Jon M Huntsman, founder of Huntsman Corporation, dies at 80
Widely regarded as one of his generation's great industrialists, Jon M Huntsman leaves behind an extraordinary legacy.
Jon M Huntsman, founder and Chairman Emeritus of Huntsman Corporation, passed away on 2 February at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Widely regarded as one of his generation’s great industrialists, Huntsman leaves behind an extraordinary legacy. He was a pioneer in the chemical industry, having founded the Huntsman Container Company in 1970, which revolutionised packaging and plastics, and was the initial predecessor to what is today known as Huntsman Corporation.
In 1974, Huntsman created the ‘clamshell’ container for fast-food sandwiches and went on to invent as many as 30 other popular products, including the first plastic plates and bowls.
In 1982, Huntsman formed Huntsman Chemical Corporation in Salt Lake City. While serving as its Chairman and CEO, he led the company through constant, rapid growth with myriad impeccably timed and well-integrated acquisitions.
Today, Huntsman Corporation and Venator Corporation (a public subsidiary of Huntsman Corporation) together represent an $11bn global manufacturer and marketer of chemicals. In December 2017, the board of directors of Huntsman Corporation named Huntsman director and chairman emeritus, and elected his son, Peter R Huntsman, chairman, president and CEO.
In his heart, Huntsman was first a philanthropist, and his life’s ambition much greater than business. His mission was to find a cure for cancer and alleviate its ravaging effects on mankind.
In 1995, he contributed $100mn to establish the Huntsman Cancer Institute, a pioneer in genetic research and treatment and today one of the world’s most renowned cancer institutes and hospitals, located in Salt Lake City. To date, over $2bn has been directed to the Huntsman Cancer Institute and Hospital, a substantial portion of which came directly from Huntsman and his wife Karen.
“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,” added Peter.
“His passion was building a great company from assets and people that others had seen less value in than he. He leaves behind a great company, but even more so, a legacy of optimism, ethical behaviour and philanthropy that will serve as his greatest accomplishments,” concluded Peter.
The Huntsman Cancer Foundation, whose sole purpose is to raise funds to support the mission of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, is accepting donations in Huntsman’s memory.