William Beverly Murphy

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William Beverly Murphy

Birthdate: (87)
Death: 1994 (87)
Immediate Family:

Son of Stephen Waite Murphy and Hilma Amanda Anderson

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About William Beverly Murphy


William Beverly Murphy (June 19, 1907 – May 29, 1994) was a U.S. food businessman. He was the president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company between 1953 and 1972. From 1942 to 1945 he was on leave from Campbell's Soup to the War Production Board. Prior to joining Campbell's Soup he was at the A.C. Nielsen Company (1928–1938) where he is credited with conceiving the idea for the Nielsen Food Index and Nielsen Drug Index Services. Mr Murphy was also a life member emeritus of the MIT Corporation (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Mr Murphy was born in Appleton, Wisconsin and received a Bachelor's of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1928. He subsequently joined the A.C. Nielsen Company of Chicago and rose to the position of executive vice president. He joined Campbell Soup in 1938 as Assistant to General Manager. Mr Murphy was elected executive vice president of Campbell Soup in 1949 and was president and CEO from 1953 to 1972. Mr Murphy died May 29, 1994 at the age of 86 of pneumonia in a convalescent home in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

While at Campbell's Soup Company he took the corporation public and increased its brand portfolio to include Pepperidge Farm breads, cookies, and crackers, Franco-American gravies and pastas, V8 juice (vegetable), Swanson broths, and Godiva (chocolatier).

Mr Murphy was a special term member of the MIT Corporation from 1961–65 and a life member from 1965–82. He served on several MIT standing committees, including the Auditing Committee (1984–86), the Executive Committee (1966–72 and 1976–82), and the Membership Committee (1964–67). He was a member of the visiting committees for the Department of Applied Biological Sciences (1985–88), the Department of Nutrition and Food Science (1980–85 and 1974–80 as chairman), the MIT Sloan School of Management (1972–76 and 1965–66, and 1964–65 as chairman), and the School of Industrial Management (1961–63, 1963–64 as chairman and 1959–61 as a presidential nominee).

As head of Campbell Soup, Murphy's managerial style, which prioritized lean manufacturing, fostered conflict with his workers who contested his high production targets. The climax of this conflict occurred in 1968, when the AFL-CIO affiliated locals at the Campbell plants attempted to coordinate their contracts. Murphy firmly opposed the coordinated bargaining across his plants; divisions between the different locals limited their gains, and his managerial vision prevailed.

In 1980, former president and chairman of the MIT Corporation Paul Gray presented Mr. Murphy with the Henry Laurence Gantt Memorial Medal. It is awarded jointly by the American Management Associations and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for "distinguished achievement in management as a service to the community."

In addition to serving on several government advisory panels, Mr. Murphy was a director of companies including AT&T, Merck & Co., Inc., and International Paper. He also served as national chairman of Radio Free Europe in 1960–61 and as chairman of the board of trustees of the Nutrition Foundation in 1964–65.

Employment, Education, Directorships


Charitable and civic activities


Honorary degrees and awards


National organizations, Other activities



Parents-Stephen Waite and Hilma Anderson Murphy

Wife-Helen Huston Brennan

Children-Robert Blair Murphy, Ann M. Zabel, John H. Murphy, Eric S. Murphy

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William Beverly Murphy's Timeline

Age 87