DIARY: 'Grey beard' Halford is planning ahead not to be left on the PR shelf

Readers will be familiar with the sort of non-committal phrases bandied about by senior PROs when they leave a job after a decent stint: 'pursuing other interests,' gets a regular outing, as does 'spending more time with the family'.

In this context, the manner of Tim Halford's departure from the corporate affairs director role at Standard Chartered Bank - reported on this week's news pages - breaks new ground.

'My departure forces me to put in place some interests to see me through the next 30 years,' the optimistic 55-year-old told the entire company and a host of headhunters in a frank round-robin e-mail last week.

Halford goes on to tout around his services as a 'grey beard' helping out a young consultancy or starting an internet-based company to rival Saga - 'for frustrated oldies, the young at heart and the still continent'.

But the most intriguing option raised in Halford's missive is his taking on a more hands-on role at Crechendo, the £2m turnover kiddies gym and party company in which he owns a 25 per cent stake and has the chairman title.

There truly is life beyond PR.

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