Peter E. Haas

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Peter E. Haas
BornDecember 20, 1918
DiedDecember 3, 2005(2005-12-03) (aged 86)
Other namesPete Haas
EducationUniversity of California, Berkeley (BA)
Harvard Business School (MBA)
Known forPresident and CEO, Levi Strauss & Co
Spouse(s)Josephine Baum (divorced)
Miriam Lurie
Childrenwith Baum:
--Peter E. Haas Jr.
--Margaret Haas Jones
--Michael Stern Haas (deceased)
--Ari Lurie
--Daniel Lurie
Parent(s)Elise Stern
Walter A. Haas
Family Rhoda Haas Goldman (sister)
Walter A. Haas Jr. (brother)
Simon Koshland (great-grandfather)

Peter E. Haas (December 20, 1918 – December 3, 2005)[1] was an American billionaire businessman who was president and CEO (1976–2005) and chairman (1981–1989) of Levi Strauss & Co.[2]


Haas was born to a Jewish family in San Francisco,[1] one of three children of Walter A. Haas and Elise Stern.[3] Haas was the great-grandnephew of Levi Strauss, the founder of denim manufacturer Levi Strauss & Co. and great grandson of David Stern. He attended the Deerfield Academy preparatory school in Massachusetts.[3] In 1940, he graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor's degree in economics.[1] After school, he went to work for an advertising agency in San Francisco.[3] He was rejected by the military because of poor eyesight.[4] In 1943, he graduated cum laude as a Baker Scholar from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration[1] and then worked as a welder until the end of World War II.[3] After the war, he went to work for the family company, Levi Strauss & Co, with his older brother, Walter A. Haas Jr. Under his tenure, the Levi Strauss Company became one of the first American clothing companies to racially integrate its workforce in the South prior to the U.S. civil rights movement.[1] Haas was president and member of the board of directors from 1970 to 1981. In 1976, he became president and chief executive officer, and from 1981 until 1989, he was chairman of the board. From 1989 until his death, he was chairman of the company's executive committee.[1]

From 1966 to 1975 and from 1994 to 1997, he was a trustee for the UC Berkeley Foundation.[1] Due to the fact that his son Michael was developmentally disabled, Haas was a strong supporter of San Francisco Aid for Retarded Children.[3] Haas was president of the Jewish Welfare Federation (later known as the Jewish Community Federation), which his grandfather, Abraham Haas, had helped to organize, from 1976 to 1978.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Haas was married twice. He had three children with his first wife, Kaw City, Oklahoma native Josephine Baum:[5][6] Peter E. Haas Jr., Margaret E. Haas (adopted),[1] and Michael Stern Haas (predeceased).[7] His son Peter worked for the Levi Strauss Company in various capacities[8] and was married to Joanne Christensen.[9][10] Haas also has two stepsons with his second wife, Miriam "Mimi" Lurie: Ari Lurie and Daniel Lurie.[1][11][12] Haas died in 2005. A memorial service was held at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco.[1] He passed his interest in Levi Strauss to his wife and children.[13]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 1996 – Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement[14]
  • 1996 – Berkeley Medal, the school's top honor, and also named the "Alumnus of the Year"
  • 2001 – The Haas School of Business named Haas "Business Leader of the Year" and honored him with a special Lifetime Achievement Award


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Stanford Report: "Peter Haas dead at 86; helped endow public service center" by MICHAEL PEÑA December 14, 2005
  2. ^ Bernstein, Peter; Swan, Annalyn (2008). All the Money in the World: How the Forbes 400 Make – and Spend – their Fortunes. New York, New York: Vintage. pp. 340–341. ISBN 9780307278760.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Businesswire: "Peter E. Haas, Sr., Former CEO of Levi Strauss & Co., Dies at Age 86" December 04, 2005
  4. ^ New York Times: "Peter Haas, 86, Executive During Levi Strauss Heyday, Dies" By WOLFGANG SAXON December 6, 2005
  5. ^ San Francisco Gate: "Josephine Haas (1914–2014)"
  6. ^ Glaser, Eleanor (1992). "Peter E. Haas – President, Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, 1977–1978 – Interviews Conducted by Eleanor Glaser" (PDF). Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library University of California, Berkeley. I dated Jewish girls, though I went around with non-Jewish girls, That was one of those things you went through. My first wife was not Jewish.
  7. ^ San Francisco Gate: "Levi's Bold Plan For Reorganization" by Peter Sinton February 13, 1996
  8. ^ Levi Strauss Company website: "Peter E. Haas Jr." retrieved October 12, 2014
  9. ^ San Francisco Chronicle: "Obituary – Gerald J. Christensen" July 7, 2013
  10. ^ San Francisco Chronicle: "Obituary – Lorraine M. Christensen " April 24, 2005
  11. ^ Grind TV: "High Line Festival Of Surfing Founder Ari Lurie On Uniting Surf Culture" by Kailee Bradstreet July 07, 2014
  12. ^ Haute Living Magazine: "One-on-One with Daniel Lurie, CEO of Tipping Point Community" by Kelly E. Carter January 8, 2016
  13. ^ Forbes: "Haas Family" retrieved April 5, 2017 | "Today, Peter Haas, Sr.'s widow, Mimi Haas, and his son, Peter Haas, Jr., who spent 17 years in managerial roles at the company, serve on the board of directors. Together with Peter's sister, Margaret E. Haas, and their cousin, Robert D. Haas, they own 43% of the company's shares"
  14. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.