Justin Thyme

Get your lips around that

It’s official: the new merged Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand is to be called “PricewaterhouseCoopers” (just take a deep breath and think “… Hhhhhancockshalfhour”). Quite what the world’s sub-editors will make of a 22-letter word with a capital letter in the middle of it we shall have to see. I’m sure this was the result of complex negotiation – the abolition of the capital “W” in “waterhouse” alone probably took a couple of weeks. But Coopers & Lybrand partners who fear a PW takeover can hardly be comforted: names tend to be trimmed from the back. Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte lasted barely a minute; the heirs of the now abandoned Mr Lybrand can hardly complain as the firm is normally referred to as Coopers. But how long can Mr C cling on to the back of the speeding vehicle that is (deep breath again) PricewaterhouseCoopers? The good news for Coopers fans is that, in compensation, the leadership roles of MC heads Vic Luck and Peter Davies are to be combined on precisely the opposite principle: the new chief will be known as “LuckyPeterDavies”.

I?m here to take down your particulars

Who among us hasn’t fantasised about the life of the private eye, sitting in a seedy office with a busty secretary named Velma and taking the occasional belt from the fifth of bourbon next to the loaded .45 in the desk drawer?

Waiting for an ice cold blonde in a veil to sashay into the office and purr “You may think I’m crazy, but …” Well, God knows I have. “It’s $2,000 a day plus expenses, dollface.” Coopers & Lybrand too have doubtless harboured such dreams and have decided that their expertise in getting the last remark out with a straight face shows what can only be described as a “synergistic competency”. Step forward Coopers & Lybrand Investigations, a 400-strong team of gumshoes spread across seven Coopers offices in the US. Coopers say the service will be an extension of their business risk, consulting and fraud services, but are coy about whether they’ll be taking on divorce work. Perhaps their first case will be the mysterious disappearance of their own firm. Daft as a brush

We’re always delighted to hear from communications consultancy The Aziz Corporation, but this time they appear to have lost the plot completely.

A communique has reached this office claiming as their latest image consultancy client the celebrated glove puppet Basil Brush. Basil, a sort of vulpine Terry-Thomas, began life as a sidekick to magician David Nixon and went on to be a popular children’s presenter in the ’70s. Now news of his impending comeback has clearly proved too much for Aziz chairman Khalid Aziz, who comments: “Basil’s voice is his greatest asset. It is expressive, distinctive and varied in tone. His catchphrase is great – Boom! Boom!” It’s sad when this sort of thing happens, it really is. Now I must dash – I’m doing some process consultancy for The Magic Roundabout. Boinggggg!

This guru will self-destruct in two minutes

Refreshing to see a resurfacing of everybody’s favourite guru, Tom Peters, the man who turned shoving two pencils up your nose and saying “Wibble” into a patented consultancy methodology. Peters’ latest wheeze is: You Can’t Live Without An Eraser, which is remarkably restrained for him – the words don’t even all begin with the same letter, or spell out a word.

Peters, who now advocates the appointment of a “chief destruction officer”, has decided that forgetting is the greatest corporate virtue. This is actually quite a radical idea – at least it was when Nietszche had it sometime in the last century. But you can understand the desirability of forgetfulness in the readers of a career guru, whose successive volumes are almost certain to be tediously repetitious or wildly self-contradictory.

Girl power

Some people, it appears, can’t see a bandwagon without jumping on it.

I’ve never actually seen a bandwagon but I’m sure I could resist the temptation, not least because I don’t want a punch up the bracket from an irate tuba player. Not so the organisers of the Women in Business Conference (Wembley, 19-20 June). (Women in Business? Is this a new thing that’s coming in then?)

They’re trying to cash in on the success of Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding’s novel for the sort of women who end up with the sort of men who read novels by Nick Hornby.

Speaker Danielle Baillieu explains: “Bridget Jones is quite clear about what she wants – -to get a better job, control her finances and gain control of workplace technnology. Many women in business want the same things and this event is a showcase for the products and services they seek.” Now I can’t claim to have read BJD but I do work round the corner from a bookshop and an exhaustive 10 minutes’ research reveals that what Ms Jones wants is in fact to get rid of her cellulite, stop smoking and meet a nice bloke. Now there’s a conference topic for you.

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