Tribute to Sir Peter Walters: former IEA Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Born into a humble family as the son of a police inspector, Sir Peter’s journey from Birmingham to Britain’s major corporations’ boardrooms exemplified his grit, determination, and exceptional aptitude. Throughout his remarkable career, Sir Peter combined firmness and humility, shaping industries, influencing economies, and guiding British corporate life.
Walters was a staunch supporter of the IEA’s mission. His strategic stewardship included facilitating the Institute’s freehold purchase of 2 Lord North Street and helping our turnover surpass the £1 million mark. Both considerably influenced our ability to have a robust voice in the economic dialogue. His commitment to robust intellectual discussions led to the inception of our Occasional Paper series.
Under Sir Peter’s tenure, marked by a holistic approach to economic thought leadership, the Trade and Development Unit was established, and Economic Affairs was re-launched. The IEA’s growth and the hosting of influential speakers like Czech Prime Minister Dr Vaclav Klaus for our Hayek Memorial Lecture Series were thanks to his discerning leadership.
His dedication extended beyond his official role. Sir Peter was instrumental in the expansion of the Arthur Seldon Room and the transformation of the IEA Health & Welfare Unit into CIVITAS, The Institute for the Study of Civil Society. Walters also represented the IEA at a special meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society, alongside our late founder, Lord Ralph Harris. His dedication to fostering intelligent debate led to the creation of the Beesley Lectures series in honour of our late trustee, Professor Michael Beesley.
Sir Peter Walters was a force for good within the IEA and the business and academic worlds. His influence will be felt within our walls and beyond for years to come. As the incoming Chairman of the Institute, I am again reminded that I stand on the shoulders of real giants. As we look to the future of the IEA, Sir Peter’s leadership, foresight, and commitment to our mission remain guiding lights for our endeavours. We remember him with deep respect and gratitude.