Philip Clarke, the boss of Tesco, is fast turning into retailing's answer to Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.
His leadership is wobbling as a home constituency complains he's ignored the tenets of previous successes, while simultaneously pursuing the glamorous attractions of overseas partnerships whose benefits have proved increasingly difficult to explain.
Anyway, just like Cleggy, Clarke faces what promises to be a tough count this week, as Tesco releases internal polling – aka first-quarter trading figures. Previously, those numbers have been showing support for the grocer evaporating, and while Wednesday's release may suddenly reveal a dramatic swing back to Clarke, it is not the way the City is betting.
In fact, there remains a lingering suspicion that the boss may not have total control of all the little things that help create a successful business. For example, the retailer has just printed its new tactical slogan – "We love shopping locally" – on the side of countless plastic shopping bags, along with appropriate regional insignia.
Sadly for Clarke, this irked independent shop campaigners, while bags displaying the Scottish saltire were subsequently seen at checkouts in Wales and Northern Ireland. It's unlikely Clarke was making a political point.
Rumble in the financial jungle
The west has been attracted by the riches of the Democratic Republic of Congo for years – perhaps most famously 40 years ago when a couple of heavyweight boxers were persuaded to visit in exchange for $5m each.
But since Muhammad Ali out-thought George Foreman in Kinshasa, the draw has been about the country's natural, rather than hard-currency, resources – and specifically who's benefiting from what's under its soil.
Hence the new reporting requirements, under America's Dodd-Frank Act, to compel US-listed companies to investigate the provenance of the tin, gold, tantalum and tungsten used in their products – an attempt to break the link between the DRC's mineral wealth and the armed groups profiting from the trade. The deadline for filings is tomorrow.
It all sounds like an excellent plan, but even at this stage concerns have arisen. The anti-corruption campaign group Global Witness reckons many of the reports so far "don't include enough information to show that companies are doing credible checks on their supply chains", which rather raises the question: if there are any wrongdoers, can they be rumbled?
Third time unlucky for G4S?
There is a longstanding City tradition that some disaster will befall G4S just before it addresses its investors. So, in the runup to this week's annual general meeting, it is with zero surprise that the accident-prone security company a) lost its new UK boss, Eddie Aston, after just seven months in the job; and b) learned that a key supporter – the world's richest man, Bill Gates – had decided to slash his stake in the firm.
Of course, any G4S-watcher is familiar with the company's track record for mislaying items in its care (customers' cash, tagged prisoners) – so losing a third UK chief in two years, plus one of the world's best-known investors, suggests the company is still playing to its handicap.
But the issues look stickier. Gates's withdrawal is said to have been provoked by outrage over the company's work in the Israeli prison system – a topic that shows little sign of disappearing from the news agenda and is sure to see some stellar names swelling the numbers of protestors outside the meeting.
The sheer quantity of groups with a gripe mean that heightened security will be required, ensuring the classic questions about G4S dovetail with a classical one: namely, who will guard the guards?
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