Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2013 (Revised March 2014)

Goldfinger: Charles W. Engelhard Jr. and Apartheid-era South Africa

by Geoffrey Jones and Elliot R. Benton

Abstract

This case considers the strategies of Charles W. Engelhard, an American mining magnate who made large investments in apartheid-era South Africa. Engelhard was widely believed to have been the model for the James Bond villan Auric Goldfinger. During the 1950s and 1960s Engelhard, who was well-connected with the leadership of the Democratic Party in the United States including President Lyndon B. Johnson, was one of the largest American investors in that country. His close relationship with Harry Oppenheimer, the head of the Anglo-American Corporation, gave him substantial influence within the South African business system. The case starts with anti-apartheid demonstrators protesting outside a ceremony awarding him a prize in Newark, New Jersey. It provides an opportunity to debate the political and ethical responsibilities of businesses in repressive regimes, and the challenges faced by entrepreneurs operating in countries with different value systems and political regimes.

Keywords: political economy; business history; FDI; corporate social responsibility and impact; South Africa; mining; Ethics; Globalization; Government and Politics; History; Mining Industry; Africa; South Africa;

Citation:

Jones, Geoffrey, and Elliot R. Benton. "Goldfinger: Charles W. Engelhard Jr. and Apartheid-era South Africa." Harvard Business School Case 313-148, June 2013. (Revised March 2014.)