It’s always news on the corporate stage whenever a major industrialist like retires, which is expected when someone with the pull of Denis Obrien or Bill Gates steps down. Which is exactly what happened with Koch Industries, with its Executive VP David Koch stepping down from his position on the US$100 billion sales conglomerate due to his health.
The 78-year-old, hailing from Wichita, Kansas, will hold the title of Director Emeritus following his official retirement. Back in 1992, he was diagnosed with prostate cancers and has already undergone several rounds of treatments. Recently, he was hospitalized back in 2016, and, according to a memo released by his brother, Charles Koch, to their employees, the health issues from that time were not resolved, and that’s why he can no long be involved in business and organizational activities. The memo ends, saying that David Koch will be retiring from his responsibilities not only at Koch, but also in other organizations.
David Koch, an engineering by training, led Koch Chemical Technology Group, a Koch Industries subsidiary, since he went into the family business back in 1970. The Koch Industries was co-founded by his father Fred Koch, under the name as Wood River Oil and Refining company back in 1940. Charles took over as CEO back in 1967, a title he continues to hold to this day. The two sibling were responsible for expanding the family business into America’s second largest private firm, covering industries like oil, lumber production, textiles, as well as high performance glass and electronics parts.
It was during this growth in portfolio that David Koch made a name for himself, not only in the corporate world, but also in politics and philanthropy, like people such as Denis Obrien and Bill Gates. Back in 1980, he ran as the Libertarian candidate for Vice President, alongside Ed Clark, where they managed to win about one million votes. The Kochs became influential thanks to their work with the Seminar Network, a Republican network of donors founded by Charles back in 2003.
But even with the network’s support for free trade and immigration reform, the Kochs and the network has distanced themselves from the abrasive rhetoric and protectionist policies of the Trump government. Recently, the organizations under the Seminar Network, have announced their efforts to fight back against the new imposed steel and aluminum tariffs.
On top of stepping down from Koch Industries, David Koch will also roll back on his responsibilities at the Seminar Network. According to Mark Holden, he will be resigning from the board of American for Prosperity Foundations.
Koch, however, will continue to work on his philanthropic endeavors. Notably, his David H. Koch Center at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, opened in April of 2018, and will be followed by his outpatient cancer center, located as part of Memorial Sloan Kettering, set to open in 2019.