June 1, 1998
Bechtel Group, Inc. Vice Chairman Don Gunther, 59, will retire to part-time status effective July 1. The announcement was made by Riley Bechtel, 46, chairman and chief executive officer.
Don Gunther To Retire From Duties As Bechtel Vice Chairman
Gunther will relinquish his full-time responsibilities as vice chairman but will remain on the Bechtel Group board of directors and work with senior management on a part-time basis. He will maintain an office in Houston. Riley Bechtel and Adrian Zaccaria, 53, president and chief operating officer, will take over the vice chairman's responsibilities.
Gunther has for years been a driving force behind Bechtel's work processes, marketing strategies, organizational structure, and leadership development efforts. "Don's achievements over his extraordinary career will serve Bechtel well into our second century," said Riley Bechtel. "He personally helped build many of our biggest signature projects, the core of our functional construction strength, some of our most important relationships, a leading petroleum and chemical industry group, and the No. 1 E&C contractor serving the U.S. and subsidiary governments, as well as energized regional organizations in two hemispheres. But, most importantly, Don's personal example of dedication, breadth and depth of experience, and team-based, results-oriented leadership will be a permanent role model for Bechtel leaders."
Gunther's career with Bechtel began in 1961, when he joined the company as a field engineer. For the next 17 years, he served with great distinction in a wide variety of field engineering, supervision, and project management assignments for Bechtel's refinery and chemical unit. A highlight of that period was Gunther's stint as project manager on the $2 billion Syncrude project in Alberta.
As the 1970s closed, Gunther was named leader of worldwide construction for refinery and chemical projects. In 1980 he was appointed manager of Bechtel's Houston office and elected a senior vice president. By 1984, now based in San Francisco, Gunther was responsible for a petroleum and chemical division and Bechtel's mining and metals operation. That same year, he was elected a director of Bechtel Group.
Following additional assignments, Gunther served as president of Bechtel Petroleum, Chemical & Industrial Company from 1988 through 1991. He was named to Bechtel's executive committee in 1989.
In January 1992, Gunther became president of Bechtel Corporation's Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Southwest Asia region. Based in London, Gunther served in that capacity until January 1995, when he was named president of Bechtel's Americas organization. He became vice chairman last July.
Gunther received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, and recently an honorary doctorate, from the University of Missouri at Rolla. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Society of Mining Engineers, the American Society of Chemical Engineers, and Theta Tau, a professional engineering society. He is a past member of the Construction Industry Institute executive committee and the British-North American Committee as well as a former member of the executive board of the Engineering and Construction Contracting Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Gunther is a member of the board of governors of the World Economic Forum, the board of directors of the United States Energy Association, the World Energy Council, and the board of directors of the U.S.-Russia Business Council. He is currently an advisor to the University of Missouri at Rolla and serves on the United Way of Texas' Gulf Coast board of directors.
Bechtel, this year celebrating its centennial, is one of the world's leading engineering, construction, management, and development companies. Revenues for 1997 totaled US$11.3 billion. Bechtel operates worldwide, serving the integrated energy, mining and metals, pipeline, civil, industrial, telecommunications, government services, and environmental markets.