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For week ended February 06, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Huntsman represents the Church wherever he goes
(BYU) NewsNet 6Feb00 P2
By Saralee Huntsman: NewsNet Staff Writer

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Jon M. Huntsman is the CEO of one of the world's largest privately held chemical companies, a generous philanthropist and president of Huntsman Corporation, with annual revenues exceeding $8 billion. Yet with all of his world acclaim, Huntsman is best known as "Grandpa" to his 41 grandchildren he generously showers with Beanie Babies. He has been known to keep the rarest ones concealed in his desk drawer.

In September, 1999, Huntsman bought four major business from Britain's largest chemical company, Imperial Chemical Industries, for an estimated $2.8 billion, according to Don Olsen, Huntsman's senior vice president of public affairs. In order to maintain this billion-dollar business, Huntsman is continually traveling around the globe, where he is an ambassador for his work as well as his religion. He is known as a generous businessman, and a man of his word.

"To many leaders of the countries I've visited, I am the only member of the church they've ever met," Huntsman said. "You never get a second chance to make a first impression, therefore, there is a heavy responsibility to be honest, faithful and a person of integrity to represent the church in the way that the prophet would."

"Jon has lost many millions of dollars because he promised someone something at one time, shook their hand, and between the time that they shook hands and the deal was closed, margins changed. He could have legally made several millions of dollars more, but because he had given his word at the time the deal was struck, he stayed with that deal and lost many tens of millions of dollars that he could have made," Olsen said.

The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) recently aired a 30-minute special on Huntsman entitled, "The Best Boss in the World." "In my interviews, the media start out negatively, but by the time I'm finished with them it's very positive," Huntsman said. "Most of the media around the world, like anyone else, respond very positively to a warm personality and by just being a good friend." "Every time I speak, I talk about the church no matter who it is I am talking to," he said. "Half my talks are always on my faith because people are always curious as to why a successful global businessman is a Mormon, and I have to explain to them that it's the anchor of my life."

Huntsman had the honor of being the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to meet and kiss the cheek of Pope John Paul II. He has contributed millions of dollars annually to an estimated 105 charities around the world. One of his biggest contributions was the $l00 million he donated in 1995 to build the Huntsman Cancer Research Institute, the largest single contribution ever made to medical study. The London Sunday Telegraph estimated that Huntsman has given approximately $275 million to charity.

The major theme in his life has been to end suffering. Huntsman has been a survivor of prostrate and mouth cancer. His wife, Karen, says, "What you see is what you get with Jon." "His family values and work ethic just come through him."

Huntsman believes that Utah and the LDS Church are inseparably connected in the media. "All we can do in the church is have members continue to keep the faith, continue to reach out to their non-member friends and continue to be an example. If they do that, the church will continue to have positive reflection and little by little, we will change the perception of the church around the world."

Huntsman keeps a toy choo-choo train in his office and calls it his Christmas train. He says he keeps it there to remind him that everyday of his life is Christmas because he has been so blessed by his Heavenly Father.


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