The history of Hunt family provides remarkable examples of both strengths and weaknesses of family business model. Sheer size of the company, characters of great egos and controversial political views always brought a lot of public attention to Hunt family. Yet the most interesting aspect, which will be investigated in this paper, is the interdependence of family and business dynamics. Based on the history of two branches of Hunt family, it will be demonstrated how changes within family can both ruin or foster business.
Fortune of the Hunt family was established by Haroldson Lafayette "H. L." Hunt, legendary oil prospector and one of the richest individuals of his time.
By trading poker winnings for oil rights, he ultimately secured title on much of the East Texas Oil Field, one of the world's largest oil deposits (see Appendix 2 “The Black Giant”).
To exploit this new field, the Hunt Oil Company was founded in 1936. Soon it grew to become the largest independent oil producer in the United States. Later H.L. Hunt began to develop large holdings in real estate, and involved in the production of consumer goods, but oil production was still a conerstone. By the time of his death in 1974 Hunt's fortune was estimated at between $2 and $3 billion (in 2011 prices).
H.L. Hunt thought he had superior genes and wanted to distribute them as widely as possible, according to a book written by one of his daughters. He had fifteen children by three wives. Many of his sons become famous on their own.
His first son, Hassie, who was expected to inherit the control of the family estate, successfully continued oil-prospecting business of his father, but eventually was lobotomized in response to severe schizophrenia.
... middle of paper ...
...r the accident, he returned to school and gave up drinking and never resumed.
Yet he never abandoned luxury lifestyle. Al III's close family members believe he is a reckless son who, with his former beauty queen wife, blew millions of dollars on a lavish lifestyle.
On many occasions, Al Jr. covered millions of personal debts of Al III and his wife Erin. The business debts were even more significant. In 1997, Al III established a chain of service stations and convenience stores. By 2002 the business, Food Fast Holdings, was in bankruptcy with debts exceeding $20 million.
List of literature:
The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes, by Bryan Burrough (Penguin Books, 2009)
Texas Rich: The Hunt Dynasty, from the Early Oil Days Through the Silver Crash
Corporate websites of Hunt Petroleum and Hunt Oil
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