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Huntsman Corp. Founder Dies at Age 80

Friday, February 9, 2018

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Jon Huntsman, founder of specialty chemical firm Huntsman Corporation, died Feb. 2 at the age of 80, passing peacefully at his Salt Lake City home surrounded by family, according to the company.

Life in the Industry

Though best known for his work with Huntsman Corp., Huntsman entered the industry in the 1960s after his invention, the first polystyrene foam egg carton, took off as part of a joint venture with Dow Chemical. He then founded Huntsman Container Corp., the company that developed the clamshell container still used today to hold 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.

It wasn’t until 1983 when he created the chemical company Huntsman Corp., which saw rapid growth and acquisitions, 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 the title of Chairman Emeritus 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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