It’s somewhat of an understatement to say that much of Donald Baldovin’s career was internationally focused.
Baldovin, who joined the Standard Oil Company (later named Amoco Corporation) as an assistant chemical engineer in 1957 and retired from its worldwide exploration business group as vice president of finance and business support in 1998, has traveled to nearly 120 countries in his professional life and free time.
A native of Hurley, Wisconsin, Baldovin enrolled at UW-Madison with the aid of the Knapp and freshman scholarships and earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1957. He earned an MBA from the University of Chicago in 1962. “The combination of chemical engineering and an MBA was instrumental in my career progression in Amoco,” says Baldovin, who often was the first to fill newly created positions at Amoco that he could tailor to the company’s needs, as well as his abilities.
With more than half his career involving overseas operations and new ventures, Baldovin travelled extensively to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East and South America. Following the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran nationalized all of Amoco’s activities in Iran, and in 1987, the U.S.-Iran Tribunal heard Amoco’s claim for compensation. When Iran decided to negotiate with Amoco rather than wait several years for the tribunal decision, Baldovin was one of the two Amoco delegates who, for the next 18 months, met several times with Iranian representatives and reached an agreement in which Iran paid $600 million in cash to Amoco. At that time, it was the largest amount that had ever been paid by a government as compensation for an expropriation.
Baldovin’s career included assignments in planning, economic evaluation, administration and finance, and he worked three times in the company’s Chicago headquarters, as well as in New York, London, Tehran, Denver and Houston offices. During his last 18 years with the company, Baldovin hired 85 MBA graduates and mentored all of the MBAs who worked in the exploration and production segment of the company. “This activity was very rewarding, as I personally witnessed their contributions to decisions and saw many of these people advance in the corporation,”. he says.
In retirement, Baldovin has continued to travel extensively. When he’s in the country, he divides his time between Denver, Colorado, and Austin, Texas, where he is an active member of the University of Texas Learning Activities for Mature People lifelong learning program. He also enjoys reading both fiction and nonfiction.