20 APRIL 1991, Page 20

Berd in hand

HIS search for a suitably grand head office started off with Grand Buildings, in Trafal- gar Square. There he tried and failed to gazump Enterprise Oil. He resisted the Treasury's attempts to shoo him down to the Isle of Dogs, where eastern Europe begins. He agreed to take over the Mid- land Bank's head office, a Lutyens palace, but could not have it altered to suit him. The Berd is now likely to roost in the new Embankment Place, looking across the river to Waterloo Station. M. Attali's next symptom of corporate ambition was to call for a logo. He invited the world's school- children to compete in designing one for him. Vaclav Havel and Issey Miyake, with help from Sir Nicholas Goodison, would pick the winner. (It looks like a tennis ball.) Then he set out to recruit. He has brought in central bankers — John Flem- ming from the Bank of England, Mario Sarcinelli from Italy. Ernest Stern of the World Bank was expected to come as right-hand man and chief operating officer, but thought better of it. Quite a few people, as Mr Stern will have heard, got the impression that they would be M. Attali's right-hand man. That kind of thing makes recruiting more difficult. Not all those recruited have stayed, in Whitehall the Berd has come to be considered a hardship posting, a head of merchant banking is still being sought, but M. Attali's personal chef (French, of course) is already in place.