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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 00:17 GMT
Sir John Harvey-Jones dies at 83
Sir John Harvey-Jones
Sir John was chairman of ICI

Former chairman of chemicals firm ICI Sir John Harvey-Jones has died.

The 83-year-old died peacefully in his sleep following a long illness, his agent said.

Sir John, who was knighted for services to industry, was also known for his 1990s BBC show Troubleshooter, in which he helped struggling businesses.

As chairman of ICI from 1982 to 1987, he transformed it from a loss-making company to one making a pre-tax profit of more than 1bn.

Sir John died at Hereford County Hospital.

'Bold decisions'

The chemicals firm, which makes Dulux paint, was struggling when Sir John became chairman, prompting him to embark on a significant restructuring scheme.

Sir John became the acceptable face of capitalism through his television programme
Richard Lambert, director general, Confederation of British Industry

One of his strategies was to focus on a limited number of businesses at the firm, by selling off some of its non-core operations.

"He brought a sense of adventure and dynamism to the bureaucracy of ICI and made some bold decisions," said Richard Lambert, director general of the Confederation of British Industry.

But it was his television show, broadcast in the 1990s, that made him known by the wider public.

"He subsequently became the acceptable face of capitalism through his television programme and brought the world of business to millions in an accessible way," said Mr Lambert.

Sir John, who joined ICI as a junior manager before going on to join the board in 1973, was awarded the title of Industrialist of the Year for the third consecutive year in 1988.

Since then, however, ICI's outlook has changed significantly.

At the start of this year, Holland's Akzo Nobel announced the completion of its 8bn ($15.6bn) takeover of ICI.

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