Compass Group continues to look “pretty unsteady”, says Lombard, in the Financial Times, despite chief executive Mike Bailey’s protestations at yesterday’s annual general meeting to the contrary. The newspaper says it will be hard to avoid the suspicion that the preferred candidate to replace Bailey has decided to go elsewhere if the announcement slips until the middle of the year.  Sir Roy Gardner, nominations committee chairman, said he hoped to announce a replacement by the end of next month. Lombard says business as usual will not be enough to silence, the critics in the wake of a grilling of the board by shareholders at the meeting. At one point, Sir Francis Mackay, chairman, replied: “Thank you very much, madam” to a shareholder who applauded his announcement that it would be his last annual meeting. Compass rose 2.5p to 220.75p after positive comments on current trading. Merrill Lynch said the shares looked cheap on the basis of discounted cashflow. The broker also said organic growth seemed in line and the company’s restructuring programme was on track to deliver £50m of overhead savings. Financial Times 11/02/06 page 14 (Lombard, main), page 32 (FT Markets – London) The Times 11/02/06 page 56, page 58 (Need to know), page 62, page 69 (Large Caps) The Daily Telegraph 11/02/06 page 30, page 35 (The Market)