Activist investors are great dividers of opinion. For some, they are the ultimate heroes of capitalism: disciples of Adam Smith who keep companies and their boards in check by ensuring the businesses are run in the best interest of their owners. For others, they are the embodiment of a short-term, greed-driven agenda, stopping at nothing to strip well-functioning companies of their prized assets, before moving on to their next target.


The highest-profile activists are among the most revered and the most feared investors in the world. A small, elite group of investors now hold a significant influence over the world’s largest companies. And their power is growing.


Barbarians in the Boardroom gives a compelling account of how activists have managed to become so successful and influential. Through a series of forthright interviews with those at the very centre of these encounters, recounting key conflicts and their transformative aftermath, Owen Walker explains how activist investors have managed to storm Wall Street and tear down City citadels. He provides an insight into the way activists think, how they decide to target a company and how directors and executives can better work with them, rather than against them.