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
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Membership Manager

£35 - 38k + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Guru Careers: Associate Director

£50 - 80k: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Associate Director for the Markets ...

Guru Careers: Associate Director / Director of Sound Practices

£60 - 100k: Guru Careers: Our client is looking for an Associate Director of S...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks