15 Jan 2021

Professor Peter Grinyer 1935-2021 RIP

We are saddened to learn of the death of a leading light in management research and an early member of BAM. Professor Peter Grinyer passed away peacefully on 13th January 2021, having remained intellectually engaged and curious to the end. Professor Nic Beech, President of BAM, expressed his regret at the passing of someone who was both a wonderful academic and a great person.

Peter Grinyer co-founded and chaired what is now the University of St Andrews School of Management, having been chair of the Department of Economics. He served as the University's Vice Principal and Acting Principal. He also held a chair at City University, London, was a Visiting Professor at the Stern School of Business, New York University and Imperial College, London, and was an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

He is best known for his work on strategic planning, organisational renewal and managerial cognition. He was among the first to apply cross sectional statistical analysis in empirical studies in strategic planning and was a pioneer in the use of financial simulation models. His practical experience as company director of five companies and as a consultant informed both his research and his teaching. As an academic, Peter Grinyer made significant contributions to the literature, including five books and more than 60 journal articles and book chapters.

Former colleague and co-author at St Andrews, Professor Peter McKiernan writes: “Peter was a world class academic who helped lay the foundations of management education in the UK, as we know it today. He was present at many BAM conferences and gave one of the keynotes (along with Cary Cooper and Andrew Pettigrew) in the M1 lecture theatre at Warwick Business School in 1987 – BAM’s founding conference. He spoke of our joint research project on ‘Sharpbenders’.”

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, BAM’s founding President, recalls Peter as “a giant in the field but more important a real gentleman and kind person, who cared about others and mentored many.”

Professor Howard Thomas, Dean of the BAM Fellows College recalled Peter as ” A really great person whose drive and determination were real catalysts in both the growth of management and the strategy field in the UK. Above all l remember him as a warm, friendly individual with a great sense of humour and a huge enduring intellectual curiosity which inspired many of us who knew and admired him. He is a great loss to our field and will be sorely missed.”

Professor Andrew Pettigrew said: “Peter Grinyer has been a big influence on the development of our field in the UK and beyond. He was a natural intellectual boundary crosser and thereby a great person to shape strategic management in its earlier days. He was curious and open minded, but knew who he was intellectually and could bite back from his own firm base if confronted by loose thinking. This capacity for challenge was a very important contribution as standards were being set, but far to rarely publicly upheld. He was also a warm hearted and pleasant man and I am sure will be missed by many.”

We hope to stage an event in 2021 to remember his life and work.