John Cadman

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Person.png John Cadman  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(businessman, deep politician)
John Cadman portrait.jpg
Born7 September 1877
Died31 May 1941 (Age 63)
Alma materUniversity of Durham
InterestsWinston Churchill
Director of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company who aimed for cartel control of world oil market

John Cadman, 1st Baron Cadman was a British oil executive and deep politician.


Cadman was a son of a mining supervisor James Cope Cadman (1851-1914) and his wife Betty. He studied at Armstrong College, University of Durham, where he earned a degree in geology in 1899. Since 1900 he was a fellow of the Geological Society.


During the first decade of the 20th century, Cadman worked from 1904 as an inspector in mines in Trinidad and Tobago, which at that time still belonged to the British Empire. In this capacity he in 1907 organized the joining of the oil reserves in Trinidad into the world oil trade.

From 1908 Cadman taught petroleum mining at Birmingham University, where he was the first lecturer in 1912 to offer a course on "Petroleum Engineering".

In the years before the First World War, Cadman advised the British Admiralty under the then Secretary of the Navy Winston Churchill as a member of the Admiralty Fuel Commission, on converting their ships from coal to oil as fuel. During the war he was a member of the Slade Commission, which traveled to Iran to determine the size and quality of the oil reserves located there.

In 1916 Cadman took on duties as a consultant on petroleum issues at the British Colonial Office and as a member of the Advisory Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. When the war in 1917 caused a massive oil shortage in the British Navy, Cadman was appointed director of the British Petroleum Executive.

In 1918 Cadman was promoted to Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, so that from then on he could call himself "Sir". In 1929 he was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the same order.[1]

Anglo-Persian Oil Company

In 1921 Cadman joined the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) as a technical adviser, where he quickly made a career: On March 26, 1923, Cadman was elected to the position of managing director of the APOC. In 1925, when he was appointed deputy chairman, he became a member of the APOC's senior management team. On March 27, 1927, he finally moved up to chairman of the board of APOC. He held this position until 1941.

As a supporter of the idea that overly fierce competition between large corporations was detrimental to the business or the profits of individual competitors, Cadman, as CEO of the APOC, secretly pushed the APOC to collaborate with the other two large oil companies of the time, the Royal Dutch Shell Corporation and the Standard Oil Company (later Exxon Mobile). This was finally formalized in the so-called As-Is Agreement (or 'Achnacarry Agreement'), a secret agreement between these three corporations in which they coordinated their economic activities in order to protect themselves from the costs of aggressive competition and maximize profits. The aim was to permanently have control of the world oil market in the form of an oligopoly divided between three parties in order to secure their own position by making it difficult, if not impossible, for new companies to emerge on the oil market.

When the Persian Shah canceled the APOC's production concessions in Iran in 1933, Cadman personally negotiated a new agreement with him.

In the 1930s Cadman took on senior official positions in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, where he received the rank of director.

On June 7, 1937, Cadman was raised to hereditary peer as Baron Cadman, of Silverdale in the County of Stafford, and thereby became a member of the House of Lords. In 1940 he was accepted as a Fellow of the Royal Society. The Cadman Glacier in Graham Land, Antarctica, bears his name in his honor.

Due to his leading position in the British economy, Cadman was targeted by the National Socialist police authorities in 1940 at the latest, who classified him as an important target: In the spring of 1940, the Reich Security Main Office in Berlin put him on the special wanted list GB, a directory of people who were considered by the Nazi surveillance apparatus considered particularly dangerous or important, which is why, in the event of a successful invasion and occupation of the British Isles by the Wehrmacht, they should be located and arrested with special priority by the SS special commands following the occupation troops.[2]


Event Participated in

Achnacarry AgreementA top secret 1928 agreement to form an oil cartel of all the major oil producers of the time
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