Pierre Wack

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Biographical Information

"Pierre Wack (1922-1997) was an unconventional French oil executive who developed the use of scenario planning at Royal Dutch Shell's London headquarters in the 1970s. So successful was he that the Anglo-Dutch oil giant was able to anticipate not just one Arab-induced oil shock during that decade, but two.

"By the standards of Shell executives, Wack was wacky. He almost invariably had an incense stick burning in his office and his own favourite guru was not Peter Drucker or Douglas McGregor but a bizarre bald Russian called Georges Gurdjieff.

"Gurdjieff was a spiritual teacher who died in France in 1949. He studied Sufi mysticism in his youth and brought some of its ideas to the West. Wack visited him regularly during the second world war when Gurdjieff was based in Fontainebleau, south of Paris, today the home of INSEAD, one of Europe's leading business schools. After Gurdjieff's death, and while employed by Shell, Wack continued to spend several weeks a year meditating in India with another guru." This profile is adapted from “The Economist Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus”, by Tim Hindle (Profile Books; 322 pages; £20). [1]

Related Books

  • Art Kleiner, The Age of Heretics: A History of the Radical Thinkers Who Reinvented Corporate Management (2008).

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. economist Pierre Wack, organizational web page, accessed June 7, 2013.