He has been a lawyer, a self-made man, a business champion and a politician.
Now Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham is adding another line to his CV – TV troubleshooter.
The business guru is The New Troubleshooter in a three-part BBC2 series which starts tonight.
The first Troubleshooter launched in 1990 and featured former ICI chief Sir John Harvey-Jones helping businesses out for five series.
He advised everyone from Morgan Motor Company to Triang toys. It turned him into what one critic described as “the most famous industrialist since Isambard Kingdom Brunel”.
Now the same could happen to Lord Jones as he rides to the rescue of three small businesses, beginning with Hereford Furniture.
His challenge is to turn around the fortunes of the Midland family firm, which has a factory and shop in Hereford as well as outlets in Sutton Coldfield and Kidderminster.
It employs 40 staff and last year made losses of £80,000.
Lord Jones has five months to put them on the road to recovery.
He says: “It’s small and medium-sized businesses employing one more person that solves unemployment.
“They grow, they pay more tax, they build schools and hospitals. That’s why it’s important that Hereford Furniture does well.”
The firm is run by managing director Mike Muxworthy, whose daughter Kate is sales and marketing manager.
Lord Jones immediately identifies that they are dissipating their energies by effectively running three businesses – manufacturing, retailing and importing furniture.
He tells them to focus less on importing and to drastically cut the range of products they produce.
He also despairs of their lack of future projections and cash flow forecasts.
“Good quality, profitable businesses go bust simply because they’re not managing the cash,” he warns. “Where are the financials?”
He takes credit for the company introducing a new premium brand of furniture.
At the start of The New Troubleshooter, the voiceover declares: “Some businessmen have turned failing companies around, some have steered massive global firms, some have held power in Parliament – few have done it all.”
Lord Jones, 58, was born above his parents’ corner shop in Alvechurch and grew up selling sweets and groceries to the workers at the nearby Austin works.
He won a scholarship to Bromsgrove School and read law at University College London. He worked for 20 years at Birmingham firm Edge and Ellison in corporate finance, becoming CBI director general for six years from 2006.
Gordon Brown made him a life peer so he could take over the position of Minister of State for Trade and Investment in 2007. He resigned a year later and sits as a crossbencher in the Lords.
Lord Jones, an Aston Villa fan, now works as a business ambassador for UK Trade and Investment, as well as advising firms like JCB, Jaguar and Triumph Motorcycles.
He lives with his wife Pat in a converted farmhouse near Stratford-upon-Avon.
In the next two episodes of The New Troubleshooter, Lord Jones will advise Hawick Knitwear in Scotland and Ebac, a County Durham-based manufacturer of dehumidifiers.
The New Troubleshooter is screened tonight on BBC2 at 8pm.