David H. Koch Biography

(Co-owner of Koch Industries)

Birthday: May 3, 1940 (Taurus)

Born In: Wichita, Kansas, United States

David Hamilton Koch was an American businessman who was a co-owner of Koch Industries, a conglomerate that is the second-largest privately held company in the United States. He also served as the company’s executive vice president. An alumnus of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he was a professionally qualified chemical engineer. Following the completion of his education he worked for several engineering consulting firms including the Amicon Corporation, Halco International, and the Scientific Design Company. Eventually he joined the family business Koch Industries that had been founded by his father, Fred Koch, in 1940. At the time of his joining his elder brother Charles was heading the company and young David worked as a technical-services manager under him. Eventually David went on to found his company’s New York office and became the president of his own division, Koch Engineering, renamed Chemical Technology Group. The Koch family is counted amongst the wealthiest ones in the United States, and David himself was named the ninth wealthiest person in the world in 2014. He was also a very generous philanthropist and as a cancer survivor, had donated millions to medical research causes and institutions including $100 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the construction of a new research and technology facility.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: David Hamilton Koch

Died At Age: 79


Spouse/Ex-: Julia Margaret Flesher

father: Fred C. Koch

mother: Mary R. Koch

siblings: Bill Koch, Charles Koch, Frederick R. Koch

children: David Koch Jr., John Mark Koch, Mary Julia Koch

Born Country: United States

Billionaires CEOs

Died on: August 23, 2019

place of death: Southampton, New York, United States

Cause of Death: Prostate Cancer.

Ancestry: Dutch American

U.S. State: Kansas

City: Wichita, Kansas

Founder/Co-Founder: Citizens for a Sound Economy, Americans for Prosperity

More Facts

education: Massachusetts Institute Of Technology

  • 1

    What is David H. Koch known for in the business world?

    David H. Koch is known for being the co-owner and executive vice president of Koch Industries, one of the largest privately held companies in the United States.
  • 2

    How did David H. Koch contribute to philanthropy?

    David H. Koch was a well-known philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to various causes, including medical research, education, and the arts.
  • 3

    What political activities was David H. Koch involved in?

    David H. Koch was actively involved in conservative and libertarian political causes, supporting candidates and organizations that aligned with his beliefs in limited government and free-market principles.
  • 4

    How did David H. Koch impact the healthcare industry?

    David H. Koch had a significant impact on the healthcare industry through his generous donations to medical research institutions, leading to advancements in cancer research and treatment.
  • 5

    What was David H. Koch's role in promoting environmental sustainability?

    David H. Koch supported initiatives and organizations that promoted environmental sustainability, including funding projects focused on clean energy, conservation, and combating climate change.
Childhood & Early Life
David Koch was born on May 3, 1940 to Mary and Fred Chase Koch. His father was a chemical engineer cum businessman who founded the Koch Industries the same year David was born. He has three brothers: Frederick, Charles, and William.
David attended the Deerfield Academy prep school in Massachusetts, graduating in 1959. Then he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1962. He completed his Master’s degree a year later. As a college student he was also an active sportsman, a skilled player of basketball.
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After completing his education, he embarked on an engineering career and worked as a research and process design engineer at several consulting firms over the next few years. Arthur D. Little, the Amicon Corporation, Halco International, and the Scientific Design Company are some of the companies he worked for in the 1960s.
David Koch joined the family business, Koch Industries, in 1970. It was founded by his father years ago and at that time it was headed by his elder brother Charles Koch. One of his initial positions at the company was that of a technical-services manager.
Eventually David went on to found the company’s New York office and by 1979 had become the president of his own division, Koch Engineering which was later renamed Chemical Technology Group.
He developed an interest in politics and became the Libertarian Vice-Presidential candidate in the U.S. presidential election in 1980, sharing the party ticket with presidential candidate Ed Clark.
The duo promised to abolish Social Security, the Federal Reserve Board, welfare, minimum-wage laws, corporate taxes, all price supports and subsidies for agriculture and business, and received just under a million popular votes in what was the most successful Libertarian U.S. presidential campaign until that date.
Once a staunch believer in the Libertarian ideals, he broke with the Libertarian Party in 1984 when it supported eliminating all taxes. Since then he has been a Republican.
In 1984, David Koch along with his brother Charles, established Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), a conservative political group operating in the United States. The group was dedicated to free markets and called for the highest level of personal involvement in public policy activism.
David Koch was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1992 and underwent surgery, radiation and hormone therapy. Yet the cancer recurred numerous times. His personal experiences as a cancer patient motivated him to fund medical research.
Listed as one of the world's top 50 philanthropists by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, David Koch served on the boards of more than 20 non-profit corporations including the National Cancer Advisory Board of the National Cancer Institute, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, Rockefeller University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Aspen Institute, among others.
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Awards & Achievements
In 2004, he received the prestigious Corporate Citizenship Award from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
He was honored with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's Excellence in Corporate Leadership award in 2005.
He was also the recipient of Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s George Washington Award for Principled Leadership (2007).
Personal Life & Legacy
David Koch was married to Julia M. Flesher Koch and had three children.
David Koch died on 23 August 2019, at the age of 79.
Philanthropic Works
As David Koch was a cancer survivor, he donated generously to fund medical research regarding cancer. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
He established the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation which funded cancer research and a number of arts and science organizations, including the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History.
In 2007, he made a donation of $100 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the construction of a new research and technology facility to serve as the home of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.
The Koch brothers, David and Charles, provided the initial funding to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and to a related advocacy organization, Americans for Prosperity which is one of the most influential American conservative political advocacy organizations.
Facts About David H. Koch
Koch was an avid collector of wine, with an impressive collection of rare and valuable bottles.
He was a passionate supporter of the arts, donating generously to cultural institutions and funding various artistic projects.
Koch was known for his love of classical music and often attended concerts and opera performances.
Despite his vast wealth, he was said to have a frugal side, opting for simple meals and accommodations when traveling.
Koch was a skilled sailor and enjoyed spending time on his yacht, exploring the open waters.
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