UK: BACK ISSUES - OCTOBER 1984. - A decade ago, the soon-to-be-overheated '80s were warming up.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

A decade ago, the soon-to-be-overheated '80s were warming up.

Polly Peck, headed by the elusive Asil Nadir, dominated Management Today's annual profitability league with a spectacular - though, as it turned out, quite illusory - 87.4% return on capital employed.

Elsewhere, another of the decade's stars was thinking big; Gerald Ronson declared his aim of making Heron International 'the largest private company in Europe'. Now, after an enforced series of disposals, the once-diverse empire is left with only its car dealerships and property portfolio - and a mountain of debt. Ronson, however, with characteristic bravado, now talks of a comeback, with Heron or without it.

And what of the European Union, then quaintly known as the EEC? In the field of labour relations, we reported, 'the UK is radically out of step with the rest of Europe', busily 'putting obstacles in the way of the latest directive on employee information and consultation'. This, remember, came years before the Social Chapter was written or any prime minister had conceived the term 'variable geometry'.

'Such isolation may well suit the current British national appetite,' we suggested, 'but in the long term it bodes well for neither domestic nor international harmony.'

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