George Weyerhaeuser (1926-)
2001 Paper Industry International Hall of Fame Inductee
Federal Way, Washington, U.S.A.
George Weyerhaeuser was born July 8, 1926, in Seattle, Washington. He graduated with honors from Yale University in 1949 with a bachelor of science degree in industrial administration.
He joined Weyerhaeuser Company in 1947, initially working in the woods as a logger. Then in 1949, he began working in the company’s pulp mills at Longview, Washington. He transferred to Springfield, Oregon, lumber manufacturing operations in 1951 where he progressed from foreman to assistant manager and then to wood products area manager in 1954.
In 1957, Mr. Weyerhaeuser was named assistant to the executive vice president at corporate headquarters in Tacoma, Washington. He was appointed manager of wood products in 1958 and was elected to the board of directors in 1960. He was appointed executive vice president for wood products and timberlands in 1961, followed by executive vice president for all manufacturing and timberlands operations in 1964.
In 1966, Mr. Weyerhaeuser became the company’s chief executive officer and ninth president. He served as chief executive officer until 1991. He became chairman of the board of directors in 1988 and continued in that role until his retirement in 1999.
Mr. Weyerhaeuser was an advocate for addressing environmental aspects of forest management well before it became popular. He sponsored a strong sustainable forest management ethic at Weyerhaeuser, with an emphasis on rapid replanting following harvest; improvements in forest growth and yield; and measures to protect water quality, soil productivity, and wildlife habitat. Tree farms and high-yield forestry practices that Weyerhaeuser Company pioneered have set the standard for private forest management through the forest industry.
During his career, Mr. Weyerhaeuser was a visionary in improving his company’s utilization of raw material, including use of wood residuals to manufacture composite panel products; biomass fuels; and recycled fiber for pulp and paper manufacturing. As a firm believer in the benefits of free trade, under his leadership, Weyerhaeuser Company became the leading exporter of forest products to the Pacific Rim and was the first to establish a strong forest products trade relationship with China.
Mr. Weyerhaeuser also served as a director of The Boeing Company; Chevron Corporation; and SAFECO Corporation. He was a member of The Business Council and Washington State Business Roundtable.
He and his wife, Wendy, were married on July 10, 1948. They have four daughters, Leilee, Susan, Phyllis, and Merrill; and two sons, George, Jr., and David.