Lord White `in need of miracle to survive'

Doctors are not expecting Lord White to recover from the serious lung disorder that has confined him to hospital for the past two weeks, it emerged last night.

Those close to him said yesterday that nothing short of a miracle could pull him through.

Lord White was part of one of the most successful business partnerships of post-war Britain. With Lord Hanson he built the Anglo American conglomerate, now Hanson, from nothing into Britain's 12th-largest company in 30 years.

Though Lord Hanson still hopes his colleague will make a full recovery, friends say he has privately reconciled himself to the fact that Lord White will never return to corporate life.

Even if he revives from his present unconscious condition, Lord White is likely to require highly risky transplant surgery to prolong life.

Lord White has known of his rare lung disorder, described as a fungal infection, for some years now, though characteristically he kept the seriousness of his condition even from close colleagues

Although the long-term outlook for sufferers has always in the past been fatal, Lord White harboured hopes that modern medicine and techniques would eventually clear the problem and until very recently he has been able to live an active and normal life.

He was finally struck low by the disease while on a return flight to the West Coast of the United States. Just hours before, he had agreed details of Hanson's latest blockbuster bid, a pounds 2.5bn offer for Eastern Electric.

Lord White has been taking a back seat in Hanson's affairs for some little while now.

But although the US interests he so successfully built up and ran have been left in good hands, Lord Hanson, the other half of the Anglo-American acquisition machine, will find it hard to function so effectively without the advice, support and dynamism of his trusted partner.

Lord Hanson, now 73 but still in the peak of good health, is said to be determined to stay on as chairman of Hanson for the next year or two, a decision that has won support in the City

"Inevitably, the illness has made Lord Hanson think of his own mortality as well as upset him very greatly," a friend said, "but he would like finally to bow out on a high note."

After the successes and growth of the 1980s, Hanson shares have consistently underperformed the rest of the stock market in the 1990s, falling to a new low for the year yesterday of 212.75p.

Though in part this is a reflection of stock market fashion - industrial conglomerates have long been out of favour - there have been doubts about Hanson's ability to sustain long-term earnings and dividend growth without access to the old techniques of acquisition accounting and financial engineering.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect