David Koch of Koch Industries dies at age 79

Koch was ranked as the eleventh richest person in the world

As of June 2019, David Koch was ranked as the 11th richest person in the world, with a fortune of $48bn.
As of June 2019, David Koch was ranked as the 11th richest person in the world, with a fortune of $48bn.

Industrialist David Koch of Koch Industries has died at age 79.

“It is with great sadness that we share the news that our husband and father, David Koch, has passed away,” a statement from the family of David Koch stated.

“He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his wife and children.”

“While we mourn the loss of our hero, we remember his iconic laughter, insatiable curiosity, and gentle heart. His stories of childhood adventures enlivened our family dinners; his endless knowledge rendered him our 'walking Google’. His sensitive heart had him shed a tear at the beauty of his daughter’s ballet, and beam with pride when his son beat him at chess. We will miss the fifth link in our family,” the statement elaborated.

“Yet, we wish for all to celebrate the life and impact of this most generous and kind man. He believed he had a responsibility to a world that had given him so many opportunities to succeed. David’s philanthropic dedication to education, the arts and cancer research will have a lasting impact on innumerable lives – and that we will cherish forever,” concluded the statement from the family.

Koch was an American businessman, philanthropist, political activist, and chemical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the family business – Koch Industries – the second largest privately held company in the United States, in 1970. Koch became president of the subsidiary Koch Engineering in 1979, and became a co-owner of Koch Industries, with elder brother Charles, in 1983. He served as an executive vice president until his retirement in 2018. Upon retirement in June 2018 due to health issues, Koch received the title of director emeritus.

Koch was a libertarian. He was the 1980 Libertarian candidate for vice president of the United States and helped finance the campaign. He founded Citizens for a Sound Economy. He donated to political advocacy groups and to political campaigns.

As of June 2019, Koch was ranked as the 11th richest person in the world, with a fortune of $48bn. He contributed to several charities including Lincoln Center, Sloan Kettering, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the Dinosaur Wing at the American Museum of Natural History. The New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, home of the New York City Ballet, was renamed the David H Koch Theater in 2008 following a gift of $100mn for the renovation of the theatre. Koch was the fourth richest person in the US as of 2012, and the wealthiest resident of New York City as of 2013.

Koch was born in Wichita, Kansas, as son of Mary Clementine and Fred Chase Koch, a chemical engineer. Koch was the third of four sons, with elder brothers Frederick R Koch, Charles Koch, and nineteen-minute-younger twin Bill Koch.

Koch attended the Deerfield Academy prep school in Massachusetts, graduating in 1959. He attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning both a bachelor's (1962) and a master's degree (1963) in chemical engineering.

In 1970, Koch joined Koch Industries under his brother Charles, to work as a technical services manager. He founded the company's New York City office and in 1979 he became the president of his own division, Koch Engineering, renamed Chemical Technology Group. David's older brothers Frederick and Bill had inherited stock in Koch Industries.

In June 1983, the stakes of Frederick and Bill were bought out for $1.1bn and Charles Koch and David Koch became majority owners in the company. As of 2010, David Koch owned 42% of Koch Industries, as did his brother Charles. He held four US patents. On 5 June 2018, the company announced his retirement due to his declining health.

Koch is survived by his wife, his sons, David Jr and John, his daughter, Mary, and his brothers.

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