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SIR JAMES McKINNON, the white-haired and twinkly-eyed former head of Ofgas, appears to have got away rather lightly with the news this week that he is to accept yet another job. His appointment as non-executive chairman at T Cowie, the motor group, brings his bulging jobs portfolio to eight. Not bad going when you consider he only left Ofgas in November.

But then over-indulgence seems to be a McKinnon trait. When I tracked him down to one of his offices last week (he has a nice number at Hambros with secretary, and full use of a library), he told me he likes to keep two days clear a week for other activities, which include a spot of light gardening and improving his linguistic skills.

But he seems unable to restrict himself to one language at a time. 'I am learning French and Italian at the moment,' he says, 'and trying to understand a little bit of German.' He says he already has a smattering of Spanish but would like to improve that too. Now what was that about being a jack of all trades?