David Fairlamb, 1951-2004
BusinessWeek has lost one of its most gifted and prolific writers. David Fairlamb, our European economics correspondent and a longtime financial journalist, died on Sept. 1 in Reykjavik, after falling ill while traveling in Iceland.
David, who worked at Institutional Investor in London before joining our Frankfurt bureau in 1999, was known for his highly analytic and nuanced coverage of the European banking world, which he followed for 25 years. David spoke six languages and reported extensively on Eastern Europe. His most recent cover story -- in May -- was on Poland, when it joined the European Union.
It was a rare issue of the magazine that did not include a story by David -- on banking, insurance, or economics. He was a passionate believer in a modern Europe. His final article (on Aug. 9) argued that Europe's failure to exploit technology fully was slowing productivity gains. David was also remarkable for his willingness to help colleagues and offer advice to younger journalists. A tenacious reporter, he was once chased by a pack of dogs while investigating an illegal liquor warehouse in Calais. David loved to socialize and had an extensive network of friends around the world. He spent most weekends either in Britain, where his six children live, or in Moscow, home of his second wife, Irina Nikolskaya.
David grew up in the north of England, taking his degree in 1972 from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He studied Russian at Birmingham and in 1973-75 lectured on Russian literature at the University of Kent. He began his journalism career in 1979 at the Financial Times Group's Banker magazine. He won three awards from New York's Overseas Press Club and, in 2003, the German Marshall Fund's coveted Peter R. Weitz Prize for a story on European expansion to the East. He was a regular at the World Economic Forum in Davos, frequently moderating panels.
In addition to his wife, David leaves his parents, Doris and John; children Emma, Ian, Paula, Richard, Sheila, and Peter; and a brother, Paul. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and his many friends.