CBA's Narev gets in the soup line

The Commonwealth Bank chief executive, Ian Narev, has become the highest-profile signing for the event where company bosses are handed a beanie, piece of cardboard, cup of soup and some cold concrete bedding for the night.

The Commonwealth Bank chief executive, Ian Narev, has become the highest-profile signing for the event where company bosses are handed a beanie, piece of cardboard, cup of soup and some cold concrete bedding for the night.

Narev pushed the number of entrants in this year's Vinnies CEO Sleepout close to 700 on Friday. The organisers hope to raise $5 million.

Among other highly-paid corporate types already signed up for the Sydney event on June 21 are the Transfield Services boss, Peter Goode, the former Australian Vintage and now ISS Australia chief executive, Dane Hudson, the APN News & Media chief, Brett Chenoweth, the non-Michael Easson part of EG Funds Management, Adam Geha, the Trust Company's John Atkin, BT's Paul Migliorini and the head comrade of Unions NSW, Mark Lennon.

Among the silvertails at the Melbourne event will be the Southern Cross Austereo chief, Rhys Holleran, and the UBS banker Jonathan Mant, who will be able to share some warmth with his wife and federal member for Higgins, Kelly O'Dwyer.

Among some in the huddle at the Brisbane event will be the Domino's Pizza boss, Don Meij, the Ord Minnett executive chairman, Karl Morris, and the federal Labor backbencher Kevin Rudd.

In Perth, the Atlas Iron chief and ex-brickie's labourer David Flanagan will be sipping on some instant soup alongside the Emeco boss and ex-Wesfarmer Keith Gordon.

ON THE MARK

It is not too often you see a marriage that appears to be tied into an initial public offering. The Facebook founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, told the 13.8 million subscribers to his Facebook page over the weekend that he had married his long-time girlfriend Priscilla Chan.

The wedding came a day after Zuckerberg rang the opening bell for the Nasdaq market in typical Facebook fashion. He did it remotely from his California office to celebrate his company's public listing. The 28-year-old Zuckerberg, however, married Chan in person and even included a wedding snap on his Facebook timeline.

LOTS IN A NAME

The Fijian government provided its explanation last week for the reason for changing the name of its Qantas part-owned national carrier from Air Pacific to Fiji Airways.

"The Fijian brand conjures up different images. If you go to Europe and you mention Fiji, people will never respond to you in a negative fashion even though they may have never seen the map of Fiji," the country's Attorney-General and Minister for Civil Aviation, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said in a statement. The airline does not even fly to Europe.

In the same statement, the airline's chief executive, Dave Pflieger, said: "In short, despite our 42 years of efforts to market the name 'Air Pacific', Fiji is the word that resonates and motivates people to find us."

THE HOUR IS NIGH

Webinar. They are favoured by seekers of quick dollars around the world, used to flog everything from property to business leadership classes to investment reports named after Greek bath-time interjections.

But now, a challenger appears: the Australian Securities Exchange.

The ASX has decided to ditch its series of lunchtime investor-hour presentations, in which brokers, institutional investors and economists share their wisdom with mum and dad punters.

The move will rob investors of personal contact with speakers, the Australian Shareholders' Association talks convener John Upton said. "It'll just be a guy sitting there delivering his spiel to a screen, a bit like an AGM or something."

The ASX said the events have become less popular and canning them will not save any money, as it will continue to spend the same amount on webinar presentations.

But if CBD's webinar-choked email inbox is any guide, it's a brave move.

The stock-pickers will now face stiff competition, going head-to-head with software vendors spruiking photo sales systems, bankers talking up "the value that private equity firms bring to their portfolio companies" and, most riveting of all, spreadsheet nerds who promise to bestow the ability to "use SUBTOTAL for totals to avoid missing or double-counting numbers".

The final investor hour in front of a live audience is to be held in Sydney next month.

Got a tip? srochfort@fairfax.com.au

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