Senior executives and company directors have been no more immune to redundancy than anyone else during the economic downturn. Whilst there is talk of the tide turning, people are still losing their jobs.
Employment disputes and redundancies are a typical feature of troubled economic times as companies react to dwindling revenues by firing employees at all levels in order to cut costs. But lawyer Elaine Aarons, a leading employment expert who specialises in advising executives at international law firm Withers LLP, believes this recession has been different.
Former body-builder Zef Eisenberg is flexing his muscles in the business world.
In 1995, he founded Maximuscle — the UK’s top sports nutrition brand used by British sporting stars such as Josh Lewsey and Gavin Henson — which he sold for £75m in 2007. Mr Eisenberg, 36, who remains the company’s president and principal shareholder, is now pursuing other projects. While preparing to launch a new chain of health and fitness clubs under the Maxigym trademark — a Maximuscle spin-off — he is also executing a multi-million pound assault on London’s property market.
With a maturing online market, grocery websites need to create new ways to stand out to price-savvy customers. Staying ahead of the game is grocery price comparison site mySupermarket.co.uk, which compares the cost of products among the big four online supermarkets — Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Ocado (Waitrose) — and lets users cost their baskets as they shop.
Lord Sugar hit the headlines earlier this year when he was appointed the government’s enterprise tzar. But when it comes to political influence, the host of The Apprentice has been eclipsed by another hugely wealthy Jewish businessman. Stanley Fink, the multi-millionaire hedge fund manager, is emerging as a hot political commodity.
Those who say the economy is picking up are kidding themselves says Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of the world’s largest advertising group, WPP.
According to Sir Martin, 64, company figures may show some indication of stabilisation but this does not show the real picture. “I think a lot of what people are saying is based on relief and looking at easier comparatives,” he says. “People like to put spins on things. Things are naturally going to look better, not necessarily because people are spending more heavily, but because you are starting an easier period.
For many, 2009 has not been the best time to share one’s wealth. Banks are locking down on lending, businesses are cutting their expenditures and charities are suffering. But a group of pioneering women are bucking the trend.
Addidi Business Angels, to be launched this autumn, is a female-only private equity club looking to invest in small businesses. According to reports, less than five per cent of business angels in the UK are women.
Good news for graduates: help is at hand for university leavers struggling to get jobs in the recession. Former student Andy Shovel has launched Recruitment Squared, a business which he believes can combat graduate unemployment — and, three months in, it is already in profit.
Recruitment Squared offers employers the chance to “try before they buy” and, as Mr Shovel puts it, “this takes the risk away from companies, making it more financially appealing for them to hire”.