BRIAN DONALDSON has been appointed managing director of Maxol Direct, while retaining his current role as general manager for marketing and retail of the Maxol Group.In his new role, Brian will assume full responsibility for the development of Maxol’s wholly owned home heat distribution business in Northern Ireland as well as continuing to have responsibility for the group’s extensive retail network in Ireland, including all marketing , sponsorship and PR activities.

THIS YEAR’S NEIGHBOURHOOD RETAILER CONFERENCE will be headed by Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent. With the theme of ‘Independents Day’, the conference is said to reinforce the focus of the needs of the independent retailer, and will provide inspiration for the ongoing battle against the multiples. Delegates will hear new ideas from Matthew and other speaks including the head of marketing at Jaguar Racing, and president of Strasburger Enterprises, a c-store operations and consulting company in Texas, USA. For tickets to the conference in Belfast on October 15, call 028 9045 7458.

FOR FIGURES from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reveal that new car diesel registrations for 2004 are forecast to reach 33% compared to only 14% four years ago. High fuel prices are expected to increase demand even further.