Magazine article The Spectator

Three New Blades, Two New Handles-It's All Change in the Palace That Was ICI's

Magazine article The Spectator

Three New Blades, Two New Handles-It's All Change in the Palace That Was ICI's

Article excerpt

I have been told that the authentic cricket bat once used by W.G. Grace is still in service. It is the original, except that over time it has had three new blades and two new handles. The authentic Imperial Chemical Industries is like that, too. It now consists of a parcel of businesses bought from Unilever, less a parcel of businesses sold to Du Pont, plus a few other businesses on which the For Sale sign is almost visible, and its paints, which it still seems to like. Pharmaceuticals have flown the nest and, as Zeneca, have outgrown ICI itself. The Millbank palace, what remains of it, has now been sold to the Prudential, and the limewood corridors where the directors roamed will now be occupied by senior vice-presidents, as tenants. Only the roundel remains, until some badge engineer gets at it, and turns his back on an imperial past by urging that the great company should now be renamed Ici plc. …

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