OBITUARY : Christopher Lorenz

In a career at the Financial Times that spanned over 20 years, Christopher Lorenz made a significant contribution as an interpreter and synthesiser of the theory of management and its practical applications. Unusually for a journalist, he spanned the worlds of business, economics, politics, management, design and academia and gave new ideas and insights to all of them. He had a fiercely critical approach and independent mind which cut through the flummery of "new" trends and nostrums.

After reading history at Churchill College, Cambridge, Lorenz joined the Financial Times in 1968, learning his critical competence on the company comments columns and then the foreign desk. His work took him in 1971 to Frankfurt, where he increased both the quality and quantity of the FT's German coverage at an important time in Britain's run-up to entry to the EEC; and then back to London to become the FT's first electronics correspondent. His ability to integrate and explain the interconnection of science, technology, management and business made a significant contribution to the repositioning of the FT as a world newspaper in the 1970s.

Lorenz's move to the newspaper's recently created Management Page in 1977 saw him blossom as he revelled in the complex relationships between business, management and their external environments. He transformed the page into one of the central pillars of the new-style FT by applying a more rigorous theoretical discipline to the world of management and business, and through the pioneering inclusion of critical analysis alongside case studies.

His professionalism and high ethical standards put many business people and academics under public inspection, and not all of them were appreciative at the time. However, these same qualities gave him unrivalled access to many a corporate boardroom world-wide that was completely out of bounds to others. Typical of this was his invitation to be a fly on the wall during the cor- porate restructuring of British Petroleum.

Lorenz's continuing interest in the design and processes of management, and later of the nature of trans-national organisations, led to many definitive articles which put into perspective the glib and fashionable phrases issuing from unthinking boards. He wrote one of his last essays for me - "Design as a Strategic Management Resource", in Developing Strategic Thought (1994) - and at the time of his death was interested increasingly in the growing band of researchers and practitioners differentiating between managing and directing.

A lifelong interest in design stemmed from the late 1960s, when he became intrigued with his wife Clare's work as an architect and her extensive selection of designer friends at the Architectural Association School during one of its most prolific periods. This interest continued through his work in promoting the ideas of the Design Council and was made manifest in his book The Design Dimension (1986), which was published in seven languages.

Chris Lorenz had a marked sense of the absurd and his friends will remember him as much for his and Clare's ludicrous croquet matches in their sloping garden on Highgate Hill; the hilarious mulberry-picking parties where guests were given a plastic raincoat to protect themselves from over-ripe fruit and all participants ended looking as though they had been involved in a chain-saw massacre; his lifelong obsession with Nottingham Forest football club, which he often managed to turn into an annual article in the FT; his understated love of 1960s rock and roll; and his fascination with steam engines, which had taken him to over 90 per cent of Britain's steam railways.

A great personal claim was that he had washed down and then driven the famed locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley.

Bob Garratt

Christopher Lorenz, journalist: born 6 May 1946; married 1971 Clare Bury (one son, one daughter); died London 7 February 1996.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones