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Murphy Oil chairman to be inducted to Business Hall of Fame

Friday, February 8, 2019

By Caitlan Butler
Staff Writer

Murphy Oil Chairman Claiborne Deming will be inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame this evening at a ceremony to be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

“I’m honored,” Deming said. “It’s a great recognition.”

The Hall of Fame was established 20 years ago by the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. To date, 82 business people have been inducted to the Hall of Fame; tonight, that number will grow to 86.

Among the first group of inductees was Charles H. Murphy Jr., son of Murphy Oil founder Charles H. Murphy, Sr. The junior Murphy spent over 60 years helping to build the company into the international oil producer it is today.

Deming, Murphy Jr.’s nephew, will continue the family legacy when his portrait joins his uncle’s at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development at the Walton College, where the Hall of Fame is located.

Deming started out at Murphy Oil in their legal department in 1979, after a couple of years working at a law firm in Louisiana, he said. He was soon asked to move to the business side of the company’s operations.

“Oil is a volatile industry,” Deming said. “When I started, oil was at $100 a barrel.”

He said that during his tenure at Murphy Oil, the company made a massive oil discovery in Southeast Asia; the 1979 Iranian Revolution took place while about half of the company’s reserves were stored in the country; and the cost of oil fluctuated throughout the years.

In 1994, Deming became the chief executive officer and president of the corporation, after Murphy, Jr. retired from the position. Deming served as CEO and president for almost 15 years until his retirement in 2008. He said his time with the company was a very positive one for him.

“I’m a very lucky guy,” he said. “And I had terrific co-workers.”

Now, he said, he is taking life slower. He still serves as chairman on Murphy Oil’s Board of Directors, but he gives credit to current CEO Roger Jenkins for doing all the heavy lifting.

Deming said he will attend the induction ceremony tonight with his wife Elaine, along with their four children, son-in-law and other friends and family.

The event will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock, beginning with a reception and dinner at 5:30. The induction ceremony will follow at 6:30. Tickets are $150 per person and the event is black-tie. For more information, visit walton.uark.edu/abhf.

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or cbutler@eldoradonews.com.