Heritage Server > Our People > Fred Merrill


"Fred Merrill was born February 6, 1907, at Nephi, Utah. He attended the University of Utah, and graduated from Stanford in 1928. He began his career with Wells Fargo Bank as an investment analyst. He later was with Dean Witter & Co. and Hawaiian Trust Co. in Honolulu, and when he joined Fireman’s Fund in 1944 he was placed in charge of the investment department.

"Mr. Merrill was elected vice president of Fireman’s Fund in 1947, became executive vice president and director in 1959, and in 1962 was elected president. He was named chief executive officer in 1964 and elected chairman of the board in 1967.

"He created the first insurance holding company, in 1966, when he organized The Fund American Companies and purchased the San Francisco-based Commonwealth Group of Mutual Funds. In 1968 Mr. Merrill was instrumental in arranging for Fireman’s Fund to be acquired by American Express Co. From 1968 to 1972 he was a director and chairman of the executive committee of American Express Co.

"Mr. Merrill was a director of Del Monte Corp., AMFAC, Inc., Middle South Utilities, INTEL Corp., Wilson & Geo. Meyer & Co., and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

"He was a trustee of Stanford University, and the Fred H. Merrill Chair has been endowed in his honor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. For many years he was chairman of the board of trustees of Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, and he was the first president of the United Community of the Rosenberg Foundation, the Newhouse Foundation and the San Francisco SPCA.

"Mr. Merrill was a member of the Pacific Union Club, the Bohemian Club, the Links Club of New York and the San Francisco Golf Club. Fred Merrill retired from the Fireman’s Fund in 1972, and died nine years later. His obituary lists him as ‘one of the titans among the West Coast Olympians, a leader wherever he went, not only in business and finance, but in innovation, culture, planned philanthropy, and social life.’"

Quoted from "Mr. Merrill Dies," Southern Insurance, January, 1981, from Fireman’s Fund Archives 01-03-00-008-0001-0129]


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