Britain: Lord Coal's Role

Few other positions in business can match the chairmanship of Britain's huge National Coal Board, held for six years by blunt, ebullient Baron Robens of Woldingham, 56. "Lord Coal" or "Honest Alf," as he is known to Britons, runs a mammoth operation that has a work force (420,000) twice the size of the British army, ranks No. 3 on FORTUNE'S list of the 200 biggest non-U.S. companies. Because the company has been nationalized since 1947, the N.C.B. chairman is also a political appointee serving at the pleasure of the government. So last week, when the politically charged issue of...

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