Dr Gaurav Sud

PhD Alumnus

Department of International History

English, French, German
Key Expertise
South Africa, Africa, International History, 20th Century, Business History

About me

I’m a Management Consultant and Historian with eight years’ progressive experience within consulting and business across Europe and the Middle East. Said experience served me well in completing my PhD in 2021 for which I returned to the LSE in 2019. I previously obtained an MSc with Distinction in 2010 and a BSc in 2006 from the same institution.

Thesis title

Disinvestment? Out of the question. Managing German business subsidiaries in apartheid South Africa during the tenure of P.W. Botha, 1978-1989 (winner of the 2021 Ivan-Hirst Prize by Volkswagen Heritage)

My thesis examines the crisis-management processes of German businesses that forsook disinvestment in apartheid-era South Africa during the P.W. Botha period. Said companies represented the largest foreign investors and employers in South Africa. By leveraging their neglected corporate archives as well as oral testimony by former directors, I present the voice of management to further two primary objectives. First, I reveal a hitherto ignored perspective on aspects of the apartheid debate. Second, I examine the myriad challenges they faced at home and abroad by their choice to remain in the country. The applied crisis-management strategies serve to illustrate not only the role of business as a bridgehead between South Africa and the wider world, but also question existing, often ideologically biased, academic narratives on foreign companies and apartheid. As a consequence my research holds wider, interdisciplinary and contemporary lessons that are applicable outside the examined time-period and geography for both business and academia.


Expertise Details

South Africa; Africa; International History; 20th Century; Business History; Imperialism

Honours and awards

• Shortlisted for the 2022 Coleman Prize of the Association of Business Historians (ABH)

• Selected for the German Academy of Gifted Students, 2002