There are those in business who have always maintained that Sir John Harvey-Jones was God, to whom the revelations contained in this article will come as no surprise. The rest of us must simply reconcile ourselves to a deity who wears a Rumpole moustache and kipper ties: for, verily, the Jones works in mysterious ways exactly two years ago the BBC began to broadcast Troubleshooter, in which Our Jones walked among unbelievers, spreading the Word. Of the six companies to whom Our Jones offered salvation, three took His advice with glad heart, and were saved. When He advised the Apricot computer company to stop making hardware, they cried "Yea, verily", and stopped. Four days later, Apricot hived off its hardware business to the Japanese for £39 million, reverted to its old name of ACT and concentrated on software. In the year ended March 1991, the company's shares outperformed the stock market by 27%; profits were the best in its 27-year history. Likewise, when Our Jones told the small, family-owned, Suffolk fruit justice company, Copella, to give up its juice and follow Him, they paused not before selling out handsomely to Taunton Cider. And when Our Jones commanded the brother owners of Stoke-based Churchill Tableware to quadruple their design-spend and delegate executive responsibility, Churchill's profits rose from £400,000 to £2 million in 12 months.
His very presence brings salvation: for those who turned their hearts against Him, they, too, were saved. The Shropshire Health Authority gave Our Jones, "a large headache" and admitted defeat. But two years later, Shropshire's waiting list for major operations is down from 3,500 patients to fewer than 100, and a £1.5 million deficit replaced by neatly balanced books.
Most miraculous of all was Morgan Cars, whose family owners curtly rejected all of Our Jones's teachings but who were rewarded by a 10% upturn in their output in the year following His visitation, and a 47% growth in profits to £920,000. ("The fact that we were still there after 82 years suggest that we must have been doing something right anyway,"sniffs MD Charles Morgan). The only firm not to profit from Our Jones's teachings was, it sees, the BBC, who asked Him to troubleshoot its own top management. But even divine intervention would be unlikely to save the Beeb.