Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2003 (Revised May 2016)

Weetman Pearson and the Mexican Oil Industry (A)

by Geoffrey Jones and Lisa Bud-Freirman


Taught in the MBA Evolution of Global Business course, a business history course on the growth of multinationals. Explores the role of the British entrepreneur Weetman Pearson in developing the Mexican oil industry before 1914. Shows this entrepreneur's evolution from a domestic British builder to an international contractor, building tunnels, railroads, and harbors worldwide, including the United States and Mexico. In Mexico, where Pearson developed close relations with the dictator Porfirio Diaz, the government awarded large oil concessions. In 1910, Pearson discovered one of the world's largest oil wells, and this was used as a basis to build an integrated oil company. But by 1918—when the case ends—Pearson is considering whether to sell his investment in the face of growing political risk.

Keywords: History; Risk and Uncertainty; Non-Renewable Energy; Growth Management; Multinational Firms and Management; Entrepreneurship; Investment; Developing Countries and Economies; Energy Industry; Mexico;


Jones, Geoffrey, and Lisa Bud-Freirman. "Weetman Pearson and the Mexican Oil Industry (A)." Harvard Business School Case 804-085, November 2003. (Revised May 2016.)