CITY WHISPERS: George Osborne springs to life after Chelsea gala invite

The great and the good were at the Chelsea Flower Show this week, keen to see and be seen at what is undoubtedly the most flourishing event of the business calendar.

On Monday night former chancellor of the exchequer turned investment banker George Osborne was in chipper mood, admitting that it was the first time he had been to the gala dinner, the hottest ticket of the show.

Another of David Cameron’s chums Seb James was also in attendance, although the Old Etonian boss of Boots the Chemist was tight-lipped about a sale or flotation of the chain by its US owner Walgreens.

He’s back: George Osborne attended the latest Chelsea Flower Show 

Alongside all the suits was a smattering of celebs such as actor Richard E Grant.

The high life indeed.  

Labour’s City charm offensive 

Labour’s charm offensive on the City shows no sign of abating.

Its latest fundraising dinner was at the Science Museum in west London, where former Legal & General boss Sir Nigel Wilson was hobnobbing with the party’s top brass, including its chairwoman Anneliese Dodds and shadow economic secretary Tulip Siddiq.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves and shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds have been trying to steal what was always solid Tory ground.

‘Labour has been fundraising for two years and the City knows it needs to get close to them,’ said Addy Frederick, head of public affairs at insurer Admiral.

Shein appoints advisory groups 

Chinese fast fashion giant Shein has appointed advisory groups Brunswick and FGS Global to help sell its story ahead of a blockbuster flotation this summer.

So there were some red faces when reports popped up revealing that FGS had allegedly sent one of its most senior managers to its Chinese outposts to deal with allegations that Western partners behave in a ‘colonial’ manner there.

Clearly FGS successfully wriggled its way out of the hole.

More women at the top 

There are only ten female chief executives in the FTSE 100, but one man who wants to see more is Mark Versey, chief executive at Aviva Investors, part of the wider Aviva insurance group.

‘I’ve had three female bosses and they’ve all been excellent. Much better than the men,’ he gushed to The Mail on Sunday.

Boss Amanda Blanc has been credited with turning around Aviva, which had for years been languishing in the doldrums. 

She caused a storm last year after saying all white, male senior promotions and hires at Aviva required her final approval. Full marks to Versey for upward management skills.

Contributor: Ruth Sunderland