Drucker Institute names its first director as it continues the transition from archive to ‘action tank’

Claremont Graduate University has named Rick Wartzman, author and longtime writer and editor at the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times, as director of the Drucker Institute.
The Drucker Institute was established in May 2006 with the mission of taking Peter F. Drucker’s ideas and ideals to new audiences in new ways.

“Throughout his career, Rick has demonstrated an acute understanding of social and economic trends, and has an ability to communicate extremely well,” said Ira Jackson, Dean of the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management. “We’re excited that in Rick, we have an opportunity to communicate Peter’s writings and teachings to today’s generation.”

Drucker wrote 39 books (translated into dozens of languages) and countless articles before he died in November 2005 at the age of 95. Winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he was hailed by BusinessWeek as “the most enduring management thinker of our time.” He influenced everyone from Winston Churchill to Bill Gates.

Both profound and pragmatic, Drucker believed that well-run, humanistic organizations—be they in business, government or the nonprofit sector—are the keys to a healthy society. Indeed, Drucker taught that a fundamental purpose of every institution is to look out for the common good.

“The Drucker Institute will carry forward Peter Drucker’s legacy, and Rick Wartzman is a great choice to help us build new initiatives and share messages in a cogent, enticing fashion,” said CGU President Robert Klitgaard.

Wartzman began his career in 1987 with The Wall Street Journal and over the next 15 years there held a variety of reporting and editing positions, including White House correspondent, Houston bureau chief and founding editor of the paper’s weekly California section. He joined the Los Angeles Times as business editor in 2002 and in that role helped shape “The Wal-Mart Effect,” a three-part series that won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. In 2006, Wartzman revamped the Times’ Sunday magazine, West, which under his guidance was named the best newspaper supplement in the country by the Missouri School of Journalism. He is the co-author, with Mark Arax, of the bestsellerThe King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire. His new book, Obscene in the Extreme: The Burning and Banning of The Grapes of Wrath, is due out in 2008.

“I am thrilled to be part of the Drucker Institute and look forward to working with the board and the team at CGU,” Wartzman said. “Peter’s multi-disciplinary approach—bringing in history, sociology, philosophy and more—and his ability to touch all sectors, from corporate to public to philanthropic, gives us the chance to have an impact that is at once deep and wide.”

The Institute Team

Wartzman’s appointment is just one part of the Drucker Institute’s fast-moving expansion and evolution from what was strictly an archive to a think tank and action tank. Zach First will also be joining the Institute in the fall as its assistant director. First recently received his doctorate from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

Others at the Institute include Joseph Maciariello, the Horton Professor of Management at the Drucker School and a longtime friend, colleague and collaborator of Peter Drucker’s. As part of his activities at the Institute, Maciariello is wrapping up a project in which he has turned Drucker’s vast body of work into a 14-module curriculum, soon to be made available for use by schools, business and leadership groups and more.

Drucker Institute archivist Jacob High, meanwhile, is overseeing the digitizing of Drucker’s papers and related materials, making them accessible online.

The Drucker Institute is guided by a Board of Advisors whose international flavor reflects Drucker’s global reach. The board’s members include John Bachmann, senior partner at the investment firm Edward Jones; Bob Buford, cable TV pioneer, author and chairman of the Buford Foundation; attorney Cecily Drucker, daughter of the late Peter Drucker; author, inventor and entrepreneur Doris Drucker, wife of the late Peter Drucker; Nobuhiro Iijima, president of Tokyo-based Yamazaki Baking Co.; Ira Jackson; Robert Klitgaard; KH Moon, chief executive of Yuhan-Kimberly Ltd. of South Korea; C. William Pollard, former chairman and CEO of ServiceMaster Co.; Ming Lo Shao, founder of Bright China Holding Ltd.; and Craig Wynett, general manager of Future Growth Initiatives at Procter & Gamble Co.

“I sincerely welcome Rick Wartzman, the new Director of the Drucker Institute,” Doris Drucker said. “His mandate is to get things done, to think creatively about programs, and to energize all of us who want to see Peter’s insights on management projected into the future. His hands-on approach promises that Peter’s legacy will be kept alive, and I look forward to years of growth of the Institute under his leadership.”

New Opportunities, Ongoing Initiatives

Wartzman noted that “among my first tasks” is to assemble “an ambitious slate of programming” for the Institute. “At the same time,” he added, “I am coming into a place that already has some really fantastic projects underway. We have all the excitement of a start-up, but this isn’t a blank slate, either.”

He pointed out, for example, that in late June the Institute hosted a global symposium of Drucker Society chapters. Attendees from 10 countries and across the United States gathered for three days to discuss how Drucker’s teachings could be used to help tackle some of the big issues facing society, from ensuring that more citizens are prepared to be “knowledge workers” to restoring people’s faith in public and private institutions. The group has pledged to continue its dialogue.

Other initiatives that have been launched include:

  • A program, cosponsored with the California Latino Caucus Institute, to help train newly elected public officials in the state to be more effective in their roles as policymakers and public servants.
  • A visiting scholars program, in cooperation with the Drucker School. The first two Distinguished Drucker Scholars in Residence will be Professor Jiro Nonaka of UC Berkeley and Hitotsubashi University and Charles Handy, renowned author and organizational behavior expert.
  • The $35,000 Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation, which will be presented in November in New York, in conjunction with the Leader to Leader Institute.

For more information, go to www.druckerinstitute.com.