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John E. Swearingen

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John E. Swearingen, (died in 2007) and was "the most powerful oil executive of his generation and a highly visible defender of the industry in the energy crisis of the 1970s...

"For two decades, Mr. Swearingen presided over Standard Oil of Indiana, the Midwest energy conglomerate, one of the companies founded after the federal government broke up the Rockefeller oil trust.

"When he took over in 1960, at the unusually young age of 41, it was a lumbering regional energy company with a big problem: low oil and gas reserves....

"Standard Oil became widely known as Amoco. It merged at the end of 1998 with British Petroleum and the successor company, BP Amoco, acquired ARCO in 2000....

"Despite his prominence as an executive, he did not become a household name until fuel shortages gripped the nation in the 1970s. By then, he led the American Petroleum Institute, which vigorously opposed the imposition of federal regulations on gasoline production and costs.

"When President Jimmy Carter pushed for energy legislation, including a windfall profits tax on oil companies, Mr. Swearingen appeared in television programs and at news conferences to rebut criticism of oil companies as profiteers. He derided the president’s plans, telling reporters that “I think we have a bunch of amateurs running the government.”

"He retired from Standard Oil in 1983. But less than a year later, he was recruited, along with the banker William Ogden, to save the Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company from insolvency. The plan the two put in place turned the bank around within a year, cutting costs, refocusing its operations on its Midwest customers and recruiting experienced directors.

"As a boss, Mr. Swearingen “was not warm and fuzzy,” said Mr. Bryan, who served with him on the board of Standard Oil and recruited him to serve as a Sara Lee director." [1]

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  1. John Swearingen, Oil Executive, Is Dead at 89, NTY, accessed June 23, 2010.