ICI: Extract from 'Written in Flames'

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Extract from the pamphlet Written in Flames, published in 1987. Full reference: I-Spy Productions Written in Flames: Naming the British Ruling Class London: Hooligan Press ISBN 1869802071. Undated, but published in 1987.


Imperial Chemical Industries went through a massive shake-up in the early '80s. The directors called It –“The Holocaust”, the workforce called John Harvey-Jones, then chairman, -“the human face of the dole Queue”.

ICl's pesticides, fertilizer and plant breeding and Its Industrial chemicals are now taking second place to making drugs for the consumer market. It's also become the largest paint company In the world With Its Dulux brand. Its profits are £ 1 billion.

ICI’s semi-Japanese management style has kept Its workers fairly Quiet through reorganization and massive overseas spending. But It couldn't hush up a terrible safety record, however, with toxic leaks across Grangemouth and fire and gas across Middlesbrough In '86.

ICI was formed by several fam1Jy chemical and explosives companies merging to fight off competition from the German rivals I.G. Farben. It was I.G.. Farben which used concentration camp inmates to test out Us new chemicals under the Nazi regime.

One of ICI’s founding families, the Tennants, bought themselves Into the nobility and acquired country estates and fantasy Islands.

Following their example, former chair John Harvey-Jones has become a landowner In Herefordshire.

The new chairman of ICI is Denys Henderson, a 55 year old Scottish sol1citor, who's parents were colonial tea planters. Henderson is also a director of Barclays Bank and the agribusiness group Dalgety.

Alan Clemants, finance director, an Oxford graduate and director of Trafalgar House, who own the Cunard Line and property developments, and of Cable and Wireless, the telecom companyy.

Other top executives :