Bechtel announced today that its former President, George P. Shultz, passed in California on February 7, 2021 at the age of 100.
“We lost a great friend and trusted advisor with George’s passing,” said Brendan Bechtel, the company’s chairman and CEO. “George was a distinguished statesman, dedicated public servant, and renowned economist. He was also an accomplished businessman who helped guide Bechtel’s global expansion and its development as a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and governments.”
When Shultz first joined Bechtel in 1974 as executive vice president, he already had more experience and accomplishments at age 53 than most people achieve in a lifetime. In addition to teaching economics and business at MIT and the University of Chicago, he served as senior economist to President Eisenhower and as Secretary of Labor and Secretary of the Treasury under President Nixon.
Announcing Shultz’s hiring, then-President Steve Bechtel, Jr. accurately predicted that Bechtel would “benefit immeasurably from the counsel of a man of George’s dedication, energy, and intelligence.”
Shultz was elected president of Bechtel Corporation in 1975. Under his watch, the company embarked on many of its signature projects, including the Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Arizona, Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia, and the cleanup of Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.
In 1980, Shultz was instrumental in reorganizing the company into three main divisions—Bechtel Power, Bechtel Petroleum, and Bechtel Civil & Minerals—the precursors of today’s company organization in four global business units.
In 1982, Shultz returned to government service as Secretary of State under President Reagan. When the Reagan presidency ended, Shultz sought new challenges and found one of them in a familiar place. In 1989, he rejoined Bechtel as a director and served until April 26, 2006. He helped forge new generations of Bechtel leaders with his sound advice and invaluable experience.
Shultz passed away at his home near Stanford University, where he was a long-time Fellow at the Hoover Institution on campus. His Bechtel family extends sympathy to his wife, Charlotte Mailliard Shultz, and his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.