As the world wound down for the big Christmas chill, Tate & Lyle's
crisis team was sparked into action by the appearance in English waters
on 21 December of the cargo ship MV Nisha, suspected by Scotland Yard of
carrying 'terrorist material'.
The ship, carrying 26,000 tonnes of raw sugar cane, reached the English
Channel after a tour of East African waters passing guerrilla bases in
Somalia and Sudan.
T&L corporate relations director Chris Fox, promoted from head of PR
just weeks ago, was left to face the cameras since CEO Larry Pillard was
abroad on business and chairman Sir David Lees is a non-exec.
Fox was quietly sitting out a worthy press call highlighting the sugar
firm's link with homeless charity Crisis when the first phone rang from
Five hours and 47 media outlets later, he retired for the day, knackered
but chuffed at having survived this fiery baptism: 'Every once in a
while we have to prove our worth - it's what we live for.'
Despite his enthusiasm, Fox admitted to some relief this week as the
Nisha - cleared of carrying any terrorist material - finally leaves its
Essex berth and ceases to be his responsibility.