I was on a scheduled flight from Paris Orly airport to Marrakesh on Royal Air Maroc last week and the last passenger to board was French President Nicolas Sarkozy. After a quick wave and smile to the peasants in cattle class, el Presidente and his entourage of three clip-board wielding flunkies made themselves comfortable in the front end of the plane. I wonder whether Kevin 07 would take a scheduled flight to Wellington on Air NZ? It would certainly be out of the question for GW Bush to fly south on a scheduled flight courtesy of Air Mexico. Incidentally we had one of the scariest landings of my life at Marrakesh and el Presidente was wheeled out of the plane post haste.Perhaps he deserves a new Presidential Airbus of his own?

Sounds corny, but the Qantas CEO/Board team that found Dixon’s successor in his protege Alan Joyce, used the executive search and “leadership solutions” company Heidrick & Struggles, which was founded in Chicago in 1953. The search was global, the answer was in Melbourne.

Jeff Kennett has gone to ground and isn’t saying anything after his disastrous gaffe over g-ys/pa-dophiles at the weekend. Now he’s demanding a retraction and apology from the folks at the Sunday Herald Sun and threatening to sue if he doesn’t get it. The SHS are so far standing by their story. If Jeffy has been “misquoted and taken out of context”, why isn’t he out there trumpeting what he really said and really meant and demanding the apology publicly? Why is he continuing to being questioned on what he really said?

The SuperRatings report on super returns to June 30 has received a lot of publicity in the newspapers. However, the profound difference in returns between retail funds (average -9.84%) and non-profit industry funds (average -5.78%) has been ignored or played down in the commercial media because the retail funds have threatened to withdraw advertising. However, the ABC did mention the disparity…

The kind of scam that Big W got away with is regular standard practice at ALDI here in Canberra. A few months ago I attempted to purchase a DVD recorder with a hard drive as advertised in their catalogue. I lined up with the other punters at 8.30am out at Queanbeyan after being told I’d have no chance securing one at the Tuggeranong store. I was 4th into the store at 8.58am and made a beeline for the area I was told they were on display. It turns out they were distributing the units from the loading dock (at the other end of the store). I arrive there only to be told all the units had “gone”. I noticed a few piled up out the back, no doubt reserved by staff, and was told that only 12 or so units were available in that particular store! (Less the ones taken by staff). The other stores in Canberra had similar amounts, but surprise surprise all were sold out by 9am, the time when the sale supposedly began. Needless to say I won’t bother the ALDI scorer again…

More shuffling of feet at The Australian. With Economics Editor Al Wood finally hanging up his smile and retiring, Michael Stutchbury will take his gig, stepping down from the quaintly named role as Deputy Editor (Business) to the Editor in Chief. Andrew Main will continue to be titular Business Editor but the real day to day power will be with Phil Ayling, which has been back at the paper in the business section for around a month. And at the Sunday Tele, are there plans to push long time women’s editor/writer Melissa Hoyer to the new Glamour magazine being started by Murdoch Mags? And will Kate Waterhouse, daughter of Fine Cotton Robbie and trainer Gai Waterhouse, be Hoyer’s replacement. Would Sunday Tele editor, Neil Breen like it to happen?

Why didn’t economics writer, Scott Murdoch, who was recruited from The Australian, stay at Fairfax Media’s online Business Day operation? He lasted six weeks before walking late last week, back to The Australian. He will get an economics writing gig in the shuffle of feet in the wake of Mr Wood’s retirement. Some at Fairfax reckon he returned because of the demands for constant, off the top of the head think pieces daily, even hourly. But Murdoch was doing that at News Ltd. He will also write for News Ltd’s and The Australian‘s online business pages as well.

Peter Fray

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