George J. Harad

Chairman and chief executive officer, Boise

Nationality: American.

Born: April 24, 1944, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Education: Franklin and Marshall College, BA, 1965; Harvard Business School, MBA, 1971.

Family: Married Beverly (maiden name unknown); children: two.

Career: Boston Consulting Group, 1970–1971, staff consultant; Boise Cascade Corporation, 1971, assistant to senior vice president; 1971, assistant to vice president; Boise Cascade Realty Corporation, 1972–1976, finance manager; Boise Cascade Corporation, 1976–1980, manager, corporate development; 1980–1982, director, retirement funds and risk management; 1982–1984, vice president; 1984–1989, senior vice president and chief financial officer; 1989–1990, executive vice president and chief financial officer; 1990–1991, executive vice president, paper; 1991–1994, president and chief operating officer; 1994–1995, president and chief executive officer; 1995, chairman of the board of directors; 1995–, chairman and chief executive officer.

Awards: George F. Baker Scholar, Harvard University, 1970–1971; Frederick Roe Fellow, Harvard University, 1971; Executive Papermaker of the Year, PaperAge Magazine , 2001, 2004.

Address: Boise Corporate Headquarters, 1111 West Jefferson Street, P.O. Box 50, Boise, Idaho 83728;

■ George J. Harad advanced through the corporate structure at Boise Cascade, a major paper and wood products manufacturer, to become the company's chairman and chief executive officer in 1995. After earning an MBA with honors from Harvard Business School, Harad joined the company with an interest in pursuing a career in real estate and finance. His career path at Boise led him to several executive positions, including chief financial officer, chief operating officer, and president before he assumed the top leadership position with the company. Harad restructured Boise's management and focused the company's sales efforts on distribution rather than manufacturing.


Harad grew up in Philadelphia, where he played sandlot baseball as a youngster. He remained an active baseball player when he enrolled at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor's degree in government in 1965 and graduated magna cum laude . Harad was initially attracted to government as a career and enrolled at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University with the intention of earning a Ph.D. in political science.

Harad's plans changed while he was at Harvard, however, and he switched from his Ph.D. program to the master's program in business administration at Harvard Business School. While he was in business school, he was elected a George Baker Scholar, the highest honor given to a Harvard student prior to graduation. Harad received his MBA in 1971. While he was still enrolled at Harvard, he worked as a staff consultant at the Boston Consulting Group from 1970 to 1971.


Harad's primary interest when he graduated from Harvard was real estate and finance. He took a closer look at Boise Cascade because the company had an opening in its real estate subsidiary. "The company did everything from build single-family homes to develop high-rise buildings and resorts," Harad told PaperAge Magazine in 2001. "The fact that the subsidiary was based in Palo Alto, California, and I had endured six winters in Boston also may have had something to do with my decision [to join the company]" ( PaperAge Magazine , March 2001).

Harad first became an administrative assistant to the senior vice president for housing after he joined Boise Cascade. He worked in a variety of positions over the next 20 years. He became a finance manager for Boise's Reality Group in 1972 and held the position until 1976. That year he moved to Boise, Idaho to become the company's manager of corporate development. In 1980 he was appointed director of retirement funds and risk management. Two years later he became one of Boise's vice presidents. He continued to advance in the corporation in 1984, when he was appointed senior vice president and chief financial officer. Harad added the title of executive vice president to his resume in 1989. In 1990 he was promoted to executive vice president in the company's paper division, which accounted for about 60 percent of the company's total sales.


Boise Cascade named Harad as its president and chief operating officer in 1991. He assumed responsibility for each of the company's operations that involved paper and paper products, office supplies, and building products. He also oversaw Boise's timber resources branch. "George Harad is one of the most capable and talented executives I know," said John B. Fery, at that time the chairman and chief executive officer of Boise Cascade. "He has succeeded notably in each of the many and varied assignments he's had in 20 years with our company. He's precisely the caliber of executive that Boise Cascade needs as its chief operating officer" (PR Newswire, December 13, 1991).

Harad and his corporation endured three difficult years between 1991 and 1994. During that time, the paper industry, which had developed a reputation for instability over the years, experienced another downturn. The company reported combined losses of nearly a half billion dollars during those three years. Harad, however, stood his ground. "Both our wood products manufacturing business and our paper business are highly volatile, and that's only one of the challenges the businesses present," Harad said. "But I like a challenge. From a manager's perspective, volatility can be attractive because it creates as many opportunities as problems" ( PaperAge Magazine , March 2001).


Fery retired from Boise in 1994 after 37 years with the company. Harad's impressive performance as president and COO led to his promotion to president and chief executive officer of the company. He became the chairman and CEO of Boise in 1995. After becoming Boise's chairman, Harad initiated a series of changes in the company's management structure. "My business school training and my early career were focused on finance, and I brought that perspective with me when I became CEO," Harad said in 2001. "It seemed clear that if Boise Cascade—and our industry as a whole—were going to survive, we had to do a better job at earning our cost of capital" ( PaperAge Magazine , March 2001).

Harad's next move was to build Boise's distribution business to the extent that the company was earning more from distribution than from manufacturing. Sales continued to increase. Boise became one of the first paper products companies to embrace e-business, with customers placing as many as 11,000 orders through the company's Web site by 2001. Harad's performance at Boise earned him an award from PaperAge Magazine as Executive Papermaker of the Year in both 2001 and 2004.

As the American economy weakened during the early 2000s, however, the paper industry declined along with many others. Boise, which had officially dropped the word "Cascade" from its name in 2002, also suffered attacks from environmentalists on the basis of its timber policies. Harad was himself the target of much of the criticism since he was the company's CEO. He rebuffed the critics by pointing out repeatedly that the company adhered to environmental regulations. "Frankly they can't win on facts, so they use smear tactics," Harad said of these opponents ( Idaho Statesman , November 22, 2002).

In addition to Harad's duties at Boise, he was active in numerous professional and civic associations, including the American Forest and Paper Association, the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, the Nature Conservancy of Idaho, the Idaho Business Council, the Boise Council for Gifted/Talented Students, the Boise Public Schools Education Foundation, and the Community Youth Connection.

See also entry on Boise Cascade Corporation in International Directory of Company Histories .

sources for further information

"Boise Cascade Announces Election of President, Chief Operating Officer," PR Newswire, December 13, 1991.

Dey, Ken, "Harad Kicks Off Chamber Series," Idaho Statesman , November 22, 2002.

"Fery To Retire as Boise Cascade CEO in July," PR Newswire, April 22, 1994.

"George Harad: Executive Papermaker of the Year," PaperAge Magazine , March 2001, .

"George Harad: Executive Papermaker of the Year," PaperAge Magazine , March 2004, pp. 24–27.

—Matthew C. Cordon

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