Ralph E. Bailey, former Conoco chief executive, dies at 92

By Phil Hall

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Ralph E. Bailey, the former chairman and CEO of Conoco Inc. during its years in Stamford, died on Feb. 1 at his Greenwich home. He was 92.

Born in 1924 in Pike County, Indiana, Bailey served in Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army during World War II. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1949. He joined Peabody Coal Co. as a master mechanic and rose through the ranks to become an executive vice president in 1964. The following year, he joined Consolidation Coal Co. (Consol) as vice president and was named president and CEO in 1975.

Consol was acquired by Conoco in 1965. In 1972, Conoco moved its corporate headquarters from Houston to Stamford. Bailey became chairman and CEO of Conoco in 1979 and coordinated the company’s acquisition by DuPoint in 1981. As a result of the takeover, DuPont shifted Conoco’s headquarters to Wilmington, Delaware. Bailey remained as the head of Conoco and became a DuPont vice chairman until his retirement in 1987.

After leaving DuPont, Bailey and his son Douglas ran American Bailey Corp., an investment company, and he served as chairman of Fuel Tech Inc., an air pollution control technology provider. He was also a founding director of the National Forest Foundation and a former chairman of the Environmental Task Force of the Business Roundtable. In 2015, he was inducted into the National Mining Hall of Fame for his contributions to improving the health and safety of underground and surface miners.

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About the author

Phil Hall
Phil Hall is a former United Nations-based reporter for Fairchild Broadcast News, the author of seven books, the host of the SoundCloud podcast "The Online Movie Show" and a writer with credits in The New York Times, New York Daily News and Wired.

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