The Huntsman family's reach includes plastics, cancer research and, perhaps someday, the US presidency.
Jon M. Huntsman Sr. Photo provided by Huntsman Corporation.
1937: Jon M. Huntsman Sr. is born in Blackfoot, Idaho. The family moves to Palo Alto, where Jon meets Karen Haight, whom he marries in 1959.
1955: Jon Sr. attends the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania.
1961: Jon Sr. joins Olson Brothers, an egg company, in Los Angeles. He leads in developing the first foam plastic egg carton.
1970: Jon Sr. forms Huntsman Container Corporation with brother Blaine. Jon Sr. joins the Nixon administration in Washington.
1974: Huntsman Container Corporation creates “clamshell” container for McDonald’s Big Mac.
1976: Huntsman Container sold to Keyes Fiber Co. in a stock deal valued at $8 million.
1982: Huntsman Chemical Corporation formed in Salt Lake.
1988: Jon Sr. announced he would consider running for governor. However, when it became known, some of Huntsman Chemical's largest suppliers expressed concerns about his possible distraction from leading the company and that they would have to terminate business relationships. As Huntsman's chief executive, in the best interest of the company and his reputation, he announced in April he would not run and shifted his vote to Norm Bangerter, who appointed him to the role of Utah's Ambassador of Economic Development.
1990: Huntsman Chemical joins with the Dow Chemical to start a plastic, glass and aluminum-recycling program in U.S. National Parks.
1991: Huntsman Sr. dedicates a pre-cast concrete plant in Armenia to build 8,000 homes per year for earthquake victims.
1992: Jon Jr. appointed ambassador to Singapore.
1993: The Huntsman family establishes the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.
1994: Huntsman Corporation is formed with second-eldest son Peter R. Huntsman as C.E.O.
1998: Jon Sr. gives $50 million to The Wharton School ($40 million to Wharton and $10 million to Wharton's Huntsman program in International Studies & Business); the largest single donation ever made to a business school.
1999: Huntsman Corporation doubles in size with the acquisition of a slew of global businesses. Huntsman Cancer Institute is dedicated in Salt Lake City.
2000: Family gives $125 million to the Huntsman Cancer Institute to fund ongoing cancer research and to help construct a clinical research hospital.
2001: Huntsman Cancer Institute breaks ground for state-of-the-art cancer research hospital. Phase II of Institute to provide integrated care.
2001: Jon Jr. was appointed Deputy U.S. Trade Ambassador by President George W. Bush.
2004: Jon Jr. elected Utah governor.
2009: Jon Huntsman Jr. appointed ambassador to China.
2010: 40th Anniversary of first Huntsman business.
2011: Jon Huntsman Jr. unsuccessfuly runs for GOP presidential nomination.
2013: Jon Jr. builds on his foreign policy credentials and fuels specuation on a 2016 presidential run.
Photo courtesy of Hunstman Corporation.
After a political career that included serving as Utah governor and U.S. Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman Jr. turned to the ultimate prize in 2012—the American presidency. When his bid for the Republican presidential nomination stalled, Jon Jr. immediately began calling for a more moderate GOP. His determination mirrors that of Huntsman Sr. who had run for governor of Utah in 1988.
“I don’t think the American public really had a chance to get to know him, to see his wisdom,” says Huntsman Sr. of his son.
In late May, Huntsman Jr. launched the Utah-based Red Rock Political Action Committee, to allow him to travel across the country and influence political conversations in local elections. Not surprisingly, his father is supportive of his son’s efforts to change the GOP. “It’s difficult in today’s world to be a straight shooter and become successful in politics,” Huntsman Sr. says. “Some candidates shift with the wind, as we saw a lot in this past election.”
Jon Sr. is all for another run at the presidency, arguing voters never got to know his son. “One thing Jon created was a spirit of openness—trying to respect one another.”