Peter Drucker, revered as the father of modern management for numerous books and articles stressing innovation, entrepreneurship and strategies for dealing with a changing world, has died. He was 95.
The Vienna-born Drucker died on Friday of natural causes at his home in Claremont, east of Los Angeles, said Bryan Schneider, a spokesman for Claremont Graduate University, where Drucker taught.
"He is purely and simply the most important developer of effective management and of effective public policy in the 20th century," former US House speaker Newt Gingrich said on Friday. "In the more than 30 years that I've studied him, talked with him and learned from him, he has been invaluable and irreplaceable."
Drucker has been considered a management visionary for his recognition that dedicated employees are key to the success of any corporation, and that marketing and innovation should come before worries about finances.
His ability to explain his principles in plain language helped them resonate with ordinary managers, former Intel Corp chairman Andy Grove said.
"Consequently, simple statements from him have influenced untold numbers of daily actions. They did mine over decades," Grove said.
Drucker championed concepts such as management by objective and decentralization, and his motivational techniques have been used by some of the biggest firms in corporate America, including Intel and Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Business Week magazine hailed Drucker as "the most enduring management thinker of our time," and Forbes magazine featured him on a 1997 cover under the headline: "Still the Youngest Mind."
US President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
In the early 1940s, Drucker was invited to study General Motors' inner workings, an experience that led to his 1946 management book, Concept of the Corporation. He went on to write more than 30 books and start a foundation for non-profit management.
"He's very much an intellectual leader, and that's not common," Harvard Business School professor Quinn Mills said.
Drucker showed a knack for identifying sea changes in business and economics years in advance. He foresaw the emergence of a new type of worker whose occupation would be based on knowledge, not physical labor or management.
After the big stock market decline of October 1987, Drucker said he had expected it, "and not for economic reasons, but for aesthetic and moral reasons."
"The last two years were just too disgusting a spectacle," Drucker said. "Pigs gorging themselves at the trough are always a disgusting spectacle, and you know it won't last long."
Drucker termed Wall Street brokers "a totally non-productive crowd which is out for a lot of easy money."
"When you reach the point where the traders make more money than investors, you know it's not going to last," he said.
"The average duration of a soap bubble is known. It's about 26 seconds," Drucker said.
"For speculative crazes, it's about 18 months," he said.
Drucker was born in Vienna, and educated there and in the UK. He received a doctorate in international law while working as a reporter in Frankfurt, Germany. He remained in Germany until 1933, when one of his essays was banned by the Nazi regime. For a time, he worked as an economist for a bank in London, then moved to the US in 1937.