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What’s in a name? Quite a lot to some

By Taipan
11 Feb 2021

Nominative determinism has come up in Taipan before. But not everyone can love thy fate.

This column has previously touched on the theory of whether the right name — or just a similar name to someone more important — might help people get along in their careers. But there is a dark side to the story too, as a British journalist found out this week.

Zoah Hedges-Stocks was apparently barraged with messages from tendie-fuelled, GameStop obsessives on Twitter, causing her to clarify that Hedges-Stocks was, in fact, her real name — and that it gave her no special insight into how to hedge equity exposure.

It got Taipan wondering about those names that didn’t quite fit a career move.

Henry Varnum Poor, founder of S&P, surely didn’t have the most confidence-inspiring name for a financial analyst. Deutsche Bank’s CEO Christian Sewing has shown, as far as we know, no special aptitude for needlework. And, although it might not have harmed her career, I’ve never heard of Janet Yellen having to raise her voice.

Perhaps my old syndicate chums might remember a funding official in the early 2000s MTN market with possibly the greatest name of all time. Brim Stonebraker, a thoroughly nice chap, was surely not fulfilling his fate by taking up a job in finance. He should have sent his CV to Odin in an attempt to be recognised as a Norse god.

Have you encountered any other unusual names in your careers? Send them by email to someone else. I get enough junk as it is.

By Taipan
11 Feb 2021