Magazine article Management Today

Goodness's Down Side

Magazine article Management Today

Goodness's Down Side

Article excerpt

The visiting of the sins of the fathers on their children has always seemed an eminently just process to Toady (an opinion that is no doubt shared by Kevin Maxwell). Worse by far is the reverse: benighted offspring having to cope with the grim inheritance of parental virtue.

Consider the unfortunate case of Mrs Jean Wellcome, last surviving relation of one Sir Henry Wellcome. Mrs Wellcome owns cats and lives near Milton Keynes, an unenviable state of affairs in anyone's book. As if this were not enough, in 1986 Mrs Wellcome bought some shares - not an automatic cause for weeping, certainly, but for the name of the company in which she bought them: Wellcome plc.

A century earlier, her late father-in-law, Sir Henry, had given up the admirable pursuit of manufacturing bullets to shoot at Red Indians in Minnesota in order to set up a pharmaceuticals business with a friend named Silas Burroughs in London. In 1937, the unnecessarily virtuous Sir Henry (by now a naturalised Briton and married to the daughter of the equally virtuous Dr Barnado) left the entire equity of the Wellcome Foundation Limited, ex-Burroughs Wellcome & Co, to a medical trust, with the entirely laudable aim of relieving human suffering. …

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