With great personal sadness, I pass on the news that author, thinker, scientist and enlightened executive Gerard Fairtlough died unexpectedly on Saturday in London, of an apparent heart attack while he was out walking.
Originally trained as a biochemist, he was CEO of Shell Chemicals (where he first met Napier Collyns and Peter Schwartz, later founders of Global Business Network. GBN would call on Gerard as one of their "remarkable people" to help others think about the future, and their own roles in it.
As GBN describes in its internal communication today: "Gerard left Shell to help the UK government invigorate the business environment for science and technology and then went on to practice what he preached by founding and leading Celltech, one of the UK's first major biotech companies. That experience gave Gerard the opportunity to innovate in organizational design, management, and learning, as described in his first book, Creative Compartments. In recent years he has continued to explore organizational and societal developments (e.g., his most recent book, The Three Ways fo Getting Things Done). He also started his own venture capital fund and, more recently, a publishing company, Triarchy Press, specializing in books on how organizations work - and can work better for all concerned - while making the world better in the process."
Gerard was for me, as he was for many, a mentor and friend and someone who improved my thinking and my view of life just by listening as he did, and asking the thoughtfully penetrating questions that seemed to come so naturally to him. I found his books to be uniquely helpful, and commend them to others out of respect for their content, and the man who gave them life. Many of us shall miss Gerard deeply, a measure of the mark he made while he was here.