John Gideon Searle

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John Gideon Searle
Born March 18, 1901
Died 1978
Residence Winnetka, Illinois
Education University of Michigan
Occupation Businessman, philanthropist
Children Daniel C. Searle
Parent(s) Claude Howard Searle
Relatives Gideon Daniel Searle (paternal grandfather)

John Gideon "Jack" Searle (1901–1978) was an American heir, businessman and philanthropist.[1][2][3][4]


Early life[edit]

John Gideon Searle was born March 18, 1901 in Iowa.[1][2] His paternal grandfather was Gideon Daniel Searle, founder of G. D. Searle & Company in 1888.[1][4] His father, Claude Howard Searle, served as President of the family business after his grandfather's death in 1917.[1] He began working for the family business at the age of fourteen, working every summer through high school and college.[1] He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy.[1][4]


At Searle, he worked as a buyer in 1923, and then was appointed office manager and treasurer.[1] In 1931, he became Vice President and general manager of Searle, up until 1966.[1] To remain competitive during the Great Depression, he reduced its product lines and focused on successful products such as Aminophyllin, Metamucil and Dramamine.[1] He also launched the first oral contraceptive drug Enovid in 1957.[2][3] He moved its headquarters to Skokie, Illinois in 1942.[4]

In 1966, his son Daniel C. Searle became President of Searle.[1] His other son, William L. Searle, as well as his son-in-law, Wes Dixon, also worked for the company.[4]


In 1964, he set up the Searle Fund at The Chicago Community Trust.[3] The Searle Family Trust later created the Searle Scholars Program.[3][4]

He was inducted in the American National Business Hall of Fame.[1] Northwestern University and Yale University have endowed professorships named for him.[5][6] The John G. Searle Chair at the American Enterprise Institute, named in his honor, is currently held by Kevin Hassett.[7] Assistant professorships named after Searle exist in all departments at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.


He died in 1978.[1][3]