Sir Peter Walters, Past President of SCI and a giant of industry, has died at the age of 92.
Sir Peter Walters, former chairman of BP, Midland Bank, and SmithKline Beecham; a Life Member of SCI and SCI President from 1978-79, has passed away at the age of 92.
Walters rose to the pinnacle of British corporate life with humility and astuteness. In 1981, at the age of 50, he became the youngest ever chairman of BP, leading the company through a transformative phase. Under his guidance, BP refocused on oil from stable sources after losing its Middle Eastern oilfields to nationalisation.
Walters orchestrated strategic moves, including BP's acquisition of Standard Oil Co of Ohio and the privatised North Sea operator Britoil. He navigated the company through a challenging £7 billion share sale during the 1987 stock market crash and later faced pressure from Downing Street to buy back part of the Kuwait Investment Office's 20% BP stake.
Walters retired in 1990, leaving a legacy of shrewd decision-making and effective delegation. His gentle demeanour and amiable nature earned him comparisons to the fictional police sergeant Dixon of Dock Green. Beyond BP, Walters held numerous prestigious positions, including deputy chairman of NatWest and HSBC Holdings.
After retiring from corporate life, he served as senior adviser to Nomura International and held various leadership roles in academic, industrial, and charitable organisations. Walters was an avid gardener and a lover of English poetry. He married twice and is survived by his second wife, Meryl Marshall, and three children.
Sir Peter Walters, knighted in 1984, will be remembered for his remarkable contributions to the business world and his lasting impact on British corporate governance.
Sir Peter Walters passed away on 11 July 2023. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues.