Robert Horton (businessman)

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Robert Horton
Born (1939-08-18)18 August 1939
Died 30 December 2011(2011-12-30) (aged 72)
Other names Sir Robert Horton
Citizenship British
Education King's School, Canterbury, University of St Andrews, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Known for CEO of BP and Chancellor of the University of Kent

Sir Robert Horton, FRSA (18 August 1939 – 30 December 2011) was a British businessman. He was a Director of the European Advisory Council and of Emerson Electric Company.[1] He spent 30 years working for BP, formerly British Petroleum. He became Chief Executive and Chairman of the Board of BP in March 1990, but was forced out in 1992.[2]


Sir Robert was the son of William Harold Horton and Dorothy Joan Horton née Baynes. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury, University College, Dundee, then part of the University of St Andrews, but now the University of Dundee, and graduated the MIT Sloan School of Management as a Sloan Fellows in 1971.[1]

He was Chairman of the Tate Gallery Foundation 1988-92 and Business in the Arts 1988-96. He was a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts. He was Chancellor of the University of Kent from 1990–1995 and a portrait of him hangs in the Senate Building there. He was also a Governor of King's School, Canterbury 1984-2005.[1][3]


Sir Robert joined BP in 1957, and from 1960 on held a series of positions in oil supply, marketing, finance, and planning. In 1980 he became Chief Executive officer of BP Chemicals International and held that position until December 1983 when he was elected to the BP Board as a Managing Director, with responsibility for finance, planning, and the Western Hemisphere.[4] On his election as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Oil in April 1986, Horton resigned from BP. But following the merger of BP and Standard Oil in July 1987, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of BP America, Inc. As Chairman of British Petroleum in 1990, Sir Robert Horton aimed to reorganise the company in such a way as to attract and advance outstanding personnel.[5]

He was Chairman of Railtrack from 1993–1999 and led the organisation through the early years of its existence including an industrial dispute from June to September 1994.[6] He was non-executive Chairman of Betfair from 2004 to 2006.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Who's Who 2008 p.1123.
  2. ^ Prokesch, Steven (1992-06-02). "Company News: B.P.'s Chief Is Forced Out; Stock Plunges". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  3. ^ "Sir Crispin Tickell". University of Kent Newsletter 27 (6). August 2006. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  4. ^ "Sir Robert Horton". The Daily Telegraph. 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  5. ^ White, Alan F. (1992-02-01). "Organizational transformation at BP: an interview with chairman and CEO Robert Horton". AllBusiness. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  6. ^ Harper, Keith (1999-02-27). "Horton quits Railtrack". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  7. ^ "Betfair appoints new chairman". Goliath. M2 Presswire. 2004-03-25. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
Preceded by
Peter Walters
Chief Executive of BP
1990 – 1992
Succeeded by
David Simon
Academic offices
Preceded by
Lord Grimond
Chancellor of the University of Kent
Succeeded by
Sir Crispin Tickell