Charles G. Koch

Charles G Koch

Charles Koch picture

Chief Executive Officer of Koch Industries.


Charles G. Koch, in full Charles de Ganahl Koch, born November 1, 1935, an American businessman/philanthropist, is co-owner, chairman of the board, and chief executive officer of Koch Industries, based in Wichita, Kansas. Koch Industries is the second-largest privately held company by revenue in the United States according to a 2010 Forbes survey. In February 2014, Charles Koch was ranked 9th richest person in the world by Hurun Report, with an estimated net worth of $36 billion. The company oversees the production of a diverse range of items from paper towels to oil pipelines.

Charles's brother David H. Koch, is Executive Vice President of Koch Industries. Charles and David each own 42% of the conglomerate. The brothers inherited the business from their father, Fred C. Koch. Originally the business was exclusively in the oil refining and chemicals industry. But, when Charles and Fred took over they expanded Koch Industries into process and pollution control equipment and technologies, polymers and fibers, minerals, fertilizers, commodity trading and services, forest and consumer products, and ranching. Some of the products that the company supplies are well-known brands, such as Stainmaster carpet, the Lycra brand of spandex fiber, Quilted Northern tissue and Dixie Cup.

Charles Koch picture

Charles Koch was born on November 1, 1935, in Wichita, Kansas, to Mary and Fred Chase Koch. His father was an engineer turned industrialist who later founded what was to become Koch Industries. Charles has three brothers: Frederick, David, and William.

He went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to study engineering. He earned his Bachelor of Science in general engineering in 1957, and a Master of Science (M.S.) in mechanical engineering in 1958. He then completed another Master’s degree and received his M.S. in chemical engineering in 1960.

After he graduated he joined Arthur D. Little, Inc. But, this job didn't last for very long because he moved back to Wichita in 1961 to join in his father's business, which at that time was called Rock Island Oil and Refining Company. He worked very hard and was determined to expand the family business beyond the medium sized oil firm. He became the president of the business in 1967 and renamed the business Koch Industries, in his father's honor. He has been serving as Chairman of the Board and CEO ever since.

Fred Koch, the father of the 4 brothers, Frederick, Charles, and Twins David and Bill was hard-charging and usually very distant but made the boys work through their childhoods. The boys had to work milking cows, bailing hay, digging ditches, mowing lawns, and what else he could come up with. A tearful Charles was shipped off to boarding school at age 11. Also, the Koch's did not get a television set until the late 1950s.

A family feud that lasted for two-decades was finally played out before jurors in a Topeka, Kansas courtroom in 1998, in the case of Koch vs. Koch Industries. Bill and Frederick was trying to regain an interest in the business. The war grew so bitter that the brothers hired private investigators to dig up dirt on each other.

Bill and Frederick tried to gain control of Koch Industries in 1980 but the attempt failed. Charles and David won out at the end of the trial and Bill was unceremoniously fired. Bill and Frederick sold their stakes in the family oil conglomerate back to Charles and David for over $700 million.

To hear Bill Koch describe it, at least in legal briefs, his battle versus his fraternal twin, David, and older brother Charles was just business — though the blood relations, he admitted, made it more painful.

Frederick, who never got involved with company management, moved to Monaco after selling out to his brothers. The 79-year-old Yale Drama graduate now lives quietly, collecting rare books, fine art and opera manuscripts. He’s also an arts patron: he funded the full refurbishment of Shakespeare’s Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in the 1980s and has donated works to permanent collections at the Frick, Morgan and Carnegie libraries. Frederick owns properties across Europe, including an Austrian hunting lodge and French villa.

Bill, meanwhile, runs Florida-based energy company Oxbow Carbon (2011 revenues: $4 billion), which has helped the 72-year-old secure his own place on the Forbes 400, with an estimated net worth of $4 billion.

In 2007, Koch's book The Science of Success was published. The book describes his management philosophy, referred to as "Market-Based Management". He also published a book called, “Good Profit”, at the end of 2015.

For decades, Koch Industries was “the largest company you’ve never heard of,” as David Koch once characterized it. Now, Koch Industries has transformed from a nearly anonymous Midwestern oil and manufacturing company to a reviled symbol of corporate influence in politics, and security measures have become necessary. Protesters and other aggrieved citizens showed up by the bus-full. Death threats poured in for the company’s septuagenarian leaders, David and Charles Koch. Hackers attempted to infiltrate the company’s networks multiple times.

Finally there is a sense that the worst of the five-year-long siege — which has created an embattled mentality among some of the company’s top officials — is beginning to lift.

Much credit for the onset of relative calm goes to Mark Holden. The company’s top lawyer and a close adviser to its 79-year-old leader Charles Koch, Holden has helped shepherd the company through its painful transition out of the shadows and into the public eye. The litigator from Massachusetts is a fierce and loyal guard dog for the company, creator of a rapid-response team to hit back against negative portrayals in the media and political sphere.

Mr. Holden traces the crisis back to 2010, when Jane Mayer of The New Yorker published a 10,000-word piece about the Koch brothers’ under-the-radar conservative political network , which gave hundreds of millions of dollars to Republican candidates and causes. The company’s public relations team, led by Missy Cohlmia, could sense the piece was going to be negative, so Cohlmia declined to give any interviews.

Mr. Holden identifies the article as a turning point for the company. He says the blistering story by “Ms. Mayer” — an uncharacteristic formality on Holden’s part — blew them back on their heels. “It was a wake-up call,” he said. The Kochs suddenly went from near invisibility to a symbol of corporate political power run amok. Even today, Holden gets visibly worked up when he recalls the article, which he thinks was unfairly slanted against his boss, Charles.

Even after all the adversities, Koch Industries is strong and growing stronger. They have a very impressive web site at . Life made better. It’s what we do.

Koch is integral in creating the essentials that benefit daily life most: food, shelter, clothing and transportation. Yet what they do doesn’t stop there. With 100,000 employees worldwide and 60,000 strong in the U.S., they continually strive to make life even better – in innovative ways that set industry best practices for quality and responsibility.

Awards & Achievements

In 1994, he was presented with the Adam Smith Award by American Legislative Exchange Council.
In 1999, he won the Directors’ Award for Global Vision in Energy from the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In 2003, the Heritage Foundation bestowed upon him the Spirit of Justice Award.
In 2005, he won the Herman W. Lay Memorial Award by the Association of Private Enterprise Education.
In 2011, He was honored with the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership by Philanthropy Roundtable.


Philanthropic Works

Charles Koch is a renowned philanthropist and focuses on funding projects in the fields of research, policy and education which are intended to advance free-market views. He has financed the research of economists like James Buchanan and Friedrich Hayek. Till date he has donated millions to the causes he believes in. Koch Industries and the Koch family foundation donated $11.25 million to the Wichita State University in 2014.

Mr. Koch funds and supports libertarian and free-enterprise policy and advocacy organizations. In 1977 he co-founded, with Edward H. Crane and Murray Rothbard, the Cato Institute. He is a board member at the Mercatus Center, a market-oriented research think tank at George Mason University.

In 2008, Koch was included in Businessweek's list of top 50 American givers. Between 2004 and 2008, Koch gave $246 million, focusing on "libertarian causes, giving money for academic and public policy research and social welfare." Koch was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from George Mason University in recognition of his financial support "through scholarships, faculty recruitment, and research grants". A leaked 2012 fundraising plan indicated that the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation contributed $25,000 in 2011 to The Heartland Institute, an American conservative and libertarian public policy.

Koch's philanthropic activities have focused on research, policy, and educational projects intended to advance free-market views. He has underwritten scholarships and financed the research of economists such as James Buchanan and Friedrich Hayek. He has also “supported efforts to inspire at-risk young people to consider entrepreneurship, to teach American students the principles of limited government, and to connect recent graduates with market-oriented organizations, in an effort to launch their careers in public policy.”

Which goes to show that a strong willed, determined and forward thinking individual can overcome hardships and whatever problems get thrown at them and make thing come out for the better.

The Koch brothers childhood and all through their growing up things were rough for them. Not only are Charles and David well known millionaires today but also the other two brothers Fredrick and Bill. However, they did not acquire millionaire status on their own. They inherited it from their father.

They had the stamina to stand up to each other to defend their position and claim their share but, in the end Charles and David kept the business and Frederick and Bill went their own separate ways.

Even though Charles Koch didn't attain millionaire status completely on his own initiative he had the stamina and fortitude to take what he inherited and add to it. It helps me realize that no matter where I am in my life cycle I need to look forward, make plans and never say this is my destination. The way I would look at the present is that I am at the goal I had set to achieve, but, as I arrive I see that the road don't quit. It goes on and I now need to look beyond the horizon to a new stepping stone. <.p>


Dennis Roeder – Founding Member —

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