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Robert W. Campbell
Robert W. Campbell's mastery of the art of turning around a company from a money pit to a profit generator earned him admiration from peers across the country. After spending nearly half a decade managing oil producers, he spent the last 18 years of his career at PanCanadian Petroleum, the last two-before his retirement-serving as chairman and chief executive officer of what was then one of the largest independent oil and gas companies in Canada.
Campbell was born in 1922 in Valentine, Nebraska. During World War II he joined the U.S. Army and served as captain with the Airborne Division until being wounded near Bastogne, Belgium. Following his recovery, he enrolled in Creighton University Law School from which he received his law degree in 1950.
He began his career in Wyoming with Shell Oil Company. Not long after, he transferred to Home Oil and moved to Calgary. He made both his new city and his new company home, staying with the latter for 19 years. He climbed the management ladder quickly and held the position of executive vice-president and director for 13 years.
During Campbell's tenure at Home Oil, the company made significant discoveries including Nevis, Swan Hills, Virginia Hills, Harmatton, Elkton, and Carstairs. He also oversaw the company's exploration programs in the North Sea and Alaska. It was during his time with Home Oil that Campbell decided to become a Canadian citizen.
In 1971, Campbell left Home Oil to join PanCanadian, which made him chairman and chief executive officer. He was instrumental in persuading colleagues at PanCanadian to form partnerships with other exploration and production companies to develop the company's vast land holdings inherited from its railway progenitor, Canadian Pacific Ltd., along the way boosting production to 70,000 barrels per day from 20,000 barrels per day.