Former Business School Professor Andrall E. Pearson, whose legendary business career and devotion to family served as a model to many, died at his home on March 11 in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 80 years old.
Born in Chicago on June 3, 1925, Pearson earned his bachelor of arts from the University of Southern California (USC). He attended USC along with his identical twin brother, Richard. After a stint in the Navy following graduation, the brothers attended Harvard Business School, graduating in 1947. After graduating, the Pearson twins met the Pope sisters, also identical twins, and subsequently married in a double ceremony in 1951.
After a short stay at Standard Brands, Pearson joined McKinsey & Co. While there, Pearson was recruited to PepsiCo as chief operating officer, and subsequently became the company’s president.
In 1980, he was named by Fortune Magazine as one of the “10 toughest bosses.”
Following PepsiCo, Pearson joined the faculty as a tenured professor at Harvard Business School (HBS), where he taught from 1985 to 1993 as the MBA Class of 1958 Professor of Business Administration. At Harvard, he brought his keen intellect and analytic skills to focus on general management practices. He authored a number of leading articles in the Harvard Business Review, including “Muscle-build the Organization” and “Corporate Redemption and the Seven Deadly Sins,” which are still widely distributed today. He left HBS to become a general partner of the private equity firm of Clayton, Dubilier and Rice from 1993 to 1997. There he was involved in numerous buyouts including Lexmark, Kinko’s, and Alliant Foodservice.
Pearson served on many public and nonprofit boards, including Citigroup, the May Co., TWA, YUM Brands, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the NYU Medical Center.
He was an avid collector of pre-Columbian art, an avocation he refined over the past 25 years. In 2002, his collection was exhibited at the Art Institute in Chicago. In fall 2004, it was featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Pearson is survived by Joanne Pope Pearson, his wife of 55 years; his twin brother Dick and sister-in-law Jany Pearson of Santa Barbara, Calif.; his daughter and son-in-law Jill and Alan Rappaport of Bronxville, N.Y; and two grandchildren.
A memorial service was held at the Reformed Church, Bronxville, N.Y., on March 18. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cardiovascular Research Fund at the NYU Medical Center, 560 First Ave. and 32nd St., New York, NY 10016.