Steven Esom would have been permitted a rueful smile after former boss Sir Stuart Rose levelled his rhetorical cannons at the UK's next best-loved retailing knight, Sir Alan Sugar.

Rose last week took a break from ducking shareholders' brickbats to lambast the The Apprentice's sorcerer-in-chief for his supposedly outdated approach to team-building and man-management.

"We must not stereotype business and suggest the only way to run it is to hire and fire or do down colleagues," Rose was quoted as saying in The Sunday Times.

"If I ran my business that way I'd probably have my P45 very quickly."

Hmm. For the record, the total number of months spent by Esom as appointed saviour of M&S's food business before unceremoniously getting the push was an unlucky 13.

Meanwhile, another style of leadership was on show last week as Gordon Brown pulled out all the stops to get Cabinet colleagues back on side, wooing dissenters with platefuls of his wife's lasagne at Downing Street suppers.

If pasta is the food of diplomacy, perhaps the famously indiscreet Silvio Berlusconi has been sticking to the deep-fried Mars bars of Brown's homeland.