Former oil executive Robert O. Anderson is being remembered by family and friends as a successful businessman who had an impeccable reputation in the oil industry.
Anderson, who served as chief executive officer of the Atlantic Richfield Co. for nearly two decades and later formed the Hondo Oil & Gas Co., died Dec. 2 at his home in Roswell, N.M., his family told the Roswell Daily Record. Anderson was 90.
Gov. Bill Richardson said Dec. 3 he would order flags around the state to fly at half-staff in honor of Anderson, who he described as an outstanding New Mexican who was dedicated to civic and environmental issues.
“He has left an everlasting impression on the petroleum industry and New Mexico,” the governor said.
Anderson was born in Chicago on April 13, 1917. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1939 and went on to work for the American Mineral Spirits Co. He later purchased a small oil refinery in southeastern New Mexico and bought and expanded several other refineries.
He served as chief executive officer of ARCO for 17 years. He also was chairman of the board for 21 years. During his tenure, ARCO developed one of the largest oil fields in North America.
He retired from ARCO in 1986 and formed the Hondo Oil & Gas Co. of Roswell. He served as the company’s CEO until he retired in 1994.
“He was one of the greatest businessmen I think I have ever worked with,” said Don Kendall, a former chief executive officer of PepsiCo.
U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., called Anderson a “rare individual” whose contributions went beyond energy and business.
“There is a Bible verse that says to whom much is given, from him much will be required,” Domenici said. “Robert understood this and actively parlayed his business success to education, civic and charitable causes. That will be his lasting legacy.”
Anderson sat on the board of regents at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology from 1987 to 1992 and was named as a distinguished professor in 1994.
The University of New Mexico named its business school the Robert O. Anderson School of Management in his honor.
Anderson also served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 1961 through 1964 and was a member of numerous boards, including Chase Manhattan Bank, First National Bank of Chicago, the National Petroleum Council and Pan American Airlines.
—The Associated Press