The corridors of power…

This modest affair involved flying Concorde to New York, on to Tokyo (first
class, naturally), on to Hong Kong and back to London – all in the space of a
week. Oh it was tough, I can tell you. There’s only so much Krug champagne you
can drink.

Never having flown Concorde, I was surprised by the snottiness of the regular
passengers – mainly bankers and so-called ‘consultants’. They looked at you
pityingly as if to say: ‘You mean you’ve never flown Concorde before?’ But the
goodie bag was worth having.

The trip was led by Michael Cassidy, the corporation’s then-policy chairman –
and, as such, a man of huge influence. In a previous role chairing the
corporation’s planning committee, he was responsible for reshaping much of the
City skyline.

Cassidy tackled the gruelling trip with aplomb, enjoying razor-sharp
exchanges with his hosts while the rest of us stumbled about in a jet-lagged
daze. Or was that the Krug?

After leaving the corporation in 1997, Cassidy returned to his day job as
senior partner of Maxwell Batley, a City law firm. He did an eight-year stint as
a non-executive director of British Land.

I mention all this because Cassidy, 58, has just been named president of the
London Chamber of Commerce, the flag-waver for the capital. He was also recently
elected chairman of the Museum of London, alongside his new day job as chairman
of Hemingway Properties.

Cassidy was appointed CBE last year for services to the City. Can that
elusive knighthood be far away?

Jon Ashworth is business features editor at The Times

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