Very likely you have heard of John D Rockefeller, but not of Gulbenkian.


You are certainly familiar with Shell Oil and probably the Anglo Iraq Oil Co. You may be surprised to learn that both of these were engineered by Gulbenkian.

The richest man in the world in his time, Calouste Gulbenkian was arguably the smartest strategist in history. The reason you didn’t know about him is that he planned it that way.

My book, ‘Rockefeller and Gulbenkian, Two Giants who shaped our oil world’ explains how he was fiercely determined to preserve his privacy. His belief, ‘that privacy is the most precious thing money can buy’ [1]. Rockefeller had the same intention but failed.

Conducting all his business by telegraph, telephone, letter and courier Gulbenkian avoided public meetings as much as possible. His wife Nevarte was highly sociable and expected him to appear at her frequent soirees. Unless there was someone present whom he considered important, he slunk quickly around the back of the room, head down, earning himself the title of the secret millionaire.

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