Harvey Smyth, former managing director of Pret a Manger, will run a combined PizzaExpress and Ask Central if merger goes ahead. Smyth, who was kicked out of Pret along with the company's chairman and chief executive Andrew Rolfe after they fell out with the sandwich chain's owners, has "quietly" become chief executive of PizzaExpress, the Times City Diary says. The Taking Stock column, in Financial Mail on Sunday, says shares in Restaurant Group will probably fall back if TDR, the company that owns PizzaExpress, comes up with the cash to trump its 185p offer. But if TDR fails to come up with the money, anyone who has bought Ask shares above the level of 185p will have lost their gamble. Financial Mail on Sunday 08/02/04 page 16 (Taking Stock) The Times 07/02/04 page 53 (City Diary)