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Former Director Pierre Vinken dies at 83
Former Excerpta Medica Director and Elsevier/Reed Elsevier Chairman Pierre Vinken passed away on Friday 4 November aged 83 years. According to his biographer, he was the most successful Dutch businessman of the final quarter of the twentieth century.
Pierre Vinken started to work at Excerpta Medica in 1957, becoming a director in 1966. When Excerpta Medica was acquired by Elsevier in 1972 he joined the Elsevier Board of Directors. He remained with Elsevier through their 1993 merger with the British company Reed International. He was responsible for transforming Elsevier into one of the most important and influential companies in the Netherlands and continued to shape their business after his retirement in 1995, serving as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Elsevier NV and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Reed Elsevier until 1999.
Though remembered in some circles as a hard-driven businessman, Pierre Vinken trained as a neurosurgeon. A passion for his specialty led him to become Editor of the Handbook of Clinical Neurology – a series which ran across 44 volumes between 1968 and 1982. By the time the series reached its conclusion it had come to represent one of the largest scientific works ever published.
Pierre Vinken also wrote extensively on the subjects of art and politics, and in the late 1990s was a driving force behind the Republican Society of the Netherlands. Until the end of his life his many publications, including influential medical works, continued to earn him high regard in specialist media circles throughout the world.