Anderson, Robert O.
|Birthname||Robert Orville Anderson|
|born on||13 April 1917 at 05:00 (= 05:00 AM )|
|Place||Chicago, Illinois, 41n51, 87w39|
|Timezone||CST h6w (is standard time)|
|Astrology data||22°56' 05°05 Asc. 14°52'|
American entrepreneur and corporate executive, self-made oil magnate and cattle baron who took over the direction of the Atlantic Richfield Corporation as chairman of the board and moved it from a regional oil and gas refiner to one of the largest American corporations with moves unmatched in American business for longevity and unorthodoxy. He became the largest individual landholder in the United States with huge cattle ranches and other acreage. He was also known for interesting diversification activity, which included the purchase of the London "Observer" and "Harper’s," an American intellectual magazine.
Born in Chicago to a prominent banker and his wife, Anderson might be said to have cut his teeth on wheeling-dealing. His father was one of the first to extend loans to probe untapped oil reserves. Anderson went from kindergarten through high school at the laboratory school of the University of Chicago, then went on to a two-year program instituted by Robert Maynard Hutchins (the university’s chancellor) that grounded students in philosophies of Aristotle, Marx, Freud and other thinkers before they began specialized study. Anderson went on to study economics, and received his B. A. degree in 1939. After college, he worked for the American Mineral Spirits Company in Chicago.
In 1941, with a borrowed $50,000, he went to New Mexico and bought control of a rundown oil refinery. The demand of WW II helped him turn this into a profitable operation, and enabled him to expand six more refineries. In 1955 he bought the Wilshire Oil Company, which was financially bereft, and restored it to fiscal health, selling it in 1957 to Gulf Oil at a $21 million profit. In 1959, his New Mexico production company struck oil in the Empire-Abo field, a rich Southwest location.
In the early ‘60s, he diversified into the cattle business, building up a herd of 20,000 cattle, 10,000 sheep and 400 horses. His cattle holdings included the largest herd of Brangus, a selectively bred low-maintenance cross between Angus and Brahma.
In 1962, he sold Hondo Oil and Gas to the Atlantic Refining Company of Philadelphia for 500,000 shares of Atlantic stock, then valued at $36.7 million. At that point, he considered himself retired from the oil business. But, as the largest stockholder in Atlantic Refining, he was elected to its board in 1963, where he saw the company moving toward failure unless major steps were taken. In May 1965 he became chairman of the board and chief executive officer and began a partnership with president Thornton F. Bradshaw that became a nearly unmatched touchstone in American business for longevity and unorthodoxy. With a goal of complete domestic self-sufficiency, the pair in January 1968 made the biggest oil find in the history of North America at Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope. Mergers with other companies followed along with enacting strategic goals for larger conglomerates.
Beginning in 1976, Anderson further diversified Atlantic Richfield by purchasing the Observer, a London newspaper bordering on bankruptcy. In July 1980, he also saved the American literary monthly, Harper’s with a pledge of $1.5 million.
At one point, Anderson was the biggest individual landholder in the United States: His agricultural holdings included two farms, one in Roswell, New Mexico, and the other in Dell City, Texas. His ranches comprised a total of more than a million acres, almost twice the size of the state of Rhode Island. A third of his income was also invested in medical, educational and cultural institutions and other philanthropies. He was the person chiefly responsible for carrying on the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies after the death of its founder. He participated in the secret annual meetings of the Hilderberg Group, a "think tank" that included European and American businessmen, statesmen and intellectuals interested in free-world policy.
He once stated his main interests were the environment, education and the arts and their effect on the quality of life, as well as the fate of nonrenewable resources. He was also an art collector, and was vice-chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D. C.
He married the former Barbara Phelps on 25 August 1939 and they had seven children.
He died in Roswell, New Mexico on 2 December 2007.
- Social : End a program of study 1939 (B.A. degree)
- Work : Start Business 1941 (Bought oil refinery)
- Work : Start Business 1955 (Bought Wilshire Oil Co.)
- Financial : Gain significant money 1957 (Sold oil company)
- Work : Begin Major Project 1959 (N.M. company strikes oil)
- Financial : Gain significant money 1962 (Sold oil and gas company)
- Work : New Job 1963 (Board of directors, Atlantic Refining Co.)
- Work : Start Business 1976 (Purchased the London Observer)
- Work : Start Business 1980 (Purchased Harpers Magazine)
B.C. in hand from the Wilsons
- Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (Over 40 years)
- Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One, lasting)
- Family : Parenting : Kids more than 3 (Seven)
- Lifestyle : Financial : Invest/ Collectibles (Art treasures)
- Lifestyle : Financial : Invest/ Property
- Lifestyle : Financial : Wealthy (Millions)
- Lifestyle : Social Life : Collector (Art works)
- Vocation : Business : Entrepreneur (Land owner, refinery, papers)
- Vocation : Business : Top executive (Board exec)
- Vocation : Writers : Publisher/ Editor
- Vocation : Misc. : Farmer/ Rancher (Cattle, sheep, horses)