Robert O. Anderson

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Robert Orville Anderson (April 13, 1917 – December 2, 2007) was an American businessman who founded Atlantic Richfield Oil Co. (since 2000 part of BP) through the 1966 merger of the Atlantic and Richfield oil companies and was Arco's chairman for two decades.[1]


Anderson rescued two failing publications, The Observer, and Harper's Magazine.[2] He persuaded Arco's board to purchase the Observer in 1977 when it was nearly bankrupt, calling it "a modest bet on the survival of England." In 1980, Arco saved Harper's with a pledge of $1.5 million, which was matched by a similar amount from the MacArthur Foundation.[1]

Anderson served as chairman of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies, which convenes business executives and others to discuss world problems. He helped found the Worldwatch Institute in Washington to monitor global environmental trends, the International Institute for Environment and Development in London to study environmental and food issues and the John Muir Institute of the Environment in Davis, California.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Arco founder led firm into major civic philanthropy. 2007-12-05. . pp. B6
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robert O. Anderson, Oil Executive, Dies at 90. December 6, 2007.  "Robert O. Anderson, an oilman whose Stetson-size accomplishments included building Atlantic Richfield into an industry giant; discovering oil in Alaska; becoming America’s largest rancher, and giving generously to environmental causes, died on Sunday at his home in Roswell, N.M. He was 90."