a joke about the Germans. Some topics always go down well.