GKN: The Making of a Business, 1759 - 2009

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John Wiley and Sons, Feb 18, 2010 - Business & Economics - 392 pages
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The company that became GKN was forged in the first fires of the Industrial Revolution. And through the two-and-a-half centuries of its remarkable life, GKN has proved a master of Industrial Evolution. From a single blast furnace fuelling a tiny iron works on a remote Welsh hillside, GKN was built by a group of men – and one woman – into a world leader. Not just once or twice, but many times, it has changed shape and direction to hold its place at the forefront of the engineering industry.

When iron gave birth to the worldwide railway boom in the early 1800s, GKN was there. It was among the first to seize the opportunities created when steel superseded iron in the 1860s. After the First World War, GKN moved into the 20th century’s greatest new industry – automotive. Late in the century, when aerospace began to be transformed by the use of new materials, GKN was at the leading edge.

Geographically too, the company has evolved. As the balance of economic growth has shifted, from Britain in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to America, continental Western Europe and Japan in the 20th and on to the emerging powers of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe in the 21st century, the group has moved with it and frequently ahead of it. Today, the businesses that comprise GKN reach from the US to the eastern shores of Japan, from northern China and India to South Africa, Latin America and Australia. GKN is a truly global corporate citizen.

This is its remarkable story.


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Title Page Copyright Page Dedication Foreword
Iron Men and an Iron Lady
World Leader
The Steel
Keen Guest and Nettlefolds
The Empire Builder from Merthyr
Depression and Rearmament
The Fight for Steel
Shot Down
On the Front Line
Baptism of Fire
The Japanese Connection
An Era Ends
A Stake in Westland

Metal Bashing
Constant Velocity
White Heat and Cold Comfort
In Face of Strife
Farewell to a Hot Forger
A Pallet Pool Is Born
Courtroom Battle
Acquisition Drive
Parting of the Ways
Rump or Fillet
Moving South Driving East

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About the author (2010)

Andrew Lorenz is chairman of the UK Financial Communications division of FD, the Business Communications consultancy. He was previously Business Editor of The Sunday Times from 1989 to 2000. He was Business Journalist of the Year in 2000 and Manufacturing Industry Journalist of the Year in 1999 and 2000. He is the author of four previous books, including End of the Road: BMW and Rover, which he co-authored and which was listed by The Independent as one of the 10 best business books.

He is married to Helen and they have two sons, James and Harry. They live in Berkshire.

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