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Huntsman Corp. Founder Jon Huntsman Dies at 80

Thursday, February 8, 2018

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Jon Huntsman, founder and Chairman Emeritus of chemical company Huntsman Corporation, died Friday (Feb. 2) at his home in Salt Lake City after battling long-term health issues. He was 80 years old.

Life in the Industry

Though best known for Huntsman Corp., he entered the industry in the 1960s after an invention of his (the first polystyrene foam egg cartons) took off on an joint venture with Dow Chemical. He also founded Huntsman Container Corp. (That company eventually invented the clamshell container still seen today that holds fast-food burgers and other take-out food.)

Huntsman Corp.

Jon Huntsman, founder and Chairman Emeritus of chemical company Huntsman Corporation, died Friday (Feb. 2) at this home in Salt Lake City after battling long-term health issues. He was 80 years old.

It wasn’t until 1983 when he created the chemical company Huntsman Corp., which saw rapid growth and acquisitions that generated popularity, such as the $1.1 billion acquisition of Texaco Chemical.

In the fall of 2017, the company was on the cusp of another big business move with plans to merge with Swiss chemical firm Clariant. The $20 billion plan collapsed in October under pressure of Clariant shareholders.

Today, the Huntsman Corp. and the Venator Corporation (a subsidiary) “represent an $11 billion global manufacturer and marketer of chemicals,” according to the company.

In December, Huntsman received his Emeritus title and officially handed over the reins to his son Peter Huntsman, who had already been CEO.

"Some 10,000 Huntsman employees today mourn the loss of our founder," said Peter Huntsman.

"Dad loved to visit our sites around the world. Many of our employees knew him personally, and he knew many of them by name. All respected him deeply. They regarded my father as their personal coach, mentor and friend. While never a chemist, he knew more about human chemistry than anyone I have ever met."

Other Endeavors

In addition to his business, Huntsman (who had twice survived cancer) had also established the Huntsman Cancer Institute in 1995. More than $2 billion has gone into that organization for genetic research and treatment.

“Other than his family, his goal to eradicate cancer from the face of the earth was the greatest passion of his life,” says Mary Beckerle, Huntsman Cancer Institute director.

The Huntsman Cancer Foundation is accepting donations in Huntsman’s memory. His funeral is set for 11 a.m. Saturday (Feb. 10) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center at the University of Utah.


Tagged categories: Business management; Business matters; Huntsman; Obituaries

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