James D. Woods, former chairman, president and CEO of Baker Hughes Inc., and noted philanthropist, passed away in Houston on Feb. 4.
Woods retired from Baker Hughes in 1997, after joining Baker Oil Tools in 1955 and spending his entire career there. He was the guiding force behind the company’s 1987 merger with Hughes Tool Co. It was one of the first and largest oilfield service company mergers of that decade. Both companies were more than 100 years old at the time. Baker Hughes has since merged with GE Oil & Gas.
In 2006, Woods was awarded an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters from California State University at Fullerton, where he had graduated with a BA in finance. Earlier he had served four years in the U.S. Air Force. He recently provided funding to help build the new Cal State Fullerton School of Business and Economics, among several other donations he made to the school.
He was also active in Houston affairs, serving through the years as chairman of the Memorial Hermann Hospital System, Greater Houston YMCA and as a trustee of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, among many other organizations.
In the oil and gas industry, Woods was a past president of the Petroleum Equipment and Suppliers Association (PESA) and the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA). During his career, he served on the boards of Varco International, Itel Corp., Kroger Corp., Foster Wheeler Corp. and Complete Production Services, among other companies. Upon retiring, he became an advisor to SCF Partners, the Houston private equity firm that invests in oilfield service companies.