Schumpeter: Munk’s tale

Illustration of a man with a golden hat

YOU can’t be right all the time. In a 1995 profile of Peter Munk, the founder of Barrick Gold, a mining giant, The Economist concluded that the biggest problem facing the company was who would replace him as boss. Mr Munk will at last step down as the company’s chairman at the annual meeting on April 30th, aged 86. In the same profile we fretted that by spending $500m on a property company, Mr Munk risked ending up in the same boat as two fellow Canadian tycoons, Paul Reichmann and Robert Campeau, who had gone spectacularly bankrupt. In 2006 Mr Munk had the last laugh, selling the company for $9 billion.There were lots of reasons why our 1995 profile was so pessimistic. Mr Munk was already 67. The mining industry is an unforgiving one. Diversifying into property is a well-known road to ruin. And Mr Munk had a catalogue of failures to his name. But we forgot one vital thing: his ability to turn failure into success and threat into opportunity.Failure is a hot topic in American business at the moment. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs argue that the valley’s success is its tolerance for failure. Historians…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/business/21600995-how-former-refugee-nazis-made-and-lost-several-fortunes-munks-tale?fsrc=rss|bus

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