Pearson was started by an entrepreneurial contractor in Yorkshire in 1844. Over
the last century and a half its assets and its businesses have been built up by
descendants of that adventurer and then by others they brought in as the
enterprise grew. It has had its high periods and its low periods. It has gone
through digging railroad tunnels and drilling for oil and starting airlines and
providing lighting for the public monuments of Athens. It has made wine and fine
china and amusements in wax. And for nearly a century it has been a devoted and courageous publisher.
But whatever it has done, its owners and managers have always prided themselves
in the thought that the assets of the company were to be improved in value and
passed on to the shareholders of the next day. And that is still our aim today.
We know that, in order to do our part for the enterprise, we have to make the
decisions that will make the company more valuable as it passes down the line
than it was when we took it over. That means we have to invest our capital in
ventures that will bring in more value than they cost and that will endure. And
that is what we aim to do in 2003 and well beyond.