Harvey-Jones hit by stroke

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Sir John Harvey-Jones, the former chairman of ICI, has had a minor stroke. The 71-year old Sir John, whose long hair and kipper ties have become famous to millions of television viewers of his Troubleshooters programme, was afflicted just before Christmas. Described by his private office as "a very mild stroke", he has been ordered by doctors to take two months' complete rest.

"He is approaching his 72nd birthday, is supposed to be retired and has been ordered to take a good long rest", a spokeswoman said. He has been working "very, very hard", having completed another series of Troubleshooters last year.

Sir John's television appearances typically raise his mailbag threefold to more than 100 letters a week, and he feels obliged to reply to them all and even speaks directly to people who need help, the spokeswoman said. On top of that he has speaking engagements all over the place and other television work which takes him travelling all over the country. He has been told to cut down on the burden of his work when he returns.

Sir John's naval career spanned service in submarines and work as a Russian and then German interpreter. But he spent most of his working life at ICI, culminating in the chairmanship between 1982 and 1987.

Sir John became active in a number of corporate and other roles following his retirement from ICI, including chairmanships of Burns Anderson, an ill-fated network of financial advisers, the Council of the Wildfowl Trust and the board of The Economist. He gave up his last company directorship when he turned 70.