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University of California Berkeley 



Regional Oral History Office University of California 

The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California 



Walter A. Haas, Jr. 

LEVI STRAUSS & CO. EXECUTIVE, BAY AREA PHILANTHROPIST, 
AND OWNER OF THE OAKLAND ATHLETICS 



With an Introduction by 
Roger W. Heyns 



Interviews Conducted by 

Ann Lage 

in 1994 



Copyright 1995 by The Regents of the University of California 



Since 1954 the Regional Oral History Office has been interviewing leading 
participants in or well-placed witnesses to major events in the development of 
Northern California, the West, and the Nation. Oral history is a modern research 
technique involving an interviewee and an informed interviewer in spontaneous 
conversation. The taped record is transcribed, lightly edited for continuity and 
clarity, and reviewed by the interviewee. The resulting manuscript is typed in 
final form, indexed, bound with photographs and illustrative materials, and 
placed in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, and 
other research collections for scholarly use. Because it is primary material, 
oral history is not intended to present the final, verified, or complete 
narrative of events. It is a spoken account, offered by the interviewee in 
response to questioning, and as such it is reflective, partisan, deeply involved, 
and irreplaceable. 



************************************ 



All uses of this manuscript are covered by a legal agreement 
between The Regents of the University of California and Walter A. 
Haas, Jr. dated December 8, 1994. The manuscript is thereby made 
available for research purposes. All literary rights in the 
manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to The 
Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. No part 
of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written 
permission of the Director of The Bancroft Library of the University 
of California, Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication should be 
addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 486 Library, 
University of California, Berkeley 94720, and should include 
identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated 
use of the passages, and identification of the user. The legal 
agreement with Walter A. Haas, Jr. requires that he be notified of 
the request and allowed thirty days in which to respond. 

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: 



Walter A. Haas, Jr., "Levi Strauss & Co. 
Executive, Bay Area Philanthropist, and 
Owner of the Oakland Athletics," an oral 
history conducted in 1994 by Ann Lage, 
Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft 
Library, University of California, 
Berkeley, 1995. 



Copy no. 




Walter A. Haas, Jr., 1988. 



Cataloging information 



HAAS, Walter A., Jr. (b. 1916) Corporate executive 

Levi Strauss & Co. Executive. Bay Area Philanthropist, and Owner of the 
Oakland Athletics. 1995, viii, 299 pp. 

Haas family background; youth, education, friendships in San Francisco; 
student experiences at University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard 
Business School, 1930s, fellow student Robert McNamara; executive with Levi 
Strauss & Co., 1939-1976, chairman of the board, 1971-1986: discusses 
critical decisions on personnel and management practices, expanding 
marketing and manufacturing, international division, public offering of 
stock, diversification, other major executives, including brother Peter 
Haas and son Robert D. Haas; fostering corporate social responsibility at 
Levi Strauss & Co. and as regional chairman, National Alliance of 
Businessmen, 1960s; service on corporate, foundation, and government boards 
and commissions, including Trilateral Commission (1980-1988), Ford 
Foundation (1970-1982); San Francisco Bay Area philanthropy and community 
service: Season of Sharing Fund, Hunters Point Boys' Club, the Guardsmen; 
Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund; support for University of California, 
Berkeley, athletic programs, Haas School of Business; pleasures of family 
life and outdoor recreation; San Francisco clubs: Bohemian, Pacific Union, 
the Family, and reflections on club functions and restrictive membership; 
ownership of Oakland Athletics baseball team, 1980-1995: management team of 
Walter J. Haas, Roy Eisenhardt, Sandy Alderson, Tony La Russa, players, 
economics of baseball. 
Appended interview with executive assistant Rita Guiney. 

Introduction by Roger Heyns, Chancellor, University of California, 
Berkeley, 1965-1971; President, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, 1977- 
1992. 

Interviewed 1994 by Ann Lage. Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft 
Library, University of California, Berkeley. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS- -Walter A. Haas, Jr. 

INTRODUCTION- -by Roger Heyns i 

INTERVIEW HISTORY- -by Ann Lage iv 

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION viii 



I FAMILY BACKGROUND 1 

Overview: "A Most Wonderful Life" 1 

Parents and Grandparents 6 

Homes and Schools and Tennis 8 

The Chicken Business and Other Stories 13 

Religion and Responsibility 15 

Meeting President Herbert Hoover 18 
Campfire Stories: Three Generations of Fishing and Packing Trips 19 

The Culture Side: Music and Menuhin, and Art and Rivera 21 

Ansel Adams, and Other Family Friends 24 

Family Traditions 26 

An Appreciative Aside on Evelyn Haas 28 

Ira Hirschfield 28 

II COLLEGE YEARS: UC BERKELEY AND HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL, 1933-1939 30 

Cal Friendships and Loyalties, Bowles Hall and Alpha Delta Phi 30 

College Tennis, and Academics 32 

Levi's Jeans, the Uniform of the College Sophomore 34 

Retrospection on Alumni Support, and on Sports 35 

Jewish Identity 37 

Robert McNamara 38 

Surviving Harvard Business School 40 

Meeting and Marrying Evelyn Danzig 42 

Thoughts on Being a Parent 46 

Levi Strauss & Co. Seen Through Harvard Eyes 47 

The Army: Second Lieutenancy 50 

III JOINING THE FAMILY BUSINESS, WAR STORIES, AND THE POST-WAR YEARS 52 

Levi's, the Brand Name 52 

Entering the Family Business, Valencia Street, 1939 53 

Milton Grunbaum, and a Lesson 54 

Empathy for the Employees 56 

98 Battery Street, Sales and Shipping 58 

Costs and Competition 59 

People Lessons from the Army 60 

And PX Responsibilities 61 

Entering Management, and Critical Early Hiring Decisions 63 

Discontinuing Wholesaling, and Anticipating Baby Boomers 65 

Differences between Dad and Dan 67 

Expanding, Advertising 68 

Developing Some Early Key Relationships 69 



Integrating Office Staff 

Good Coaches Made Good Salesmen 

Psychological Testing for Applicants 74 

The Key to the Executive John 75 

IV LEVI STRAUSS & CO. MANAGEMENT, GROWTH, AND PEOPLE, 1950s- 1960s 76 

Three Generations in the Family Business 76 
Employee Stock Purchase, and Family Shareholders 

Memorable Early Names and Events in Manufacturing and Marketing 79 

A Negotiating Lesson from Walter Haas, Sr. 82 

Expansion to the Eastern Market and Sales Force Rivalries 83 

The Levi's Image, and the Hollywood Factor 84 

Thoughts on Transitions, Growth, and Relationships 86 

Integrating the Work Force in the South, 1950s 88 

Introducing Sta-Prest 90 

Product Integrity 92 

Evie and the Back-to-School Levi's Jeans 93 

"Levi's is People": The First International Convention, 1968 94 

"Levi's is People": Remarkable Executives, Remarkable Growth 96 

An Illustration of Personal Management Style 98 

Keys to Success 98 
Art Roth 

Mel Bacharach 99 

Other Key Executives 100 
Howard Friedman 

Ed Combs and Frank Brann 101 

The Policy of Controlled Growth 102 

Rita Guiney and the Levi Strauss & Co. Art Collection 103 

Visiting Levi Strauss & Co. Plants and People 104 

An Aside on Advertising 104 

V LEVI STRAUSS & CO.: FOCUS ON THE 1970s 106 

Where the Buck Stopped 106 
Going Public in 1971: Social Responsibility, Pricing, Embracing 

Growth 107 

Unanticipated Implications of Going Public 111 
Stories about Levi Strauss & Co. Shares: Nest Eggs and Campus 

Radicals 113 

Contributions of Outside Directors 114 

Two Women as Outside Directors 115 
Chairing the Board, 1971-1986 

Lawsuit against Company Pricing Policies 118 

Two Headquarters Moves: Embarcadero Center and Levi's Plaza 120 

A Key Decision: Hiring Bob Haas, 1973 122 
"The Kinds of Things We Do": Illustrations of Corporate Culture 

and Personal Philosophy 123 

Bonuses in a Billion-Dollar Year, 1975 123 

Valencia Street Factory, Link to the Past 123 

Maverick PhilosophyCorporate Jets and Price Controls 125 

Keeping in Touch with Activist Lawyers 126 



A Lesson in Beard Bias at Cal Business School 127 

"The Fun We Had": Levi's Jeans and Football in Tennessee 129 

VI LEVI STRAUSS INTERNATIONAL 130 
Going International: The Role of Coincidence, Canada and Europe 130 

Management Problems in Europe: Growth Outstrips Controls 132 

Tom Tusher 134 

Robert Grohman 134 

A Tremendous Trademark and Problems with Imitations 135 

Cheetahs in Belgium 137 

Lessons and Company Values in the International Setting 138 

VII REFLECTIONS ON MANAGEMENT, MARKETING, AND LEVI STRAUSS & CO. 

IN THE 1980s 140 

Handling Management Mistakes or Poor Decisions 140 

Recovering from the Debacle in Europe, 1970s 140 

Mis judgments in Women's Wear and Casuals 141 

Sticking with 501 Jeans 142 

Too Rapid Diversification 143 

Relationship with The Gap 143 

Ramifications of Selling to Sears and Penneys 144 

Painful Plant Closures 146 

"Seat of the Pants" Economics 147 

A CEO with a Marketing Orientation 147 

The Decision to Take Levi Strauss & Co. Private, 1985 148 

The Family Buy Back, a Huge Risk 149 

The Cancelled Olympics of 1980 151 

Request from President Jimmy Carter 151 

Ceremony at the Rose Garden 152 

A Political Maverick, with Minimal Political Involvement 153 

Haas Speeches: Humanizing the Work Force, Computerizing the 

Process 154 

VIII CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY 156 

A Tradition at Levi Strauss & Co. 156 
Working towards Year-round Employment at Levi Strauss & Co. 

Factories: An Early Decision 157 

The National Alliance of Businessmen, 1960s: A Crossroads 157 

Community Involvement Teams 161 

Other Efforts to Contribute to the Community 163 

Corporate Support for Corporate Responsibility 165 

Profit and Loss Statement on Social Responsibility 167 

Women in Management 168 

The Haas Competition at UC Berkeley 169 

A Corporation with a Conscience 169 

IX PUBLIC SERVICE: ON CORPORATE AND FOUNDATION BOARDS, GOVERNMENT 
ASSIGNMENTS, COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS 

A Limited Role for Outside Directors on Corporate Boards 171 
The Board of Directors' Role in Managerial Changes: Bank of 

America and United Airlines 172 



Evaluating Foreign Aid Projects in Brazil and Mexico 174 

The Trilateral Commission, 1980-1988 175 
Presidential Task Force on International Development, 1969-1970 176 

The Ford Foundation Board: Choosing a New President for the 

Foundation 177 

Launching the Season of Sharing, 1986 179 

Genesis of the Guardsmen, and Their Christmas Tree Sale 182 

Helping to Found the Hunters Point Boys' Club, 1960 184 

National Park Foundation Board Member, 1990-1994 185 

The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund 188 

X THE UC BERKELEY CONNECTION: ONGOING SUPPORT FOR THE UNIVERSITY 189 

Supporting the Athletic Program 189 

A Hands-Off Attitude 191 

Friendship with Roger Heyns 191 

The Berkeley Medal, 1991 193 

The Haas School of Business 194 

Foundation and Golf: All in Good Fun 196 

XI RECREATION AND RELAXATION 198 

Fishing and the Outdoors 198 
San Francisco Clubs: Relaxing, Subtle Networking, and Thoughts 

on Restrictive Membership 202 

The Family 203 

The Bohemian Club 204 

The Pacific Union Club 205 

The Bohemian Club Encampment 207 

XII OWNING AND ENJOYING THE OAKLAND A'S, 1980-1995 208 

Buying a Sports Team, for Family and Community 208 

Rebuilding the Franchise 210 

Hiring Andy Dolich 211 

Role of Wells Fargo Bank 211 

Haas's Initial Lack of Involvement 212 

Recalling Charlie Finley 213 

Billy Ball 215 

Hiring Tony La Russa, the Final Piece in the Jigsaw Puzzle 216 

In the Locker Room and Meeting Room: Transmitting a Tradition 

of Excellence 217 
The A's Management Team: Wally Haas, Roy Eisenhardt, Sandy 

Alderson 218 

The Thrills and Satisfactions of Owning the A's 220 

A Sense of Community Service 220 

Reggie Jackson and His Personal Jet 221 

The World Series, 1989 222 

Two Errant Foul Balls 223 

The All-Star Game, 1987 224 

The Economics of Baseball 225 

The Farm System 225 

Implications of Rising Player Salaries 225 

Relations with the City of Oakland; Efforts to Keep the Team 

in Oakland 226 



The Giants and the A's: Natural Competitors 228 

Some Final Thoughts on Life and Family 228 

TAPE GUIDE 231 

APPENDICES 233 

A. Biographical Data 234 

B. Interview with Rita Guiney, November 9, 1994 237 

C. There was Light autobiographical essay by Walter A. Haas, Jr. 265 

D. Letter from Mel Bacharach to Walter A. Haas, Jr., August 2, 

1994 on growth of Levi Strauss & Co. 273 

E. Haas Competition, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley: 

list of topics, 1980-1985; announcement to students 276 

F. San Francisco Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund Report, 1994 279 

G. Background on the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and Program 
Guidelines, 1995 283 



INDEX 



293 



INTRODUCTION- -by Roger W. Heyns 



The record will show that I seized the invitation to write the 
introduction to Walter A. Haas, Jr.'s, oral history. I wanted to share 
with his readers some insights about him based on thirty years of 
friendshipinsights into admirable qualities that, given his modesty, he 
would deny or diminish. 

Walter's enormous talent for friendship has characterized his whole 
life. His friends come from the entire range of human, social, and 
economic experience. Some of his closest friends were his classmates in 
grade school. They attend Cal football games with him, and he shares his 
president's box at the Oakland Coliseum with them. People in the 
corporate world, people with whom he has worked on governmental and 
community assignments, professional athletes, Cal alumni, all become a 
part of a large circle, the members of which are objects of his 
continuing concern. 

This respect and enjoyment of people and their importance in his 
life has led Walter to be remarkably generous with his resourceshis 
ranch in Montana, his home in Atherton, his cabin on the Rogue River in 
Oregon, his baseball team in Oakland. Much of his enjoyment in them 
derives from the pleasure they provide his relatives and friends. 

Walter, at the same time, is a devoted and faithful family man. He 
was an admiring and loyal son to a talented pair of parents. His 
appreciation of the importance of the family has been a strong influence 
in his life as husband, father, and grandfather. He appreciates the 
talents of his wife and children, and he makes special efforts to spend 
time with his grandchildren. While deeply committed to his offspring, he 
has made a noble effort not to interfere in their lives. This is not an 
easy standard for a devoted grandparent, and Walter broods from time to 
time about his performance with respect to it. 

There is another area of interpersonal relations that puts special 
pressure on him. He is an ardent and expert fly fisherman. He is 
willing to provide instruction to those of us who aspire to competence in 
that esoteric domain. However, when deficiencies in skill or motivation 
or both begin to show, Walter's usual tolerance for human failure 
disappears. Gently but firmly, other activities are found for the 
inadequate persons, and Walter is free to fish with competent companions. 

Walter's activity as a philanthropist deserves special mention. Not 
only is he generous but the range of recipients is unusually large. His 
contributions to Berkeley include support for his professional school and 
for the athletic program. He has helped cultural institutions that are 
important to the Bay Area, and he has supported programs that are 



ii 



important to the disadvantaged in the region. He was, for example, the 
founder of the Season of Sharing program which is now a part of the San 
Francisco Chronicle's Christmas activities. Completely undocumented but 
substantial have been his contributions to former employees and old 
friends who have come upon hard times. 

In my opinion the most unusual characteristic of Walter as a 
philanthropist is that his generosity is not manipulative. He is, of 
course, interested in the purposes of the grant and that, when 
appropriate, there be a social contract about the uses to which the 
resources are put. But Walter has no personal need that requires 
attention. We all know that generosity can create a painful sense of 
obligation in the recipient. Walter fears that consequence and makes it 
possible to accept his help without creating a sense of personal 
obligation to him. 

These comments about Walter's social concern don't by any means tell 
the story of Walter's life. He has been a highly successful corporate 
leader. During his regime as CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. the company grew 
substantially, both domestically and internationally. While he inherited 
a tradition of thoughtful and sensitive personnel practices, these were 
strengthened in his tenure. The policies with respect to plant closings 
for which the company is now famous is an example of Walter's solicitude 
for employees. It is not irrelevant to note that Walter has maintained 
close relations with hundreds of former colleagues and that current 
employees insist on celebrating his birthday with him. 

Another way to describe Walter is to note that he has a deep 
interest in making the institutions of the society work effectively. As 
a consequence he has accepted opportunities to help business, social 
organizations, and governmental agencies by serving on boards of 
directors and advisory commissions. When last I had a chance to count, I 
found that Walter was active in more than thirty-six community, national, 
and international committees, including being a member of the board of 
four national corporations. 

Finally, a few comments about Walter's relationship to Cal. It is 
especially important to him. He is proud of his degree, admiring of the 
University's academic distinction. Although he has had his disagreements 
with the University's performance from time to time, his support for it 
is unconditional. I am obliged to add, however, that this unconditional 
affection is under great stress when it comes to the performance of Cal's 
athletic teams, notably basketball and football. Walter is a fierce 
competitor, as an individual in tennis, golf, and fishing and as a fan. 
A losing season on the part of Cal's football team means a long dismal 
fall for Walter. 



ill 



While much more could be said about him, I trust that I have 
conveyed that Walter is an intelligent, sensitive, generous person with 
broad interests and enormous dedication to the common good. I trust that 
it is also clear that he has been an asset to all of us--his friends, his 
business colleagues, his city, his university, and his nation. 

Roger W. Heyns 

Chancellor, University of California, 

Berkeley, 1965-1971 
President, William and Flora Hewlett 

Foundation, 1977-1992 

March 1995 
Atherton, California 



iv 



INTERVIEW HISTORY- -Walter A. Haas, Jr. 

Walter A. Haas, Jr., is a man of remarkable achievements and 
admirable personal qualities. A successful businessman, he is as proud 
of his company's impressive record in human relations as in its sales 
figures. A model citizen, he serves his community, university, and 
country with dedication. An avid sportsman, he takes equal delight in 
his participation on the Cal tennis team, his fly fishing proficiency, 
and his ownership of a major-league baseball team. Above all a devoted 
family man, he takes great satisfaction in the companionship and 
closeness of his wife, children, and grandchildren. 

Perhaps his most extraordinary achievements have come in his 
leadership role with Levi Strauss & Co. Walter Haas joined his family's 
business in 1939, became its president in 1958, was chief executive 
officer until 1976, and served actively as chairman of the board until 
1986. During those years Levi Strauss & Co. grew from a small regional 
manufacturer and wholesaler of work garments to become the world's 
leading apparel manufacturer. At the same time, Walter Haas and his 
brother, Peter, continued their family's tradition of social conscience 
and enhanced the company's reputation as a model corporate citizen, both 
in its enlightened personnel policies and its socially responsible role 
in the larger community. 

In his personal philanthropy and community service, Walter Haas has 
made major impacts on Bay Area and national institutions. The University 
of California, the Season of Sharing Fund, the Hunters Point Boys' Club, 
the National Alliance of Businessmen, the Board of Trustees of the Ford 
Foundation, and the Trilateral Commission are among the many 
organizations benefitting immeasurably from Walter Haas's generous gifts 
of service and leadership and his philanthropic contributions. 

In keeping with his lifelong interest in sports, Mr. Haas embarked 
on a new career in baseball in 1980, when he purchased the then-moribund 
Oakland Athletics and set its highly successful management team in place. 
By the end of the decade, the A's had won three straight American League 
pennants and a world championship, increased attendance from 300,000 to 
nearly 3 million per year, and instituted a community service program 
unprecedented among athletic teams. 

In the spring of 1994, Walter Haas contacted the Regional Oral 
History Office to ask us to work with him on an oral history memoir. In 
doing so, Mr. Haas was following another family tradition: his parents, 
Elise Stern Haas and Walter A. Haas, Sr., had completed oral history 
memoirs in the 1970s, as had his aunt and uncle, Daniel and Lucile 
Koshland. In 1973 Walter, his brother Peter, and their father and uncle 
had each been interviewed for an oral history volume on Levi Strauss & 



Co. And our office had conducted subject-focused interviews with his 
sister, Rhoda Goldman, and brother, Peter, as part of our series on the 
history of Bay Area philanthropy and the Jewish Community Federation, 
respectively. We were delighted, then, to have the opportunity to extend 
our documentation of an individual, a family, and a company all central 
to the life of the San Francisco Bay Area. 

While Mr. Haas's primary interest was in producing a memoir for his 
family, he recognized and respected ROHO's commitment to insure that his 
oral history would document as fully as possible the many historically 
significant areas of his life and work for the use of future scholars. 
Our initial proposal for the oral history outlined five major areas to be 
documented: 

(1) To add to our understanding of Bay Area social and cultural 
history: family and personal background, family life, friendships, 
associations, clubs, and avocations. 

(2) For historians of business: leadership in the growth and 
development of Levi Strauss & Co. (supplementing our interviews conducted 
in 1973), observations on transitions in a family business, insights into 
the human aspects of business decisions and organization, and reflections 
on the social responsibilty of business. 

(3) For the history of the University of California: student 
experiences and lifelong association with the University, its sports 
teams, and the business school. 

(4) For the history of sport: role and experiences as owner of the 
Oakland Athletics over the past fourteen years. 

5) To document Bay Area philanthropy and community service: genesis 
and key issues of his major public service contributions and the 
philosophy he brings to these enterprises. 

These areas provided the structure for the oral history, but Mr. 
Haas himself had a firm sense of what he wished to cover in each 
interview session. In response to the interviewer's outline of suggested 
topics submitted to him before each session, he would prepare a list of 
events and people to be discussed, with particular attention to 
acknowledging the contributions of others to his many endeavors. He 
noted favorite stories to be recorded, along with illustrations of the 
moral and philosophical outlook central to his actions in family 
relations, business operations, and public service. He never was 
reluctant, however, to address additional questions and to explore ideas 
and topics that were not on his priority list. 

Mr. Haas had recently written a brief memoir on his student days at 
Cal for a soon-to-be published revised edition of There Was Light; 
Autobiography of a University (edited in 1970 by Irving Stone; under 
revision by editor Jean Stone). We used his essay for that publication 
as our stepping-off point for further discussion, and we have included it 
in this volume as Appendix C. 



vi 



The first four interview sessions were held on the garden patio of 
the Haas summer home in Atherton from August 23 to September 2, 1994. 
The fifth session was undertaken in the study of his Pacific Heights home 
in San Francisco on September 9. During a six-week vacation break for 
the interviewer, Mr. Haas began his review of the lightly edited 
transcript of the first several interview sessions. Now fully aware of 
how conversational speech translates to the printed page, Mr. Haas asked 
that we edit his spoken words more severely, to tighten the inevitably 
informal language of the relaxed interview situation and to bring 
together related discussions. Once we developed a feel for his 
expectations, we took a firmer hand with the editing to make a more 
cogent, consistent, and readable document, rather than a verbatim 
transcript of our conversations. 

Interviewing resumed on October 25, at his Pacific Heights home. 
The final four sessions were conducted from November 13 to December 8, 
1994, at his office at Levi Strauss & Co., its walls lined with photos 
and memorabilia of life in business, community service, and baseball, and 
its windows opening to a magnificent view across Levi's Plaza to the San 
Francisco Bay. 

In conducting his review of the complete edited transcript, Mr. Haas 
displayed the kind of care and concern for accuracy, articulateness, and 
completeness that can contribute immeasurably to the production of a 
rich, readable, and historically useful memoir. In some cases he 
reworked discussions to better express his sense of what happened or 
added the occasional paragraph to cover topics we missed in our interview 
sessions. He added a section on fishing, pack trips, and his ranches in 
Montana and Oregon, to be sure that the importance of these pastimes to 
his life was evident. He elaborated on the work of his family foundation 
to give a clearer picture of his philanthropic interests. In a few 
cases, when he saw his words on the printed page, he took exception to 
his sometimes disarmingly candid comments, omitted or reworded remarks 
that he felt were inappropriate to leave in a permanent record. He also 
took care that the ideas and beliefs most important in his life had been 
clearly expressed and given the proper emphasis. 

Wise and experienced executive that he is, Mr. Haas called in his 
experts to review relevant portions of the transcript. His longtime 
executive assistant at Levi Strauss & Co., Rita Guiney, read the entire 
transcript and recommended some revisions. Ira Hirschfield, president of 
the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund reviewed the transcript and provided 
assistance to Mr. Haas and to the Regional Oral History Office throughout 
the process. Walter's wife, Evelyn Haas, also contributed to the review 
process, as did his son Robert, for the sections on Levi Strauss & Co., 
and his son Walter for the chapter on the Oakland A's. Rebecca Peters, 
his present assistant at Levi Strauss & Co., expedited many questions and 
procedures for our office in preparing the final volume. We owe thanks 



vii 



to all of these individuals for their contributions, and a special thanks 
to Rita Guiney, who shared her unique perspective on Mr. Haas's personal 
qualities and leadership style as a Levi Strauss & Co. executive in an 
interview on November 9, 1994. That interview is included in this volume 
as Appendix B . 

Our original plan had been to conduct an auxiliary interview with 
Mrs. Haas to be included in this volume. However, Evelyn Danzig Haas's 
prominence in the San Francisco arts community, and her central role in 
fostering the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and making its new 
museum building a reality, determined that she should be interviewed at 
length for her own memoir. That process is now underway, with interviews 
conducted by our senior editor /interviewer for the arts. 

When Mr. Haas's three children learned of his interest in recording 
an oral history, they provided the necessary funding as a gift for their 
father. We thank them for making possible this oral history, which 
serves not only as a family memoir but as rich primary source material 
for future historians. 

The Regional Oral History Office was established in 1954 to record 
the lives of persons who have contributed significantly to the history of 
California and the West. The office is a division of The Bancroft 
Library and is under the direction of Willa K. Baum. Tapes of the 
interview sessions are available for listening at The Bancroft Library. 



Ann Lage 
Interviewer /Editor 



June 1, 1995 

Regional Oral History Office 

The Bancroft Library 

University of California, Berkeley 



viil 



Regional Oral History Office 
Room 486 The Bancroft Library 



University of California 
Berkeley, California 94720 



BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION 
(Please write clearly. Use black ink. 



Your full name 



Date of birth 



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Birthplace_ 



Father's full name 
Occupation 



Birthplace_ 



Mother's full name 

Occupation 
Your spouse 



-*<-/ 



<^iut. ~rf~*c~ 




Occupatron 



Your children 



Where did you grow up? 
Present community 
Education ~^&f , C 



? ^^-r^V^g/^ ' 




Occupation(s) 



Areas of expertise_ 



Other interests or activities 



Organizations in which you are active_ 



I FAMILY BACKGROUND 

[Interview 1: August 23, 1994] ##' 

Overview; "A Most Wonderful Life" 



Lage: We're starting out to record a biographical oral history with a lot 
of emphasis on your career at Levi Strauss & Co. But today we're 
going to start with personal background and some of your general 
reflections about your life. So let's begin there. 

Haas: All right. Well, I've had a most wonderful life. It's been long 
and fortunate. It's been very happy, and I've had some remarkable 
experiences. I have a wonderful, wonderful family, and they're all 
close by, and we're close to each other. I've traveled the world; 
I've met important world leaders. So I just want to summarize the 
fact that I feel blessed. 

Lage: That's a lovely way to begin. 

Haas: I think part of that has been the key people in my life. Of course, 
I'd start with my wife [Evelyn Danzig Haas]. By nextI'm feeling a 
little emotionalby next March, we'll have been married fifty-five 
years. She's been very supportive and helpful and remarkable in 
many ways, because she's from New York, and her background is 
entirely different. When we married she came out [to San 
Francisco] , and then I went into the service right away. I love the 
outdoors and I love to fish, and she'd never had dirty fingernails, 
I don't think. 

Lage: Until she met you, or never since? 



'## This symbol indicates that a tape or tape segment has begun or 
ended. A guide to the tapes follows the transcript. 



Haas: Until she met me. [laughter] And then, because I liked fishing, 
she took it up and either fooled me or genuinely did love it. She 
ended up actually becoming quite an expert and wrote a book. 1 It's 
been published, which I never thought would happen. I never thought 
she'd finish it. It's in its fourth printing, still going strong. 
That ' s remarkab le . 

Then I got a second career and got into baseball. She put up 
with my love of sports all these years, but baseball is not exactly 
her number one priority. But in spite of that she became pretty 
knowledgeable and a great supporter of the team. 

I wasn't nearly as adaptable with her interests, because she's 
quite a leader in the cultural life of the Bay Area, with the [San 
Francisco] Museum of Modern Art and all her involvement in other 
cultural activities. I get points by accompanying her occasionally, 
but not with a great deal of enthusiasm. So my respect and love for 
her is very important in my life. 

Lage: It makes a big difference, I think, in a life, to have that kind of 
a mate . 

Haas: It does. It's terrific. And of course, we have a marvelous family. 
All my children in their own way are outstanding. They all live in 
the Bay Area, so we see them a lot. And the grandchildren as well. 

Lage: How many grandchildren? 
Haas: Six grandchildren. 

During our fifty- five years together, Evie and I have had some 
marvelous experiences. We've traveled all over the world, going to 
South and Central America, most of the countries in Europe, and to 
the Orient a few times as well. We went on safari in Africa and to 
Ethiopia when Bob [Robert D. Haas] was in the Peace Corps. We have 
been to international conferences in Rome and Tokyo with the 
Trilateral Commission and to Rome and India with the Ford 
Foundation. Our trip to Israel was cut short by the Six Day War. 
We spent our honeymoon in Hawaii and have been back there at least 
once almost every year since we were married. 

We have fished in the Rocky Mountain area, in New Zealand, 
Austria, British Columbia, and Alaska. We have had the most 
incredible fly fishing in Alaska catching, believe it or not, 
rainbow trout from five to nine and even twelve pounds. I have had 



'Evelyn Haas and Gwen Cooper, Wade a Little Deeper, Dear (San 
Francisco Examiner, 1979). 



days when we hooked so many big fish that I became physically 
exhausted and had to rest. Of course, we released them all. Also, 
we went to Newfoundland with some friends one time for grilse, which 
are small Atlantic salmon, and that was what started Evie in writing 
her book on fly fishing. We have been to the White House on a 
number of occasions, and have personally met all the presidents from 
Lyndon B. Johnson through George Bush. I have a wonderful wall in 
my office, which my secretary calls "the blue wall," with pictures 
of us with all the presidents and one with Queen Elizabeth and 
Prince Philip along with various citations for service on government 
committees. 

Sharing these experiences has enriched our lives together. 
We've had interesting experiences, embarrassing experiences, 
memorable experiences, and just an exciting and rewarding life. It 
has been a glorious journey together. 

And then in business, my brother Peter and I have been partners 
for almost fifty years. We don't always agree on everything, but it 
is quite a remarkable relationship that we continue to be close and 
working together. Our interests are a little different, which in a 
sense is very good. He is more interested in the financial and 
operational end, and I'm more interested in the marketing, planning, 
and just general outside contacts and public relations. 

Lage: You're the outside man and he's the inside man? 

Haas: Well, more or less. We're quite different. But together, it's been 
a great success. 

Lage: We'll want to talk about that when we go into Levi Strauss & Co. 
more, how this relationship worked itself out. 

Haas: That's right. 

And then, of course, Bobthat's my older sonhas made such a 
great success of the business. And then I go to the Oakland A's 
[Athletics], where my son-in-law Roy Eisenhardt really was the right 
person to get it started, and then my younger son, Wally [Walter J. 
Haas], has made a tremendous success of the team. He's got great 
judgment, and he's got great people skills. The success of the A's 
is due to those two people, and then we have the best general 
manager in the business, Sandy Alderson, and Tony La Russa, the 
manager, recognized as probably one of the best in baseball. 

So all these major interests of mine have been supported by 
outstanding people. And it goes beyond that to little things like 
our property in Oregon on the Rogue River; I couldn't have got it 
started without Prince Helfrich, who was a great influence in my 



life. He was a guide who worked his way through college trapping 
beaver and selling cascara bark. 

Lage: What kind of bark? 

Haas: Cascara bark. He pulled bark off cascara trees--! think it's a 

medicine, probably a laxative. I couldn't have built the place in 
this wilderness area without him. Now it's carried on by Larry 
Mullinnix. That place was a garbage heap when we got itit's Zane 
Grey's old mining claimand now it's a showplace, recognized as an 
historic part of the Rogue River. 

And we bought some property in Montana, and I was able to find 
Bill Pruitt, an Oregon guide who brought his family to Montana, and 
again brought a ranch that had been neglected for years into a jewel 
of a piece of property, the envy of everybody. 

And then in my own business life, my assistants, starting with 
Rita Guiney, 1 who is beyond description, and helped bring up the 
kids, a part of the family, stood with me for over forty years until 
she retired. She was an officer in the company, and now Rebecca 
Peters, who is bright and intelligent, supportive. They all share 
one quality: they're friends, they really care about me, and they 
take great pride in what they're doing. It makes my life more 
productive and a lot easier. 

I think whatever success I've had has to be attributed to 
people like these, and of course, the executives of Levi's I can't 
name them all, but 

Lage: We'll get to them. 

Haas: Yes. What I'm trying to say is these people all have great ability, 
and I'm very fortunate that we've had the relationship we've had. 

Lage: I think that's a good way to begin, and one of the things we might 

look at as we go along is how it's not just luck that you've had 

such wonderful people. Some of it must be an ability to judge 
character or to inspire people. 

Haas: Well, it's hard for me to comment on that, but I guess so. Not 
everybody we've had has always worked out. 

One of my favorite stories about business and decisions in 
business is that if you flip a coin a thousand times, it's going to 
come up heads five hundred times and tails five hundred times. So 



interview with Rita Guiney, Appendix B. 



you have a fifty-fifty chance of being right. But the difference in 
being a success in making decisions is when you recognize your 
correct decisions, you ride the wave. If you recognize that you've 
made a bad decision, don't try to save it, abandon it. I think that 
makes the difference between a good decision-maker or leader and an 
ordinary individual. 

Lage: That's very interesting. There's a lot of literature about 

decision-making, how people make decisions. They don't often to go 
on to say what you do about the aftermath of your decision. 

Haas: Well, I think it's very important, and it's the same thing in 

selecting people. There's a very good story about that that we'll 
get to in our discussion of Levi's. 

These are the things I'm proudest of. Of course, there is 
being part of the growth of Levi Strauss & Co. from a small, 
regional wholesaler to the largest apparel company in the world, 
with a reputation for social responsibility and integrity. Having 
been a part of that is certainly a source of great satisfaction. 

And then the Oakland A's, where we took a kind of a moribund 
franchise and converted it into an organization that's highly 
respected in baseball, perhaps respected among the very top few 
teams with some great success. 

And a few other things I want to talk about: Hunters Point 
Boys' Club, which I helped start with Bill Zellerbach. We were both 
members of the San Francisco Boys' Club, and we saw a need for a 
boys' club in this depressed area. But the then-directors of the 
San Francisco Boys' Club would not open a branch there because they 
didn't want so many minorities, which is kind of ironic, because of 
course, look at their membership now. But we started that club. 

I was one of the founders and one of the first presidents of 
the Guardsmen, which is a service group of young men between twenty 
and forty. I'm very, very proud of my role in getting Season of 
Sharing started, which is an annual fundraiser by the San Francisco 
Chronicle for needy families. I'm not going to get into detail now, 
but that would be worth emphasizing. 

I don't know if I should mention this, but I was one of the 
first Jewish members of the Pacific Union Club, which kind of 
started the integration of this presumably very stuffy, exclusive 
club, and I ended up as a president, which is a first, also. 

And of course, I'm probably known as Cal's number one booster 
of its intercollegiate athletic program. So these are thoughts in 
general that I had before we get going here. 



Parents and Grandparents 



Lage: That gives us a direction for where we're headed. Now with that 

introduction, we're going to go back and talk about your family and 
your growing up, and see how some of these things evolved. 

Haas: All right. 

Lage: There are a few things that your mother [Elise Stern Haas] said 
about herself in the introduction to her oral history 1 that I 
thought were interesting. She particularly said she was not a 
gregarious sort, that she was sort of a loner. Is this the way you 
saw her? 

Haas: Well, yes, although- -how will I say it? I won't say I didn't know 

her very well, but we were brought up differently than we brought up 
our children. We didn't see that much of our parents, and they 
didn't spend a lot of time with us. We were brought up by a nurse, 
an old German lady we called Nana. 

Lage: What was Nana's actual name? 
Haas: I don't remember. 

Lage: In your father's [Walter A. Haas, Sr.] oral history 2 , he mentioned 
Marie McLellan-- 

Haas: That's it, McLellan. 

Lage: But that doesn't sound German to me. 

Haas: Well, she was. She was German. And that's Nana. 

I shouldn't say that, because when Mom and Dad would have 
drinks, I recall we would see them, and Sunday they'd take us out on 
a ride to the zoo, and we ate together, and all the rest, but our 
daily lives weren't--. I don't want to indicate they were distant 
or uncaring, it was just their way of life. They had a house full 
of servants, and they were very strict, and I was brought up in an 
old-fashioned, I guess Victorian kind of a way. 



'Elise Stern Haas, The Appreciation of Quality, Regional Oral History 
Office of The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, 1979. 

2 Walter A. Haas, Sr., Civic, Philanthropic, and Business Leadership, 
Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, 1975. 



Lage: What were they strict about, what kinds of things? 

Haas: Attending school, doing well, behaving yourself, being polite. We 
had to go once a week to my grandmother's for dinner. My two 
grandmothers, Mrs. [Sigmund] Stern [Rosalie Meyer Stern] and Mrs. 
[Abraham] Haas [Fannie Koshland Haas], were different as day and 
night. My father's mother, Grandmother Haas, was the one we went to 
every Sunday night. As years went by and we got married, it was 
kind of a family joke, because there wasn't room at the dining room 
table for everybody, so the direct family members sat in the dining 
room, the in-laws and the outlaws like my wife were in the living 
room. 

Lage: Oh, my goodness! 
Haas: It was terrible. 
Lage: But every Sunday night? 

Haas: Every Sunday night we had to do it. We could no more do that with 
our children today--! see some of them more than once a week, but 
it's not on a formal basis. 

Lage: Not a command performance. 

Haas: No. My Grandmother Stern was very austere, very reserved, but also 
very warm. She had a great facility for being respected in an 
affectionate way by all generations. Strangely enough, I guess she 
was shy, and maybe formidable, and quite beautiful. Again, a leader 
in the community, and I think there was quite a bit of jealousy 
between the two grandmothers, because they were quite different. 

Lage: Did you have regular dinners at your Grandmother Stern's? 

Haas: No. But we looked forward to occasions with her because we always 
got a present. She bribed us, and that was okay. I remember her 
house on Pacific Avenue, the big Victorian house. They had a 
dumbwaiter which brought the food from the kitchen in the basement 
up to the dining room. As little kids we'd get in the dumbwaiter 
and go up and down. She had a big ballroom in the basement. I 
don't think it was ever used after my mother grew up. 

But the thing I remember most about that house was the Japanese 
tea garden. It was an absolute perfect, miniature replica of a 
Japanese garden with small fountains and rivers and Japanese 
buildings. I don't know whoever went there or what purpose it 
served but it's a memory from my childhood. 

I really don't remember much about my youth. 



8 

Lage: What about Nana? Tell me a little bit about Nana. She did the 
daily care? 

Haas: She was with us all the time. She took us to the playground, Julius 
Kahn playground. I don't remember a great deal about her. I 
remember when I got older, my grandmother lived down in Atherton. 
That's where I got started down here. [This interview session took 
place in Atherton.] My parents would come in the summertime and 
live on the third floor of her big house, right up here on Atherton 
Avenue. So I'd spend my summers down here, and that's when I got 
into the chicken business. [laughs] 

Lage: Was she a warm person, your nurse? 

Haas: No, no, she was very warm. What I started to say was when we were 

down here, and I had a dentist appointment or something, they'd send 
me to San Francisco. By then, she was retired, and Dad had found an 
apartment for her. I'd stay with her overnight, she'd cook dinner, 
and I'd look forward to those times. We were close. She was a 
wonderful person; I remember her very fondly. 

But I had a younger brother, and a sister [Rhoda Haas Goldman] 

who is quite a bit younger. And I was mean as hell to my brother, 

[laughter] I never physically hurt him, but I psychologically drove 
him nuts. 

Lage: You were more outgoing, I understand? 

Haas: I don't know, I was just a bigger brother. 

Lage: Yes, you were two years older? 

Haas: Three. 

Lage: Three years older. 

Haas: Nine years older than my sister. We had a happy family. I don't 
recall that much of it. 



Homes and Schools and Tennis 

Lage: Do you remember your schooling at Presidio Open Air? 

Haas: Oh, I sure do. That was a mistake my parents made, because Presidio 
was, I guess, a modern school, very progressive, and you moved ahead 
as fast as you could. So I graduated from grammar school before I 



was twelve. My parents made the mistake of sending me to high 
school a month before my twelfth birthday. I was quite ill-prepared 
for public school, went to Galileo High School. 

Lage: Do you know why they chose Galileo? You could have gone to Lowell, 
or you could have gone East to a private school. 

Haas: Yes. I think they felt they didn't want me to be away from home. I 
am surprised they didn't send me to Lowell, because Galileo was a 
bad choice. It was ethnically dominated by Italians in those days, 
in the North Beach area, and they were tough, I thought. 

Lage : And you were not tough? 

Haas: Well, I was only eleven. I was very immature. I was an immature 
eleven. And I really hardly knew the difference between boys and 
girls, literally, and here were these guys that were smoking and 
talking about their dates, and swearing. 

Lage: You hadn't been brought up that way. 
Haas: I was really intimidated, and had a very-- 

Lage: [I am struck by what a mismatch that school experience was at 

Galileo. Did you talk with your parents about the ethnic domination 
aspect? 

Haas: No. 

Lage: Did you get any help from your parents, or even Nana, in how to deal 
with all this? 

Haas: No, I just accepted it. 

Lage: What did you learn from this encounter, or what do you think in 
retrospect its impact was on you, vis-a-vis racial and ethnic 
differences? 

Haas: I think you're reading too much into this. It was just the 
composition of the school at that time.] 1 

Lage: Did they pick on you? 

Haas: Not particularly. I just don't remember much. 



'The preceding bracketed interchange was added during the editing 
process. 



10 

I started playing tennis. That was my greatest interest as a 
youngster. I was a member of the California Tennis Club, and it was 
not like it is today where the pro will find you a game. I'd go out 
there five days a week and be lucky to get a game one day. I'd just 
sit around waiting for somebody to ask me to play, because I was 
young and I wasn't very good. 

But I learned to play tennis down here, at my grandmother's 
placeit was wonderful- -with my parents, and I got good enough to 
play in their games. They both enjoyed tennis, they both played, 
and then Mom made Dad stop when he was fifty, which was-- 

Lage: She thought he was getting too old? [laughs] 

Haas: Yes. 

Lage: You mentioned that you also played tennis at the Hellers'. 

Haas: That was the property adjoining my grandmother's in Atherton. Ellie 
Heller had the--we played tennis on my grandmother's court, but I 
really got more competition on the Heller court. As I got better, I 
was included in the adult games, and I suppose that's where I really 
learned to play. 

Lage: I know you competed in tennis tournaments as a youngster. 

Haas: I was in a lot of tournaments. I remember I entered a little 

tournament at the Menlo Circus Club. I was ten years old, and it 
was "under fourteen," and I won it. So I figured that I was going 
to be a real champion. I had no idea that it was a limited field; I 
really expected to be the national champion after winning my first 
trophy. So tennis was my driving ambition when I was a teenager. 

I recall playing in the San Francisco City "under-f ifteen" 
championships at Golden Gate Park, and nobody paid much attention. 
I was in the finals, and there was nobody watching, and I was 
losing. I lost the first set, and then all of a sudden I heard a 
voice say, "Come on, Wally, don't quit, you can beat this guy," and 
I turned around and it was Alice Marble, whom I knew. She kind of 
jolted me into feeling I shouldn't quit, and I ended up winning the 
city championship. 

Lage: Nice to have Alice Marble give you that kind of encouragement. 

Haas: See, it's interesting howbecause I was a good tennis player, but I 
was not a great tennis player. And I played with Margaret Osborne, 
who was a women's champion, and I could play her even. I was able 
to play with all these big names. It just shows the difference in 



11 

caliber, at least between men and women's tennis. Because I was not 
a good tennis player in terms of the national rankings or anything. 

Lage: But still. Now, do I understand that you also played with your 
mother, that your mother played tennis? 

Haas: Mom and Dad did. But as I said, she made him quit at the age of 
fifty. But that's where I started, in Atherton on the courts. 

Lage: Just to go back to Presidio Open Air School for a minute, do you 
recall anything about the schooling there, or your classmates or 
teachers? 

Haas: Somebody was nice enough to send me an old yearbook, I guess. It 

was kind of a four-page mimeographed thing, and I was the editor-in- 
chief of the paper, which I hadn't realized. And I had written a 
story about baseball, which is kind of ironic! 

Lage: Very much so. 

Haas: Yes. Isn't that a kick? I have it in town somewhere. But I don't 
remember the Presidio very-- 

Lage: It didn't leave a lasting impression, or you don't have friends from 
that era? 

Haas: No, although I remember a few of the names. 
Lage: Do you know why your parents sent you there? 
Haas: No. 

Lage: I wondered if your mother was interested in progressive education 
ideas? 

Haas: I don't know. 

Lage: Maybe it was just close by. 

Haas: Yes. We were right around the corner from Grant School, I should 

mention. When I first was born, I was brought up in a little brown 
house just outside the Presidio Gate on Presidio Avenue. Then most 
of my childhood through college was spent in a very large home on 
Lyon Street, Lyon and Pacific. After I got out of the service we 
bought a home on Broadway, which is less than ten blocks from the 
others. So I spent my whole life right in that little ten-block 
area. 

Lage: Well, it's a very nice ten-block area. 



12 

Haas: It's a beautiful ten-block area. 

Lage: Do you have good memories of those childhood homes? 

Haas: Yes. Oh, I remember- -here I'm not so young--but on Lyon Street my 
parents were entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt. They had a little 
English cook, couldn't have been more than four feet ten inches 
tall, maybe less, and I remember Mrs. Roosevelt, when dinner was 
over, asked if she could meet the lady who prepared that wonderful 
meal. So Mom took her out to the kitchen to see Ethel, who was the 
cook. I was always impressed by that. 

Lage: Ethel must have been, too. 

Haas: Oh, of course, she was thrilled. 

Lage: Do you remember the dinner with Mrs. Roosevelt? 

Haas: No, although I was there. But I remember that story very well. 

Lage: Were there other celebrities that passed through your life? 

Haas: I don't remember them at that time. 

Lage: I've heard reference to Gene Tunney. 

Haas: Oh, the squash court. Yes. Believe it or not, Dad, with his great 
intelligence, was never very observant. For his special birthday, I 
guess it was the fiftieth, Mom built a squash court on the back of 
this house on Lyon Street, which seems a little out of character, 
considering the tennis. I don't think he noticed it was being 
built. 

Dad would play squash against Gene Tunney. Dad was a little 
man, and in squash, if you want to move the opponent out of the way, 
you just hit him right in the rump as hard as you can with the ball, 
and I remember Dad playing Gene Tunney. I'm sure there were other 
visitors, because Dad was involved in Republican politics. But as I 
say, we weren't that involved in the activities. He didn't talk 
about business at home. 

Lage: He didn't bring things home that had happened? 
Haas: No. 

Lage: It doesn't sound like there was a conscious attempt to instill 
certain values. 

Haas: By example, I'd say. 



13 
The Chicken Business and Other Stories 



Haas: One of my favorite stories has to do with Atherton, and now I'm 
going to get the chicken business in. [laughs] 

Lage: Yes, please do. 

Haas: A couple of friends of mine, Alan Fleishhacker and Albert 

Schwabacher, also lived with their parents in large homes down in 
Atherton. We decided we ought to make a little money. So we 
collected eggs from my grandmother's chickens and sold them to her. 

Lage: Sold them to your grandmother? [laughing] 

Haas: Yes. And she went along, because she thought she could teach us a 
little something about commercial activities. She would pay the 
going price for eggs, but we had to look it up in the paper. So 
we'd look it up and sell her a dozen eggs, and then she'd pay us for 
them. So that's the way we got a little money. 

And of course, the Fleishhackers were always kind of living it 
up. He had duck eggs, and that was a problem. But anyway, things 
were going along fine until I got ambitious and thought we should 
get more eggs. So I sent my little brother over the fence to the 
neighbor's to swipe their eggs. Of course, we were caught and that 
was the end of the chicken business. 

Lage: Your brother was the one who got caught? 

Haas: He got caught. [laughter] But this is the big brother. 

Lage: Yes, that's the role of a big brother. 

Haas: Getting him in trouble all the time. Yes. 

Lage: That's a good story. Now, what about things like allowance? Were 
you given a nice allowance? 

Haas: Given an allowance, yes. 

Lage: Couldn't have been quite enough, or you wouldn't have had to do the 
chicken business. 

Haas: Well, I think it was plenty, but we just wanted more than that. 
Lage: You described yourself as being sheltered and naive. 
Haas: Yes, very. 



14 

Lage: Did you mean that you weren't aware of the world around you? Or 
what did you mean by that? 

Haas: No, we were sent to dancing school and all those things, and I was 
very shy and ill at ease. 

Lage: What about awareness of the events of the day? You were a young 
teenager during the Depression--? 

Haas: I was in college during the Depression, "32. 

Lage: That's true. So that you must have been aware of. 

Haas: Not fully. 

Lage: Were you interested in reading as a young boy? 

Haas: Not particularly, no-- 

Lage: You didn't have any favorite books? 

Haas: I didn't blossom until I went to Cal. I was very introverted, I was 
very shy, I was very unaware. The real change came as I got away 
from home and went to Cal and was on my own, and that's where the 
metamorphosis came, if that's the right word. 

I remember--to show the kind of rivalry between my brother and 
myself --we loved raspberries. We'd have them, and we always accused 
Nishi, who was the loyal Japanese butler of my grandmother, of 
giving one or the other too many raspberries, so we ate raspberries 
one at a time and counted them. The poor guy had to count them so 
we got the same amount every day. [laughter] This is the kind of 
stuff we diddoes it matter how many raspberries? It's crazy. 

Lage: I think that's interesting, and it even tells a little bit about 
your relationship with your brother. Now I want to be sure we're 
covering everything. We're working off two lists here. After 
"Raspberries," you list "Peter smoking." 

Haas: Well, I don't know-- [laughing] . We were at my grandmother's again 
down here, and Peter and I decided to smoke when we were quite 
young. I remember we were hiding out in a bed of hydrangeas, and 
the gardener saw the smoke coming out and turned us in. My mother 
decided to cure Peter of smoking, so she said, "Come on--" at 
dinner, I don't know how he got picked on. Maybe it wasn't a result 
of this particular incident. But she said, "Come on, now here's a 
cigarette, light up, and now inhale." She was going to make him 
sick. But he started blowing smoke rings. [laughter] 



15 

Lage: He was enjoying it. 

Haas: He obviously had done it more than she realized, so that approach 
didn't work. I don't know if these stories mean anything, but I 
just jotted them down because I thought they were amusing. 

The only other thing I want to say is, again having to do with 
tennis, and I did love tennis -- 



Haas: I learned from Howard Kinsey, who was a great tennis player--he was 
my pro at the California Tennis Club, where I sat around waiting for 
games. Once a year, Granny would invite Howard Kinsey and some of 
the better players to come down and use their court, and then serve 
lunch. Of course, that was a big thrill for me, because I got to 
play with them. I didn't understand why they came down, and then I 
suddenly realized they came because Nishi would serve kind of a 
sunshine cocktail, which was loaded, and they just came once a year 
and looked forward to the cocktails after the game! 

Lage: You mean you don't think they came down to play tennis with you? 

Haas: [laughter] No, they didn't come down to play tennis with me. So 
those were some of the highlights of my younger years. 



Religion and Responsibility 

Lage: Tell me if religion was important at all in the family. 

Haas: No. 

Lage: Did you have any religious observances at home? 

Haas: No. In fact, we were not bar mitzvahed, as are my sister's 

children. But we were not religious. Since I've been married my 
wife and I go to temple twice a year on the high holy days, but 
that ' s about it . 

Lage: Kind of putting in an appearance? 

Haas: Basically, yes. 

Lage: Was there any sense of Jewish tradition? 



16 

Haas: No, I wouldn't say so. Dad and Mom had many friends who were not 

Jewish, through business or involvement in the cultural part of the 
city. No, religion was not an important part of our lives. 

Lage: My preconception would be that you absorbed a lot of family values, 
but in talking to you, I haven't found out where or how. 

Haas: I don't know. You're right. But my brother and my sister have a 
much greater feeling for Jewish tradition and more identification 
with the Jewish culture. 

Lage: Do you think any of the emphasis on social responsibility comes out 
of the Jewish tradition? 

Haas: Yes, it definitely does. No question about that. I think we were 
taught--how it came across is--if you have good fortune, it should 
be shared with your neighbors. 

Lage: Were these things your parents would say to you? 

Haas: No. As I say, I don't remember any lectures; it was just the way of 
life. It was a way of life. People ask about things, and I say, 
"It's in the genes." Well, there are two ways of spelling that. 
But it is, genes [spells]. And that's where your sense of 
responsibility in the community comes from. That was certainly a 
huge thing that came out of our family life. Now, how I got to care 
about these things, I don't know, but I care very deeply. I just 
have no idea. 

I know with my children, when they were growing up and got to 
receive an allowance, I guess when they went to college, we figured 
out what they needed for tuition and clothes and whatever else came 
into the equation, and we'd reach an amount, and then I'd add 10 
percent. I'd say, "Now, that 10 percent has to go to some cause or 
causes of your choosing, to help others," and that's what I tried to 
do. I don't know that it was particularly successful. But my 
parents didn't have anything like that with me. 

Lage: Your parents didn't institute that formally? 

Haas: No. 

Lage: It came somehow. 

Haas: It sure did. I think it really did. 

Lage: Did you have a very close relationship with your little sister? She 
was quite a bit younger. 



17 

Haas: No, she was much younger. She was my baby sister. 
Lage: Did you tease her? 

Haas: No, I teased Peter. I was pretty nice to her, I think. [laughter] 
I think! 

Lage: Peter got the brunt of it. 
Haas: Peter got the worst of it. 

Lage: I'm still thinking about childhood friends. Were your friends 
mainly family friends? You mentioned the Fleishhackers and 
Schwabachers. 

Haas: They were friends, yes, the sons, the children of my parents' 

friends, Albert Schwabacher, Alan Fleishhacker, and Bob Sinton. It 
seems strange. Sometimes I'm amazed that I turned out to be, I'd 
like to think, as gregarious as I think I am, with as wide a circle 
of friends and interesting friends, because the first sixteen years 
was kind of a vacuum, it seems, almost. 

Lage: Do you remember feeling lonely? You must have at Galileo. 

Haas: No, it was a way of life. I didn't question anything. I did not 

question anything. I think that's the interesting--. I was taught 
to believe in authority. You were expected to go into the family 
business, you were supposed to behave yourself and be understanding 
of other people and respectful to them. That was the way you were 

brought up. 

t 

Lage: Just the way you did it. There was less questioning, I think, in 
that era. 

Haas: There was a lot, but by me, zero. 

Lage: Now, when you got to Galileo, you had kind of a hard time with it. 

Haas: Initially, yes. 

Lage: Were you able to adapt to that? 

Haas: I managed. I graduated too young, again, to go to college, and I'm 
not sure, it seems to me I got quite ill one year, and they took me 
out for a semester. I think I was just overextended. I was quite 
small. I didn't start growing until I was about sixteen, and I was 
undersized and overmatched. And then when I graduated, I took a 
semester of shop, I think, just to keep busy, which I don't remember 
anything about. 



18 



Meeting President Herbert Hoover 



Haas: And then we had an interesting incident. My Grandmother Stern, 
before I went to college, over Christmas took me to New York and 
Washington. That was the time when Herbert Hoover had just been 
defeated but was still in the White House as the lame duck. My 
grandmother's brother, Eugene Meyer, was governor of the Federal 
Reserve Board. So we went to Washington. 

And again, my grandmother was a grande dame, and she would have 
breakfast in bed and sleep late. I was young, and one time I asked 
her if I couldn't, in the morning while she was still in bed, go on 
one of these Throttlebottom tours of the White House, just take a 
tour through. She said, "Go ahead." 

So the next morning, I went out and went to the east gate, or 
wherever you go, and went through. At the end of the trip, the 
guide said, "Is there a Mr. Walter Haas, Jr., in the group?" And I 
hadn't taken any ashtrays, but I was very worried. [laughter] They 
put me in a room, and I sat there about twenty minutes and got more 
and more nervous. 

Finally, they said, "Mr. Haas, come this way," and I went in 
another room. After about fifteen minutes I got quite concerned, 
and there was a man at a desk, and I went and asked him what I was 
waiting for. He kind of smiled and said, "Sit down, don't worry." 

Pretty soon I saw a couple of distinguished looking men coming 
out of another door I hadn't noticed, and this secretary said, "Come 
this way," and there I was. He said, "Mr. President, this is Walter 
Haas, Jr." It was Herbert Hoover, who was the lame duck president. 
And of course, my great-uncle Eugene Meyer had arranged it. 

I didn't know what to say. He said, "Where are you from, young 
man?" I lied a little and said, "I'm from Palo Alto, California, 
sir." He said, "Well, I'll be back there soon myself." I said, 
"Yes, we can't wait, Mr. President." [laughter] Trying to say the 
right thing. And that was the end of my visit to the White House. 

Lage: That was the first of the presidents you've known. 

Haas: Yes, that was the first. Can you imagine that? 

Lage: That must have been kind of overwhelming. 

Haas: Yes, it was overwhelming. But I remember that. 



19 



Campfire Stories; Three Generations of Fishing and Pack Trips 

Lage: We didn't talk about fishing and packing with your father. When did 
that come? 

Haas: That was certainly in those years. The first thing I rememberand 
it brings up an incident- -was a pack trip to the Sierra Nevadas with 
Dad, my brother, myself, and I think Stanley Sinton and his son Bob, 
and Bob Koshland and his son Bob, and I don't know who else. I 
remember it well, because we went with a very famous packer, Earl 
McKee , and the cook was Al Savage . He was very famous in those 
days . 

Lage: You mean you even knew of them in those days? 

Haas: You heard of them, yes, they were packers. Two things about it: 

one, I loved it, and I took to the outdoor life. My brother never 
did. 

Lage: He didn't like it? 

Haas: For some reason, it didn't capture him. 

I don't know if this story comes now or later, but I know we 
went in, and Earl McKee told Dad, "You know, you've got to take the 
rivet off the crotch of your Levi's." Dad said, "Why? Will it 
scratch the saddles or the furniture or something?" Earl said, "By 
the end of the trip, you'll know." It was about a ten-day trip. 

We'd have a campfire every night, and we'd tell stories, and 
one night it was pretty cool. Earl said, "Let's get up and warm our 
hands." We all stood around the fire, and he had a long story. He 
said, "Oh, why don't we all go and sit down?" Of course, copper 
conducts heat, and Dad sat down and jumped ten feet in the air. 
That rivet in the crotch was red-hot! And the next Monday, the 
rivet came off the crotch, and that's how fashion is made. I was 
there, and that's a true story. 

Lage: That's a great story. Earl knew how to affect decision-making. 

Haas: He sure did. That's put down as maybe part of the lore, but it 
happened. I was there. 

And then I remember subsequently, Dad took Peter and me up on 
the McKenzie River in Oregon. We stayed at Thompson's Lodge, which 
was the only lodge in the place. That's where we first met Prince 



20 

Helfrich. Princethat ' s another story. He was not a prince, but 
that was his name. He has four sons, all guides, and now his 
grandsons have guided me up in Oregon. But the point of the story 
is that we went up to British Columbia, we fished, and again my 
brother never picked it up. 

Lage: Just didn't like it? 

Haas: And that was the start of my friendship with Prince and my love of 
the outdoors. 

Lage: How old were you when these things happened, your first pack trip? 

Haas: I would guess the pack trip was when I was about eleven, and this is 
probably a year or so after that. 

Lage: I see, so you were young. Now, your father was interested in fly 
fishing. 

Haas: Oh, he loved to fly fish, and my mother was a pretty good fly 

fisherman. But she went along with him, not as enthusiastically as 
Evie goes along with me, but she did it. 

Lage: She mentions that in her oral history, but she didn't make it sound 
like it was really her cup of tea. 

Haas: It was not her cup of tea, no. 

So that was the start of a lifelong activity that's brought me 
immense pleasure and an enormous number of friends. We're supposed 
to go fishing the next couple of weeks from now with my neighbor in 
Montana, Tom Brokaw. This is the kind of thing that happens. 

Lage: Fishing is a great kind of bonding experience, don't you think? 

Haas: There are a lot of romantic things written about it, but you do get 
out in beautiful parts of the world, and you appreciate nature and 
see wild game and have a lot of time to reflect on whatever it is 
that occupies your mind. 

Lage: Are you a fly fisherman who throws his fish back in? 
Haas: Yes. We believe in catch and release now. 

I look back on some of the trips we've had, because we took a 
lot of trips with our children. When I look back on pictures of 
these, where we'd have fifty little seven-inch trout proudly 
displayed on a rope, it turns my stomach, because we never keep 
anything now. 



21 

Lage: That change has occurred over time. 

Haas: Yes. You have the fun of catching them. 

Lage: How about hunting? Did you ever get involved in hunting? 

Haas: No. I've been a guest sometimes bird hunting. I never enjoyed it. 
I liked it because they liked me because I couldn't hit the broad 
side of a barn. They'd shoot my limit and then give it to me. 
[laughter] And we like wild duck once in a while. 

Lage: But hunting didn't interest you or catch your fancy. 
Haas: No. 

Lage: Now, those pack trips with your dad: was that an experience where 
you and he got closer? 

Haas: Obviously, yes. But I just don't--he was such an outstanding man, 
such a fine businessman, such great integrity, such a good public 
citizen. I have nothing but the highest regard and respect and 
affection for him, love. But I don't think we were particularly 
close, the way I feel with my children. 

Lage: I think that's almost a generational thing too, maybe. 

Haas: I think it is. We didn't share a lot of time and a lot of thoughts. 
We'd go on the camping trip, have a great time, and then we'd come 
home and resume the routine, whatever it was. 



The Culture Side; Music and Menuhin, and Art and Rivera 



Haas: It's important to try to understand--! didn't have any special 
friends, any special--. We were sent to school in Switzerland. 

Lage: When was that? 

Haas: Well, I think I was twelve, and Peter was nine. We were sent to 
Ecole Internationale, learned a little French. 

Lage: Was this summer, or during the school year? 

Haas: I think my parents were traveling in Europe and kind of parked us. 
That's the way we did things then. 



22 

Lage: This might have been '29, your mother mentions a trip to Europe 
where she took you. 

Haas: Probably. I'd have been thirteen, and that's about right. I think 
that's when I had my first date, my first love. I was in the 
school, and she was--I don't know, that school or wherever. I just 
remember that was my first girl. I remember we'd have to get up in 
our pajamas in the snow and run around for five minutes or 
something. Pretty strict school. No harm done. 

Lage: And speaking French all the time? 

Haas: I don't think all the time, that I remember, but we learned a 
little. It was just-- 

Lage: You don't seem to remember it with a lot of joy. 

Haas: No. I remember the girl, but outside of that, it was just as I say. 
We had a--I think my mother traveled with a companion, a Miss 
Driscoll, Agnes Driscoll, who was a trained nurse, who kind of 
looked after us while they traveled through Europe when we were 
traveling with them. That's the kind of thing it was, somebody to 
take care of us while they had their social life and whatever. And 
they put us in school for a couple of months, and I think that was 
about it . 

Lage: Did your mother encourage you to learn about art and music? 

Haas: They tried. But I rebelled. I remember they thought I should play 
a musical instrument--! 'm glad you asked--so my mother went to some 
friend of hers in the orchestra who looked at my physique, my hands, 
and decided I should either play the flute or the cello. The flute 
or the cello? [laughter] My god! Why, I don't know, the shape of 
my hands, or something. 

So they decided on the cello, and then Mr. Villaponda was the 
teacher. Villaponda his name was, and he was the number-one cellist 
in the San Francisco Symphony. Well, I'd saw away, I had no 
interest. I had to practice on Saturday afternoon when all the kids 
were down at Julius Kahn [playground] playing baseball and I could 
have been playing tennis. I faked it all the way; I'd take comic 
books up to the third floor of our house and make music for five 
minutes before and after. After a year or so, that didn't work out. 

And I remember people like Pierre Monteaux, who was a 
conductor, coming to our house and my grandmother's house, and I 
remember being exposed to children's symphonies. I resisted and 
resented, but they tried. 



23 

Lage: Well, your mother indicates that your father wasn't too keen on 
music. 

Haas: No, he wasn't. I'd like to emulate him in a lot of ways, but 

unfortunately, one that I do emulate him in is this lack of interest 
in cultural things. 

Lage: There are some stories in, I guess it's your mother's oral history, 
about Yehudi Menuhin. Do you recall that? 

Haas: Yes, I do, kind of. Good for you! Grandmother Haas, strangely 

enough, knew both Yehudi Menuhin and Shirley Temple. How she got to 
know them, I don't know. I think she befriended the Menuhin family. 
And I remember going to my Grandmother Haas ' s on a Sunday and 
playing whatever we played in those days with Yehudi and Shirley. 
Now, I know Shirley [Temple] Black. She lives up in Woodside now. 
I don't know if she recalls those days. But I distinctly remember 
knowing them, both child prodigies. 

Lage: How old was Yehudi compared with you? 

Haas: We're about the same age, and Shirley's a year or two younger, I 
guess. Pretty close. 

Lage: And there's also a story about Diego Rivera. 

Haas: Oh, gosh. Yes, that son of a gun. My grandmother [Rosalie Stern] 

decided that she wanted a mural painted by Diego Rivera in Atherton. 
So she got Diego Rivera to live in Atherton for however long it 
took, two or three months. And he brought his mistress. I don't 
think Granny would admit that this lady was his mistress, but 
anyhow, that was that. 

He wanted both me and my brother and sister to be in the mural. 
I remember he had me in a kneeling position, and he was very 
insensitive to the fact that I was a young boy and I was very 
uncomfortable and hot and it took forever. I was afraid to move--I 
remember it very well--I was just uncomfortable. I don't remember 
it very favorably. He had me posing there forever. Anyhow, the 
mural was completed, and it was put in her dining room. Now it's 
over in Stern Hall in Berkeley. 

Lage: Oh, it got moved over to Stern Hall? 

Haas: Yes. 

Lage: And your brother and sister are in it also? 

Haas: Yes. Peter is there. 



24 

Lage: Your mother remembered, I believe, that your sister also was in it. 

Haas: I'm pretty sure my sister's in it, and I'm trying to think--! think 
it was my brother, or my sister, who had an imaginary friend. One 
of them told Diego about it, and the friend is also in it. As a 
matter of fact, out in front there is a sculpture of my mother, and 
I think it's Peter and myself, done by Beniamino Bufano. 

Lage: Did I go right past it without looking? 

Haas: Yes. I'll show it when you leave. But it was of my mother, and my 
mother had a little--! call it a little secret garden where she 
could go in Atherton here, where she could go and just--she had a 
studio, and she was an artist, and she'd go there. When she passed 
away, we kind of tossed coins for the special things, and this is 
one that we won. You'll have to see it. 

You reminded me, and that's good, because I tried to remember 
things, but I missed a lot. 

Lage: That's what I'm for. If we do this together, we may come up with 
things . 



Ansel Adams, and Other Family Friends 

Lage: Okay, a couple of other people: you mentioned Ansel Adams. 
Haas: Yes. Ansel Adams, and then Albert Bender. 
Lage: Were they part of your childhood? 

Haas: Albert Bender was a funny little Irish Jewish guy who talked through 
his nose. I have a picture of him here from my parents at Stern 
Grove. I didn't know Albert very well. He was around a lot. He 
was a great friend of my parents and my Grandmother Stern, Granny. 
He shared their interest in a lot of things in San Francisco. He 
was very much involved in the cultural life of the city. As I 
recall, he had an insurance business and handled all the Levi 
Strauss insurance from when we were very small until when my 
brother-in-law came into the insurance business. Then Dad took all 
the insurance away from Albert Bender and gave it to my brother-in- 
law, which I thought at the time was a very unfair thing to do, but 
that's beside the point. But Albert Bender was a funny little man 
and a very nice man. 



25 

Ansel Adams: that's quite a story. He was four or five years 
older than I am, or maybe a little more. He'd come around a lot, 
and he could have been either a great photographer or a concert 
pianist. 

Lage: I've heard he was a wonderful pianist. 

Haas: He would come to the house, I remember, to Granny's house, and take 
a pair of oranges and play the piano. He'd play a tune on the black 
keys. Amazing, amazing! And of course, he loved the Sierras and 
loved the outdoors, and was a wonderful photographer, a great 
friend. 

Lage: How did he get to know your family? 

Haas: I don't know. 

Lage: I think he grew up nearby. 

Haas: He probably did, but I don't know. He was a kind of a young talent 
that they'd be apt to befriend. Anyway, I know, jumping ahead, we 
kind of kept in touch with him but not really. I don't know how it 
happened, but one day- -I think we asked him to come and photograph 
our place on the Rogue River, and he said, "I'm not doing that stuff 
anymore . " 

Lage: This was much later we're talking about? 

Haas: Oh, yes, just before he died, I believe. Much later. But he said, 
"Why don't you come down to Big Sur and spend a night with me, and 
pick out anything you want?" If you'll notice, in my office I have 
six beautiful Ansel Adams photographs which he sold me for a song. 
But on that visit he took us through all the laboratories, and we 
met his assistants. He said, "I'm getting too arthritic and I'm 
giving up this work." We had a wonderful evening with him and 
Virginia. But I really do remember him for playing the piano with a 
pair of oranges. 

it 

Lage: I didn't really ask you about politics in these years. Did that get 
discussed around the family table? 

Haas: Probably. I remember Henry Kuchel. Was it Henry? It was Kuchel, I 
remember that. Kuchel was a liberal Republican, and I remember-- 

Lage: Tom Kuchel. 



26 

Haas: Tom Kuchel, thank you. Tom Kuchel was invited to Dad's house in 

Atherton, and I was there, and after dinner I guess the ladies left 
and we were talking politics. Dad was his financial manager, 
fundraiser. So Tom was somewhat beholden to my father. I remember 
Dad saying something, and Tom said, "Walter, you're wrong, you don't 
know what you're talking about." And I thought, Boy, now there's a 
guy with guts. [laughter] 

Lage: How did your dad take that? 

Haas: Very well. It wasn't quite that blunt, but it was-- 

Lage: That was the message. 

Haas: That was the message. And of course, I do remember now, on Sunday 
Mom and Dad would often, in Atherton--this is later in years--! 
don't know if it was every Sunday, but quite frequently during the 
summertime they would have a group of people for lunch. They were 
interesting people, people from Stanford and educators and 
politicians and whatever. That was fun, I enjoyed that. I think I 
was probably in high school by then. 

Lage: Well, that must have broadened your horizons. 

Haas: Yes. They knew a lot of people from different walks of life, and we 
were privileged to be part of that scene. 



Family Traditions 



Lage: I don't know where I ran across this little phrase, whether it was 
in your--you know, your brother has done an oral history for the 
Jewish Community Endowment Fund. 1 Either there or in one of the 
other oral histories of your family, the phrase was used, "the 
weight of family tradition." Did you have a sense of a weight on 
your shoulders as you were a young man growing up? 

Haas: No, I was very conscious of the family responsibilities or the 
family tradition, but it was never a weight. 



'Peter Haas, President, Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, 
the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, 1977-1978, Regional Oral History 
Office, University of California, Berkeley, 1994. 



27 

[Interview 2: August 26, 1994] ## 
Lage: Another thing from your listyou mentioned Madeleine and a pool? 

Haas: Yes. My grandmother's property in Atherton actually is part of 

three pieces, three adjoining pieces. One was owned by the Clarence 
Hellers, and the other was owned by my cousin, Charles Haas. He 
died young, but his children, Madeleine and Bill, my contemporaries, 
lived there. That property is still there, but the Stern property 
and Heller property have been subdivided. 

Madeleine had a pool and a tennis court, and the pool was kind 
of the centerpiece of our social life, and when we were young all my 
friends spent a lot of time there. I can't think of being a 
youngster without remembering that pool. [laughter] In fact, we're 
going there for lunch this Sunday. 

Lage: So that's an ongoing relationship from way back? 

Haas: Yes. 

Lage: You also mentioned "Fourth of July, traditional get-together." 

Haas: Oh, that's now, here at this place, we have a family gathering on 
the Fourth of July. I usually barbecue ribs and chicken, and we 
have about thirty, forty people, kids and their friends, and friends 
of friends. Mostly now, friends from the baseball team. Evie works 
hard when she gives parties, and I think they look forward to it. 

Actually, our oldest granddaughter's birthday celebration 
started that. She was born the fifth of July. When my daughter-in- 
law, Julie, was pregnant with our first grandchild, I think she was 
starting to deliver on the third of July, and we were waiting and 
waiting all the Fourth for word, and never heard it, and they forgot 
to call us. Then finally Simone appeared on the fifth, after a 
birth in the country by a midwife. It came out fine, but I remember 
it was kind of a traumatic experience. 

Lage: Is this your oldest son's child? 

Haas: Our youngest, Wally. He got married first, and he has three 

children, Simone, Charlotte, and Walter III. My oldest son, Bob, 
only has one, Elise, and Betsy has two children, Jesse and Sarah. 

Lage: But you started the Fourth of July celebration for Simone. 
Haas: Yes. 



28 
An Appreciative Aside on Evelyn Haas 



Haas: I wanted to go back to one thing about my wife, when I talked about 
her, and I guess that's her unswerving integrity, sense of value, 
which is something very special. I can only explain it by little 
things. For instance, we'll accept a dinner invitation we don't 
care that much about, and then a couple of weeks later something 
really glamorous will come along, and I'll say, "Come on, let's 
switch," and she'll never, never do that after she's made a 
commitment. I've got to admire her, because I don't have that kind 
of backbone. 

And the other instance that I remember very well--. I'm kind 
of a name-dropper. I love being friends with people with national 
or international importance. If I drop their names in conversation, 
I get fined ten cents every time I do it. [laughter] 

Lage: She fines you ten cents? 

Haas: Yes. I haven't paid yet, but she makes it very evident that I've 
been name-dropping. 

I remember very well we were invited--we have this group of 
college friends that I was mentioning we went on camping trips to 
the Sierra with, and they invited us to go skiing with them in 
Aspen. We don't care that much about skiing, and we'd refused. And 
then one of them, Bob [Robert S.] McNamara was appointed secretary 
of defense, and so I said, "Evie, come on, let's change our mind, 
let's go and ski with a cabinet member." She wouldn't do it. 
[laughter] "No, you can go next year, but we turned it down, we're 
not going to go." And I thought that was pretty impressive. 

Lage: I think it's nice that you appreciate it, also. 

Haas: Well, I'm not giving very good examples, but she has a sense of 

values that's instinctively very correct. And great integrity. I 
benefit from it. 



Ira Hirschfield 



Haas: Now, the other thing I want to mention- -earlier I was mentioning 
people of importance to me--and one of the most important is Ira 
Hirschfield. Ira is currently head of our family foundation [the 
Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr., Fund], but there's a lot more to it 
than that . 



29 



As a young man, Ira worked in Lev! Strauss & Co. in our 
Community Affairs Department and then for our foundation, which was 
very small at the time. Of course, it thrived under his leadership, 
to the point where he was hired by David Rockefeller to be director 
of philanthropy at the Rockefeller Family Fund. That's a complex 
foundation; it was really like running about fifty different funds, 
all with different objectives. Ira was getting a national 
reputation. 

When my mother passed away in 1990, the money we were going to 
receive as individuals we put in our foundation, and it became a 
major foundation. In fact, it's now one of the hundred largest 
private foundations in the country, and it's just happened 
relatively recently. So I went to New York and persuaded Ira to 
come back here. So he runs our foundation now. 

Ira is one of the brightest and most sensitive people I know. 
He is a workaholic. It's hard to get him to take a vacation, and 
he's always busydays, nights, and weekends. Although he leads all 
aspects of our foundation, he is an advisor and counselor to me, to 
all members of my family, and virtually everyone else connected with 
us or part of the philanthropic community. He is a community 
resource and recognized as such. And he's an integral part of my 
activities in every way. He goes way beyond the foundation. 



30 



II COLLEGE YEARS: UC BERKELEY AND HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL, 
1933-1939 



Cal Friendships and Loyalties, Bowles Hall and Alpha Delta Phi 



Lage: Now, next on the list here is Cal, and we have a piece that you've 
written for a book to be edited by Jean [Mrs. Irving] Stone [see 
Appendix C], which really covers the waterfront pretty well, 
although I do think there are a few details we should fill in. But 
we're going to include this, which gives a nice narrative. 

Of course, the one question I have you say you can't answer, 
and that is the source of the loyalty to Cal, and the emotional 
attachment. 

Haas: I don't know. I've thought of it many, many times, and I've 

discussed it with people like Roger Heyns, the former chancellor 
[1965-1971] . 

Lage: And he came from another large state-supported university. 

Haas: He came from Michigan. He and Charlie [Charles] Hitch came at the 
same time, and I guess then Bob McNamara was involved in my life to 
a great degree. He wrote his friend Vernon Goodin about these two 
people and suggested he have a few friends in to meet the new key 
people at Cal, and Evie and I were invited. We got friendly with 
Charlie Hitch, but we hit it off with Roger Heyns extremely well, 
and I guess he may be my best friend now. We do a lot of things 
together. 

Lage: You go to the Cal football games together. 

Haas: [laughs] We go to Cal games, and we visit a lot. But in any event, 
we met, and I subsequently gave a party for them. At that party I 
asked Roger this question about the roots of the loyalty that was 
bothering me, even though he was new at Cal. He couldn't think of 



31 

any answer. He said, "Maybe it's Bob [Robert Gordon] Sproul." 
That's about the best answer I've gotten. 

I don't know, because it's a large, impersonal state 
university, and one thing I did want to fill in here was the 
friendships I built at Cal, because that was the start of lifelong 
friendships. I mentioned earlier Jean and Bob Coop. 

Lage: You mentioned them, but you didn't really tell me the connection or 
very much about them. 

Haas: Jean was vice president of our class. Bob and I lived together at 
Bowles Hall, and had the Yellow Peril. 

Lage: What was the Yellow Peril? 

Haas: The Yellow Peril was a 1915 Cadillac Phaeton. Bob was one of five 
partners who owned the Yellow Peril. We lived at Bowles Hall. We 
met when I was a freshman and he was a junior, on a rushing party. 
But we both decidedor maybe they decidedso we didn't join a 
fraternity, we lived at Bowles Hall. 

Lage: What was Bowles Hall like? 

Haas: It was very plush. We would have a suite of three rooms, two 

bedrooms and a living room in between, and my first roommate was 
Stan Brunsten, whom I've completely lost track of since I got out of 
college, although he was also one of the owners of the Yellow Peril. 
I don't remember if we roomed together for two years, I don't 
remember the second year. It was very comfortable. 

Lage: Was there a sense of community in the hall, as you'd find in a 
fraternity? 

Haas: Well, it was bigger. I don't think so. I guess there was some 

sense of community. It was bigger, and I was perfectly happy there, 
and I was rather surprised when some friends at the end of my 
sophomore year asked me to consider joining Alpha Delta Phi, which 
I'm very happy I did, because I thoroughly enjoyed that. That's 
where I made so many good friends. Bill [William A.] Hewitt and I 
roomed together, and then roomed together at Harvard. He was an 
usher at my wedding, and I was an usher at his wedding. Next week 
we're going to his eightieth birthday party. 

And of course, the Goodins, Vernon and Marion- -Mar ion Sproul 
Goodin--we met through college. And Kate and Dyke [Franklin M. ) 
Brown- -he was a Rhodes scholar, he was a couple of years older. 

Lage: Did you meet him at Bowles, or through the fraternity? 



32 

Haas: At Bowles, yes. And Dr. Willard Goodwin, and Mary Jo, who recently 
passed away. Willard is having a tough time now because he's 
retired, and he's in poor shape physically and one thing and 
another. 

But this is the group that we would go camping in the Sierras 
with and skiing. Our kids never became close, which was 
disappointing for me, because first of all, we went on these Sierra 
trips, and as our kids got older, they'd come. Most of the other 
children took to the hiking and the outdoors, and mine didn't. So-- 
well, that's fair enough. 

Lage: You have to really like it to do it. 

Haas: The point is, that really started in college, and it was an 
important part of my life. 

Lage: And it sounded, from what you said last time, that you had a great 
sense that your life opened up at Cal. 

Haas: I did. I blossomed. 1 The first year at Cal was difficult. I had 
my little problem with my father-- [laughing] 

Lage: Yes, I loved that story about your grades and your father. [See 
Appendix C. ] 

Haas: Yes, but he was right. He was strict, and he had high expectations. 



College Tennis, and Academics 



Haas: And tennis, I really learned I think more from the competition and 
winning and losing than from classes. 

Lage: You mentioned your coach, but not his name. 



'In refreshing my memory for this account, I reviewed my father's oral 
history. I was struck by the completely opposite experiences we had in 
college, although we both went to Cal. He wrote that he had literally no 
friends on campus and in fact arranged his schedule so he would have no 
Saturday classes and could come home to San Francisco to be with his 
parents over the weekends. I, on the other hand, blossomed during my days 
as an undergraduate, seldom came home, and got involved in a large number 
of activities. I made a host of friends, many of whom remain special to 
this day.--WAH 3/27/95 



33 

Haas: Tom Stowe. Tom Stowe was a great tennis coach. He coached Helen 
Wills and Don Budge and Helen Jacobs and Wally Haas . He was known 
for developing great backhands, and he was very innovative. He 
developed new court surfaces, and he developed practice machines 
that would return the ball to you, and he even developed, I think, a 
kind of a tent that you could put up so you could play if it rained, 
because in those days you just played in the outdoors. I spent 
almost every day of my life while I was in college at the Berkeley 
Tennis Club, where Tom was the pro. 

Lage: Was there a lot of back and forth between the Cal tennis team and 
the Berkeley Tennis Club? 

Haas: Yes. At least some of us. 

I don't know if I mentioned the Northwest tours, but in the 
summertime for two years a group of us would go up to the Pacific 
Northwest and play in the Oregon State championships and the 
Washington State championships and the British Columbia Canadian 
championships and so forth. We weren't good enough for the Eastern 
tour, but it was just wonderful, wonderful fun. 

I got a letter just last week from this woman who is at the 
Seattle Tennis Club, which was our favorite, having followed me I 
guess through the baseball team, and having seen my son's picture on 
the cover of Business Week [September 12, 1994], and she recalled 
the old days. I was delighted to hear, because I do remember 
Seattle and the girls, and her letter says they always hoped it 
would rain so they'd spend more time with the visiting athletes, 
because I guess to them, that was an exciting time, and for us, we 
were treated most hospitably everywhere, kind of visiting jocks or 
whatever. [laughter] 

Lage: It sounds like it was a lot of fun. 
Haas: It was grand. 

Lage: You mentioned professors, just by name, in the narrative that we're 
going to include. Would there be more to say? I know my father 
used to talk about Ira B. Cross. 

Haas: He was in economics. I don't remember them very well, except [Ben] 
Lehman, and that was great because I got interested in good 
literature. 

Lage: What was your major? 

Haas: Economics, in L & S [Letters and Science]. I don't know, I seemed 
to be very unaware of a lot of things around me. 



34 

Lage: Don't you think a lot of college students are? [laughing] 

Haas: Well, I don't think they are now, but I really am almost embarrassed 
that I didn't take more advantage of many of the opportunities of 
meeting the professors. I was a good student, I graduated I think 
as an honors student, but I studied because I had to. I didn't get 
great joy out of my classes. 

Lage: Well, some people say college is wasted on the young. 

Haas: Yes, right. Well, it's a wonderful experience, and I had one of the 
best times in my life, but I don't think the studies were the-- 

Lage: Academics weren't the focus. 
Haas: They were not the focus. 



Levi's Jeans, the Uniform of the College Sophomore 



Lage: I know that Levi's 1 were the uniform of the college sophomore men at 
Cal. Was that true when you were a student as well? 

Haas: Yes. It started about then. It was blue jeans, really, I guess. 
And the upper classmen had corduroys. And I know we had a 
sophomore- freshmen brawl where there was a big fountain--! don't 
know if it's in Sproul Plaza or wherever- -but we tried to dump the 
other guys into the fountain. I don't remember it very well. I was 
involved but I was kind of on the fringe, I wasn't a warrior. 

Lage: But blue jeans were daily wearing apparel. 

Haas: Oh, yes, you wore them every day. And the upperclassmen wore 

corduroys until they stood up in the corner. But you couldn't be 
seen as an underclassman in a pair of corduroys. 

Lage: What about freshmen? What did they wear? 

Haas: I don't remember. I don't think they had a uniform. They just wore 
whatever. They couldn't wear the other two. 



'Levi's is a registered trademark of Levi Strauss & Co., referring to 
the company's products. It is incorrectly used as an abbreviation for the 
company name and should be followed by the name of the product, i.e., 
Levi's jeans or Levi's garments. Colloquial uses of the name in the 
conversational context of this interview have been retained, however. 



35 
Retrospection on Alumni Support, and on Sports 

Lage: Now, tell me about Bob Sproul. You said he was a family friend. 
Haas: Yes, and my parents knew him and Ida. 

Lage: Did you have much contact with him other than that one incident that 
you talked about? [re signing the petition; see appendix C.] 

Haas: That one horrible incident. Not really. No, I saw more of him 

afterwards because we knew Marion [ Sproul 's daughter] and would go 
to their house. I remember his big booming voice, and kind of an 
overwhelming presence. He was a good man. Great president. And 
then like so many people like that, the twilight of his career ended 
with a little shadow over the controversy of the loyalty oath. It's 
too bad, after a distinguished career, there's a little shadow. But 
he was terrific. 

Lage: Let me ask you again about Roger Heyns. Did he agree that Berkeley 
had a greater alumni support than Michigan, for instance? Did he 
see a difference? 

Haas: I don't think there's necessarily a lot of alumni support. In fact, 
for a large alumni body, I don't think they've been very supportive. 
I don't think they've been asked for support properly, until 
recently. Now there is a huge drive going on, (headed by my 
brother), just following another major fundraising effort. But for 
a student body of that size, I think the previous administrations 
have been very neglectful. 

Lage: In reaching out? 

Haas: They haven't been reaching out for funds is what I'm talking about 
now. And of course, they need help with the legislature all the 
time. I just question how effective they've been. 

Lage: So you think more could be done along those lines. 

Haas: More should have been done. I don't know about now. They're 

certainly having terrible budget problems, and I can understand the 
problem with the legislature. But somehow or other, those 
relationships are so crucial thatI'm not in a position to be 
critical, but I think the ground work should have been laid long ago 
better than it has been. 

Lage: Yes, you're right. Maybe getting more Cal grads into the 
legislature would help. 



36 

Haas: Something like that, sure. 

Lage: That's changed, the amount of political support? 

Haas: Yes. 

Lage: Okay. What about football? You mentioned to me, and this isn't in 
the narrative, the rooting section. 

Haas: Well, it's just that in those days you had a male rooting section 
and a female rooting section, and we didn't have very good teams. 

Lage: Oh, you didn't? I thought you had some good teams when you were 
there. 

Haas: Oh, no. We never--! don't think we even beat Stanford. I don't 

even remember if we beat them the last year. All I know is the year 
I went to Harvard, we went to the Rose Bowl, so we were building the 
team. 

Lage: The year you were gone. 
Haas: Yes, after I left. 

Lage: Stub Allison came on as football coach during your time, so maybe 
you were there during the building years. 

Haas: Well, I don't think Stub was building much of anything. It's hard 

to think back, except going to the game was a ritual and fun, and we 
never missed them. We saw a few good games. 

Lage: Did you follow baseball in those days? 

Haas: No. That's another story. I never really--! love sports. 

Lage: I'm beginning to see that. 

Haas: Now tennis was my sport, and then I loved--we'd go occasionally to 
wrestling matches, one of the fellows at Bowles Hall was on the 
wrestling team. 

Lage: But baseball wasn't one that you followed, even though Cal had a 
pretty good team in that era, apparently? 

Haas: I guess I didn't. 

Lage: What about politics on campus? 

Haas: I didn't get involved. My friends did. 



37 

Lage: You said Jean Coop got involved, was it? 

Haas: No, she got involved in the general strike. I think Vernon Goodin 
and Willard Goodwin ran for some student body office, and of course 
killed each other, because their names were virtually the same. But 
they were members of various honor societies and so forth, and more 
active on campus activities than I was. I just went to class, and I 
played tennis, and I didn't have time for this sort of stuff, or the 
interest. 



Jewish Identity 



Lage: With the fraternity, you mentioned you were the first Jewish member. 
Was that a big controversy? 

Haas: Well, no. [pauses] I guess when I was there as a freshman, I was 
rushed. And if I hadn't been Jewish, I would have been asked to 
join a fraternity. But I wasn't. So this was kind of a 
breakthrough, I guess, at the time. I didn't join because of that. 

Lage: But you were aware of it. 

Haas: I was very aware of it, and I think it--I shouldn't say the 

fraternity didn't have Jewish members, maybe in other chapters in 
other parts of the country, but they hadn't to my knowledge had one 
at Cal. I never felt uncomfortable about it particularly, or 
embarrassed. I guess there were certain situations-- 

Lage: How about mad? Did you ever feel mad about it? 

Haas: That's a good question. Yes, I guess I did. I guess I was angry 
when I was at a disadvantage as a freshman, because I thought that 
probably being a fraternity member had a little more, I don't know, 
prestige or opportunity. We were just in a dormitory. 

Lage: Had that been anything you'd been prepared for by your family? Had 
you had a sense that you might run into that? 

Haas: No, that's a good question. No, I hadn't been particularly 

conscious of anything. We weren't particularly religious, but I 
never denied my background. We didn't go to temple, and I think- - 

ft 

Haas: Prior to that there was no great sense of identity. 



38 

Lage: But had your parents given you some sense that there may be 
discrimination out there? 

Haas: I don't remember that. I know they were very supportive of Israel, 
and very generous to the temple and other community needs, Jewish 
community needs. So there's no question of identity. 

But I remember, I was surprised, as a matter of fact, on one of 
my Northwest tennis tours I really got very fond of a young woman, 
and she seemed to be quite fond of me, and then after a while she 
wouldn't see me, and she never gave me a reason. I've reflected on 
it, and I think probably because I was Jewish her parents didn't 
want her to see me. 

So I was aware of it, I was conscious of it, but it was not 
distressing or upsetting. 

Lage: You had so much going for you. 

Haas: Well, I've had a very lucky life, you know, I have. As I say, I've 
perhaps been unaware of a lot of things, but it didn't bother me. 

Lage: Okay, is there anything else about Cal that you want to mention, or 
the time at Cal? You mentioned the 1934 General Strike. Now, this 
must have affected Levi Strauss in some way also. Was that part of 
your consciousness at the time? 

Haas: No. Dad didn't bring it home. 
Lage: And you, of course, were away. 
Haas: I was across the bay. 

Well, I think that probably covers Cal. 
Lage: We can always come back. 

Haas: That's good, because when I review it I keep thinking of things. 
I've been adding things. 



Robert McNamara 

Lage: You've mentioned Robert McNamara several times. You met him at Cal? 
Haas: Yes. 



39 

Lage : And where did you meet him? 

Haas: He was very close to some of my fraternity brothers. 

Lage: But he wasn't a member of your fraternity? 

Haas: No, but he really liked our house better than his own, I think. 

Lage: What was he like in those days? 

Haas: Well, he was like he is now, misunderstood. [laughter] Brilliant, 
intellectually outstanding, and really kind of warm and friendly. 

Lage: Did he like sports? Was he a sports follower? 

Haas: No, he wasn't. And it's so strange, because here I was a jock and 

they were the serious students involved in school politics, and then 
thirty years later, I'm not really doing much in the way of 
athletics, and Bob is climbing all over the world. 

Lage: Oh, really? I didn't know that. 

Haas: Yes. Well, we started in the Sierras together. Almost every year 

after the war, the McNamaras, Goodins, Goodwins, and ourselves would 
go on a pack trip into the Sierra. Our equipment would be brought 
in by pack train and we would hike over high mountain passes, 
sometimes over 10,000 feet. We usually started our trip from Bishop 
and hiked to the John Muir Trail to the Awhanee Hotel in Yosemite. 
We climbed Mt. Whitney a couple of times and I enjoyed catching 
small trout in Sierra streams for hors d'oeuvres at dinnertime. The 
others preferred climbing some of the mountains. We were usually 
entertained at the end of our trip by Mrs. Tressider, but getting to 
the Awhanee was a greatly-anticipated goal. The girls would borrow 
hair dryers from the waitresses, and all of us looked forward to 
that first martini. 

Now Bob is still hiking high altitudes. I think he climbs in 
the Himalayas . 

I remember when we were both trustees of the Ford Foundation, 
he'd stay at the River Club, and he and Margie would ask Evie and me 
to come over and have breakfast, and the four of us would play 
tennis. Of course, the first time I went, I wore my Big C sweater 
to intimidate him, which I did. [laughter] He was very 
enthusiastic, but they weren't very good, and we could always beat 
them. 

We did that every three months. It was typical of Bob, when 
I'd hit a ball orwell, he didn't have a chance to get it, but he 



40 

would never give up trying to get a ball that was completely out of 
reach. I can tell a lot about Bob, and I admire him. 

It's interesting, I just got a letter from another author who 
wants to write a book about him, and asked about the Cal days--I 
think this is appropriate--! said that I really couldn't tell him 
much about Cal, because we only got to be friendly as seniors, and I 
didn't know his parents, and I didn't know his background. But we 
worked together closely at Harvard, and then we really got to be 
friends afterwards when we were on several different boards 
together. 

We're kind of segueing into Harvard. He [McNamara] didn't want 
a roommate, so Bill Hewitt and I roomed together. Bob was across 
the hall. At Harvard, you study by the case method, so you form 
little groups, and the three of us plus Dan Lisberger became a study 
group. It was fascinating because I think I was a pretty 
conscientious student. And Dan Lisberger was very bright. And it 
would have been easy just to wait for Bob to bring the answers, but 
we worked very hard to get our own solution to a problem. 

I felt it was like climbing the mountains. We would get to the 
top of the foothills, and Bob would just listen, and then when we 
had really thought through all the ramifications we could, Bob would 
take off and climb the mountain. He was just intellectually far 
ahead of anybody in the class. 

Lage: That's a very nice description. You realized it at the time, and 
appreciated his intellect. 

Haas: Yes. And through the years, of course, when he was in the cabinet, 
they'd ask us to stay there, and he'd get a call, and, "Damn, that's 
the White House, I have to go tomorrow for lunch." Everybody was 
envious . 



Surviving Harvard Business School 

Lage: A longtime friendship. Shall we move into Harvard? 
Haas: All right. 

Lage: Tell me why you went to Harvard. Sounds like it was a group of you 
who went, but what was the idea? 



41 

Haas: Well, it was very unusual in those days to go to business school. I 
don't know what caused me to do it, probably a joint discussion with 
my father. 

Lage: But it hadn't been a family pattern, or had it? 

Haas: No, it hadn't been a family pattern, but I think it was traditional 
in those days for the older son to move into the family business. 

Lage: Yes. And you always kind of expected you would do this? 

Haas: I thought I would do that. And I guess we thought that it would be 
the proper preparation, and the best. It really gave you an edge in 
those days. Now it's pretty common, but whether you got anything 
out of it or not, I think the fact that you worked for Standard Oil 
or whoever, and you had a business school degree, at least the 
superiors would note your activities, your progress, keep track of 
how you were doing. So you had an edge. 

Lage: And why Harvard? 

Haas: There was nowhere else. 

Lage: That was it? 

Haas: Yes. I don't think there was Stanford, I don't know. And it was 

the best. As a matter of fact, my introduction to Harvard is worth 
noting, because I was again by then a little more sophisticated, but 
still relatively naive. I remember well my first gatheringit 
wasn't a class--! think the whole class got together and the 
assistant dean greeted us and said, "Gentlemen," and I'd never been 
called a gentleman before. 

He said, "You're gathered here in the finest business school in 
the world. You have the finest professors, you have the best 
curriculum, you have an outstanding situation. You, gentlemen, are 
the cream of the graduates in the United States." It was all men, 
of course. 

"There are a lot of Phi Beta Kappa keys out here, and you've 
been very important in your student body. You're going to get this 
magnificent education, and in two years you're going to get a 
master's degree in business administration, but as far as I'm 
concerned, gentlemen, you're going to be business eunuchs. You're 
going to be able to tell people how to do it, but you're not going 
to be able to do it yourself." 

And that was a great introduction, and I've never forgotten it. 
It really put us in perspective. 



42 

Lage: What was he trying to get across to you? 

Haas: That you weren't as good as you thought you were. That you're going 
to get this degree, and by golly, then you had to prove yourself. 

Lage: I saw in the notes you gave me "business eunuchs," and I thought, 
"What is he talking about?" 

Haas: Yes. That's it. [laughter] And it was really good. 

Lage: Was the East Coast a culture shock for you? 

Haas: Yes. 

Lage: How was it different? 

Haas: Well, I don't know. First of all, Harvard was tough. It was very 
tough for me. 

Lage: The academics? 

Haas: The academics were very tough. You really had to work. I suspect, 
in those days, and maybe still today, part of their strategy was to 
have you prove whether or not you really wanted to get that 
education. You could not, or I could not, succeed without a 
tremendous effort. Weekends, nights, late, hard work. 

Lage: Sounds like the same kind of effort you put into the tennis team, in 
some ways . 

Haas: Yes. Except this time, you had to do it to survive. 

I think they were trying to test us. If you just came in 
because your parents wanted you to or whatever, you weren't going to 
make it. At our introductory lecture the professor told us to each 
look to the right and to the left. One of you won't be here two 
years from now, he said, and that proved to be the case. 



Meeting and Marrying Evelyn Danzig 

Lage: So you spent a lot of time with the books. 

Haas: Yes, you bet you did. And of course, my favorite bit is that people 
would askbecause in those days it was unusual to get the MBA--and 
people would ask, "Well, was it worthwhile? What did you get out of 



43 

Harvard?" Then I'd point to my wife Evie. So I got a lot out of 
Harvard. 

Lage: [laughs] You told me that too, but there must have been other 
things. We'll get to Evie. 

Haas: Well, she's the most important thing. 

Actually, I was saying how hard it was at Harvard. I was 
invited to dinner in New York, before a dance, by Marion Sulzberger 
of the New York Times family. Her parents knew my parents, and we'd 
been seeing a bit of each other, and I think both sets of parents 
were kind of clucking about possibilities; maybe I could have been 
publisher of the New York Times, who knows. But in any event, about 
Friday I called her and I said, "I've just got too much work, I've 
got this term paper, and I've got to get it in, and I can't come 
down to New York, and I'm very sorry." 

She said, "You can't do that, I'm having a dinner and it's in 
your honor, and you've absolutely got to come." So I did. I got on 
the train, and I was studying. At Providence, two very attractive 
girls got on, the same car, and of course, I noticed them, and 
apparently they noticed me because I was studying instead of trying 
to strike up a conversation. 

When I got to New York, I went to dinner and I went to the 
dance, and I noticed both of these girls were at the dance. So I 
cut in on one of them, and I made the mistake of cutting in on the 
wrong one, and I got stuck for about fifteen minutes. When I 
finally was able to disengage, I decided to continue my market 
survey, market research, and I cut in on the other, and inside of 
thirty seconds someone cut in on me. I knew that was the girl. And 
that was Evie. That's how we met. 

Lage: How nice. 

Haas: I think so many things in our lives appear to be coincidences. I 
mean, the fact that I was persuaded to come down when I hadn't 
wanted to, and I get on the same train, in the same car--I don't 
know how you can explain it, but a lot of situations in my life that 
have turned out so well just seem to be happenstance, actually. I 
call them freaks of chance. 

Lage: Yes, and sometimes they shape your whole life. It is a wonderful 
way of looking at things. Now, did you recognize in that thirty 
seconds that Evelyn was someone special? 

Haas: Well, she's damned attractive, and we hit it off well. And of 

course, I went back and had a couple of dances, and quite a number 



44 

of dates. And then the second year I was at Harvard the thirty 
miles away was kind of a chore. I lost most of my friends, because 
she said, "If you're coming down, bring a friend for my roommate or 
my friend," and the girls at Wheaton weren't that attractive. I had 
a hard time keeping these fellows coming, but I persisted. 

Lage: So she was going to Wheaton College? 

Haas: Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. She just had her fifty-fifth 

reunion, and I had my fifty-fifth. She was able to go back to hers, 
and I unfortunately missed mine. I feel badly about that. Anyhow, 
that's jumping around, I know. 

Lage: Evelyn was from the East Coast? 

Haas: From New York City. 

Lage: Is that a different milieu to merge in with? 

Haas: Oh, my goodness. Oh, I should say. 

Lage: You had mentioned how you lived in the same neighborhood your whole 
life in San Francisco. 

Haas: Yes. Well, it was quite remarkable for her parents [Helen and 

Jerome J. Danzig], I guess, because we didn't have airplanes a lot 
before that, and to allow their daughter to marry a guy from 3,000 
miles away when communications were so slow and difficult I think 
showed a lot of courage, trust. I really think they still thought 
there were wild Indians in the West, and the phones didn't work, and 
this poor little girl was going out there, and it was a very, very 
tough adjustment period. She was wonderful. 

Lage: Did you bring her out before you married? Did she come out and see 
San Francisco? 

Haas: Oh, yes. [laughs] Her parents brought her out over New Year's. 
Lage: In what year, now? You were married in 1940? 

Haas: I guess this would have been '39, my last year at Harvard, and her 
senior year, over I guess Christmas holidays. 

Lage: So were they sort of looking you over? 

Haas: Oh, yes, definitely. There were so many things about that trip--I 

remember my little cousins came and were very curious about what was 
happening, and we had a party for the family. And I'm sure the 
Danzigs felt uncomfortable. 



45 

It was the early days of Sugar Bowl [ski area], and Dad rented 
a cottage in Sugar Bowl for her parents, and my parents, and the two 
of us, and it was just terrible, because none of them skied. It was 
snowing and we couldn't get out of the house, and I hadn't seen Evie 
in three months. We'd been engaged for three months and were going 
to wait a year--I guess the families felt that it was a big, big 
step for both of us, particularly for her, giving up the East Coast. 
And here we were trapped inside the house with our parentsit was 
horrible, it didn't work out very well. [laughing] But we 
survived, and moved our wedding date up, to March. 

Lage: Did you want your parents' approval for this? 

Haas: Oh, yes. I remember I went to Europe, and my parents went to 

Europe, in '39. Peter and I took a side trip and went bicycling 
through France, which was nice. 

But I remember on that trip going to my father and saying, "I 
think I've met the girl I want to marry." So it wasn't a complete 
surprise. I came back early and spent a few days in New York, and 
then my parents came through New Yorkkind of waiting for something 
to happen. 

Lage: Did they come and meet Evelyn then? 

Haas: Met Evelyn at her parents' in New York, right. It was awkward. It 
was very obvious what was pending, andwell, we got engaged while 
they were there. I was up against a deadline! [laughter] I knew 
if I didn't ask her then, it would be- -I didn't know when I was 
going to get back. 

Lage: That's right, you were through with Harvard and going West again. 

Haas: Going back to work. 

Lage: What kind of a family was she from? Is she from a large family? 

Haas: She has two older brothers. The sad thing from her standpoint was 
that her mother died very soon after we were married. It was kind 
of around my stint in the army, soon after I got in the army. And 
then her father came out right after I got out of the service, and 
he had a heart attack and died in San Francisco. 

Lage: Oh, my, while he was visiting? 

Haas: While he was here. So she's really never had parents since we've 
been married. 

Lage: That's too bad. Had she been brought up differently? 



46 

Haas: No, and she and I were talking this morning. She had the same 

thing. Her parents were quite different than mine. Her father was 
an austere, dignified, maybe shy, but quiet man who was a member of 
the New York Stock Exchange. Her mother was a stemwinder, she was 
full of pep, she had a little radio show. 

Lage: A radio show? 

Haas: Yes, she had a talk show, and I remember she had a contest, "What do 
you want for Christmas?" and I wrote her a long letter saying I 
wanted her daughter. [laughter] Which I don't think she thought 
was funny. But anyway, but they went their own way too. Evie loved 
horses and entered horse shows, and it was too expensive for her 
father--he said it was too expensive to keep a horse in New York, so 
she had to ride borrowed horses and show them. And they paid no 
attention. 

Anyway, we got married in New York. Her parents gave us a 
beautiful wedding in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. My two grandmothers 
were there, as was Evie's grandfather, Abraham Wolf, who was ninety- 
six years old! Most of my ushers came from California, and I 
remember the night before, we had a bridal party, black tie at the 
Harmonie Club, and then ended up having a football game between east 
and west. 

We traveled across the country to Los Angeles by train and then 
took the Lurline to Hawaii for our honeymoon. There we stayed at 
the old Halekulani, which was very romantic in those days, with a 
view of Diamond Head. Unfortunately, I was foolish and did a little 
too much surf -boarding and got such a bad sunburn that we couldn't 
get close to each other for two or three days. Not very smart for a 
very naive groom. 



Thoughts on Being a Parent 



Haas: I don't know how I turned out the way I am, and I don't know how she 
survived that background. We're the same, though. In those days, I 
guess, in a family of some means it was the way it was done. 

Lage: But I was interested that when you had your own children you did it 
differently, and what the impetus was for that. 

Haas: Well, I don't know. I think in those days--. I'd look at all my 
friends, and I remember thinking that this kid's not going to come 
out too well because he didn't get the kind of attention from his 
parents that we were giving ours. And now, of course, we were 



47 

amateurs compared to what our children do with their kids. So I 
think it was just a question of the times. 

Lage: And maybe with Evelyn not having her family here, she could give 
more to her children. 

Haas: That may have been. She was just a natural mother, the minute she 

had a baby. She knew what to do when it cried, but I was lost. But 
she just instinctively did the right thing. 

Lage: Did you- -now we're getting into things we don't usually get into-- 
but when they were babies did you do the kinds of things we hear 
about fathers doing now, changing diapers? 

Haas: Oh, I tried. I changed diapers, and if they'd cry in the middle of 
the night, I would get up- -maybe not to the degree that they do now. 
No, but I was a conscientious father. We loved the kids, and we did 
things with them. I remember my friends, playing with their kids, 
and they'd have them come along and carry a golf bag. Because the 
father wanted to play golf. That was not spending time with your 
child. We're really lucky. We have three wonderful children, they 
live out here, and we have a great relationship with them, their 
spouses, and their kids. 

Lage: That's very nice. It adds to your life. 



Levi Strauss & Co. Seen Through Harvard Eyes 

Lage: Okay, let's see if we have some more on Harvardany professors 
there you'd want to mention? 

Haas: Yes. One professor, Georges Doriot. He was a little Frenchman. He 
was the greatest teacher I ever had and a great influence in my 
life. His course was called Manufacturing, but it was a course in 
Doriot. He gave us an assignment: "I want you to turn in, once a 
week, an idea for a new product, something to make the world better. 
Doesn't matter if you think it's practical under today's techniques, 
but you think of it." 

Boy, it got you thinking. After a while, I must say, we 
started trading ideas, because it's not easy to think of thirty 
different new ideas that would make the world better. But I 
remember in those days one thing we thought of was a way of 
preserving food, frozen foods, and little things like a typewriter 
key that could erase, which now, of course, is easy, but in those 
days it wasn't. It was very thought provoking. 



48 

And I remember one story, my favorite story. He had a little 
French accent, and special mannerisms, I can't explain. But he 
really--you weren't late, and you didn't miss his class. He said, 
"Now, all of you are going to be big executives in twenty years. 
You're going to be running big companies and you're going to have 
difficult decisions. 

"But the hardest decision you're going to have is you have a 
middle executive who has given thirty years of his life to the 
company, and he has a family, and suddenly the company's gone past 
him. He's not up to what he's doing, but he has a loyalty to the 
company, and you have a feeling of responsibility to him. What do 
you do with him? What do you do?" 

He said, "Praise him to your competitors." [laughter] I just 
remember that. He had a unique way of teaching. He's one of the 
few professors I did get to know. He had a special coterie of 
students that he was attracted to, in the sense of, I guess, maybe 
seeing their potential or whatever. We maintained a correspondence 
for many years. We would go back to Boston and he'd invite us for a 
cup of coffee, or whatever. He was quite elderly when I was honored 
by Harvard, and he made a special effort to come to it, and I always 
appreciated that. 

Lage: Was he interested in your family business in the course of the 
class? 

Haas: No. Well, Levi's was very small, and quite different. In fact, 

there was an episode--. I was the candidate for an honors degree, 
or I don't know what they called it, and you had to appear before a 
panel of three professors and have an oral discussion and test. I 
remember they started out asking, "What would you think of giving a 
flashlight away with every pair of jeans that was bought?" 

I took a lot of time by saying, "I don't think that's a very 
good idea, because I think--" and you've got to realize, I didn't 
know anything about the company- -"you sell your product on quality, 
and any money you put into a flashlight is going to detract from the 
value of your own product." I went on, and they sat there kind of 
stony-faced, and I tried to say it differently a few more times, and 
they finally said, "Well, thank you, but you know the (I can't 
recall which company) gives a flashlight away with every pair of 
jeans. " 

Well, my answer wasn't wrong. I mean, the whole point of 
Harvard Business School was to get you to think of alternative ways 
of doing things . 

Lage: There's not one right answer. 



49 

Haas: But I felt kind of mortified, and I did not get the honors degree, 
[laughter] 

Lage: They probably didn't know much about Levi's, because it was so 
Western-oriented . 

Was living in the East different? I'm interested in that 
cultural difference. 

Haas: Yes. I was living in a dorm. 

Lage: Were most of the people from the East? 

Haas: Yes. 

Lage: And you mentioned Evelyn's parents thinking she was coming out to 
the Wild West. 

Haas: Yes. I remember in one class, a fellow was talking about something 
happening out West in answering a question, and I said, "What do you 
mean West?" He said, "Pennsylvania." That was the mind-set in 
those days of some people. 



Lage: 



But you did have your little group of people from Cal. 



Haas: Yes. I made friends there at business school too. That's why I was 
sorry to miss the reunion becausewell, a lot of them are missing, 
but we had a good feeling for each other. 

We had a little football team we called the Red Demons--! don't 
know, it means nothing, but every time we go back, somebody pulls 
out the picture of all these young guys posing. We won, I guess, 
whatever championship there was. And of course, I played in the 
tennis tournament and the squash tournament. And it was interesting 
to me because I was a squad member of our team at Cal. 

ft 

Haas: I was probably the eighth man on our tennis team at Cal, which was a 
marvelous team. At Harvard, there was just one other guy, and I 
would always play in the finals with him. Many of them would be 
captains of their tennis teams at Dartmouth, or whatever, and I 
always wondered whether I should have been a big frog in a little 
pond rather than a little frog in a big pond. 

Lage: Maybe you should have gone back East to college. [laughter] 

Haas: I would have probably been captain of the team and everything else. 
You know, you think about those things. 



50 



And then I learned squash--of course, I learned squash because 
Dad had a court at our homebut I won the squash championship. So 
I was a jock at Harvard, too. 



The Army; Second Lieutenancy 



Lage: Is there any other Harvard-related material? I think when we get to 
Levi Strauss, 1 which will be next time, I'd like to bring in how you 
integrated your Harvard experience, but we can save that for next time. 

Haas: I guess the only other thing I should mention at Harvard, which leads 

into the next part of my career, or my life, was that the Quartermaster 
Corps sent a group of officers to Harvard for business training. They 
called a few of us together one time and said, "Look, things are 
looking pretty bad in Europe. It looks as if there might be a war, a 
major war, and you're all single. You can be drafted. Why don't you 
take these correspondence courses and become an officer in the 
Quartermaster Corps?" 

Well, that sounded like a pretty good idea, so I signed up. I 
remember I'd take a course or two and pass it in, and then I guess not 
long after, war was declared. Things kind of quieted down, and I 
wouldn't do anything much about my lessons, and then we got married, 
and the war began to heat up, and I remember Evie would type up my 
exams for me. One time she got a platoon out of the woods that I had 
gotten lost! 

But anyway, really, that's how I got to be a second lieutenant. I 
got orders on December 4, 1941, to report to duty on December 8, and I 
guess the Japanese heard about it and wanted to make a pre-emptive 
strike at Pearl Harbor, but I went into the service the day after Pearl 
Harbor! 

My first day in the army was memorable because no one knew exactly 
what was happening in the war. There were rumors that there were 
Japanese ships off San Francisco Bay or that troops were landing in 
Monterey Bay and people were generally scared. I had absolutely no 
training for the army, and when I reported to the Presidio, I wore my 
Sam Browne belt backwards and saluted sergeants when they should have 
been saluting me. 



'The company is correctly referred to as Levi Strauss & Co., but some 
conversational referrences to the company as Levi's or Levi Strauss have 
been retained in the interview transcript. 



51 

When I took my physical, it turned out that I was underweight for 
my height. I asked the examining officer to fix the record because I 
certainly wanted to get into the service, so he shortened me an inch 
instead of fudging on my weight. I was absolutely appalled and somehow 
this tainted my respect for military thinking from then on. 

I was issued a gas mask and since I had reported to the Presidio 
in San Francisco, at the end of the day I returned home to our little 
apartment to my wife and young son. I thought it would be fun to wear 
my gas mask, which scared the heck out of baby Bob and made my wife 
furious. She said, "What do we do if there's a gas attack?" I was 
hardly a hero. 



52 



III JOINING THE FAMILY BUSINESS, WAR STORIES, AND THE POST-WAR 
YEARS 



[Interview 3: August 31, 1994] ## 

Lage: Before we begin on Levi Strauss & Co., can I ask you a question 

about your family's 1939 trip to Europe that you mentioned briefly 
last time? It struck me as such a hazardous time to be in Europe. 

Haas: That's right. 

Lage: And also being a Jew in Europe. Did it make an impression on you? 

Haas: No. I don't think--! guess my family planned it and we went along. 
As I say, my brother and I went on a separate trip. We weren't 
particularly-- 

Lage: You didn't have a sense of--? 

Haas: Of foreboding, no. I guess we were unaware. And I don't remember 
that we went to Germany on that trip; I'm sure we did not. 

Lage: Well, it probably would have been a good time not to go. 

Were there still family members that you had any contact with 
in Europe? 

Haas: No. No, I don't think so. 



Levi's, the Brand Name 
Lage: Now let's get into the Levi Strauss part of your story. 



53 

Haas: I want to kind of transition in by saying that during this period I 
was either taking Evie out, or engaged to her. And I was starting 
to talk to her a little about the family business, which I wasn't 
too familiar with, and mentioned that we had the name, that our 
product was called Levi's, and she said, "Well, you know, it sounds 
like a good business, but I think you ought to change that name. I 
don't think it's going to have much appeal." 

Now it's probably one of the most best known and most popular 
and valuable trademarks in the world, and it just seems strange 
thinking back that we both had some concerns. In the East, Levi's 
were virtually unknown at that time. 

Lage: I didn't realize that the name, Levi's, had caught on that early. 

Haas: Well, I guess we had it in college. And of course we made overalls, 
bib overalls and carpenter's overalls. The waist overall was just 
one model. There were many that we eventually, as you know, gave 
up. But it was a name, and it was trademarked. 



Entering the Family Business. Valencia Street. 1939 



Lage: When did you actually start at Levi Strauss & Co.? 

Haas: It was in September of '39. September 25 is exactly fifty-five 
years ago. 

Lage: Was there ever any thought in your mind that you might go elsewhere? 

Haas: Never really. When I was at business school I did interview for 
some other jobs, because they always had people from the major 
corporations interviewing. I think I was kind of half-hearted, and 
I didn't do very well, I don't think. I wasn't really getting any 
job offers. And it was pretty well preordained that the eldest son 
was going to get in the family business. It was a terribly small 
business. 

Lage: Was it kind of an unspoken preordainment? 

Haas: Yes. 

Lage: Or did you have discussions with your father? 

Haas: I don't remember discussions. I guess it was taken for granted. 
Yes. 



54 

Now, another thing. It was a family company, a small family 
company, but just because you were a member of the family didn't 
mean you were going to make it. We had several family members that 
wanted jobs, and either my father wouldn't give it to them, or they 
came and they did not succeed. Just because they were members of 
the family, we didn't keep them in the business. That's important 
to realize because I don't think that governed--. 

Well, our upbringing governed Peter and me, but a lot of people 
thought how lucky we were to get into a family business, and we 
were, because it gave us a great opportunity. But we also felt that 
we had to prove ourselves. And we were probably--! 'd work early and 
I'd work late- -as conscientious as we were because we wanted to get 
the respect of our fellow workers. 

Lage: Did the family members who didn't make it not apply themselves or 
something? 

Haas: I think probably they weren't very serious about it, mostly. And 
there were only one or two. But I do remember that. 

Lage: And you saw it as a small business? 

Haas: Well, it had been around for a long time. It was perfectly 

satisfactory, and I guess reasonably profitable. There were a lot 
of other wholesalers and manufacturers of work garments. And it 
seemed perfectly acceptable. 

I remember Dad was an old-fashioned boss. He insisted that I 
start at the bottom. My salary as a business school graduate was a 
hundred dollars a month. Probably I was overpaid. [laughter] But 
it seemed pretty modest. He wanted me to do every job, and I did. 
I started out at Valencia Street at the factory, at 250 Valencia. 



Milton Grunbaum. and a Lesson 

Haas: There are several stories: The first one didn't have to do with me, 
but it gave me a lesson. Milton Grunbaum was an elevator operator 
on Battery Street. One day he went to my father, or my grandfather, 
and said, "This is a family business. I know that a member of the 
family is always going to be the head of it. I want to rise to the 
top, and I obviously can't do it here. I'd like to go out to the 
factory because maybe I can someday be the factory manager." He was 
just a little elevator operator. 

Lage: And young, I would assume. 



55 

Haas: Very young. And there was quite a history that I don't want to go 

into too much. But my grandfather, Sigmund Stern--! don't know what 
you'd call him, but he spent several months of the year in Europe 
and long lunch hours with his pals at the Palace Hotel and didn't 
really--and he turned the business over to trusted lieutenants. 

Well, Dad comes into the business and finds out the 
lieutenants can't be that trusted; they were stealing him blind. 
There was a big, big blowup and the factory manager, who was a 
trusted employee, was fired. Milton Grunbaum and two brothers, the 
Beronio brothersone [Fred] left, and Dave Beronio stayed, and was 
a major, major officer and administratorand Milton Grunbaum became 
the factory manager. It was wonderful. 

At the end of the year, my grandfather called this young man in 
and said that he had done a remarkable job and they had bonuses they 
gave to the executives in a good year, and they wanted to give 
Milton Grunbaum a bonus. And he said, "Mr. Stern, I am poor, I'm 
supporting my mother, I really need the money. But I can't take a 
bonus unless you give a bonus to all the factory employees as well." 

This was an unheard of thing in those days . My grandfather 
said, "I have to think about it overnight." The next day he said, 
"All right, we'll do it." And Milton said, "Well, you can only do 
it if you come out when I give out the checks." My grandfather did, 
and apparently it was a scene of utter chaos and elation, that these 
mostly foreign-born women, mostly of Italian extraction at that 
time, were recognized as human beings instead of numbers on a sewing 
machine. They cried, and they laughed, and they hugged everybody. 
And my grandfather was so embarrassed that we hadn't recognized this 
that he left early. But I think that's a wonderful lesson, and 
Milton Grunbaum was a remarkable man. 

Lage: And he was your supervisor at Valencia? 

Haas: At Valencia Street. 

Lage: How old a man was he when you came? 

Haas: I guess he was in his fifties by then. He was a little man who was 
hard of hearing, had a hearing aid, and he was a wonderful labor 
negotiator because they'd talk and talk and talk, and when the labor 
people got through giving their sidethey'd make a long 
presentation- -he'd say, "I didn't get all that. My hearing aid--" 
And he'd wear them down. [laughter] He was fair, but he was a good 
negotiator. 



56 

Empathy for the Employees 



Haas: But I remember, I did everything. I even tried to make myself a 
pair of Levi's. 

Lage: Oh, really? Cutting the fabric? 

Haas: I did everything, yes. Sewing, and it's a much tougher job than you 
realize. It takes a lot of skill and practice, even though in those 
days it was so repetitive and boring it was kind of embarrassing. 

Lage: Did you benefit from seeing how the employees' lives were? 

Haas: Well, I appreciated the fact that this was a repetitious, boring job 
that paid minimum wage. And it's always bothered me. 

Before our directors meeting, coming up this September, they 
asked the directors their ideas on things. And I pointed out again 
the inequity, still, between what we pay our mass of employees, the 
major number employed in the factories, and the rest of the staff, 
the office staff and sales reps. There's a major discrepancy which 
bothers me because all of us have benefitted from the success of the 
company and live lives of great luxury, and we're doing it off the 
sweat of thousands of people that are still paid relatively low 
wages. It's been a matter of concern. That's all I can say, and 
that's when I first appreciated it. 

Another lesson I learned from Milton--they had a cafeteria in 
those days, and they had a couple of ex-sewing machine operators who 
were along in years who washed the dishes. One day I went to 
Milton, and I said, "You know, I think it'd be better to buy a 
dishwasher. It'd save money, be more sanitary." Instead of 
discouraging me, he said, "Well, that's a good idea. Why don't you 
make a little study of the costs." 

Well, I had gone to the Harvard Business School, so I made a 
very detailed little study and pointed out that it would save money 
and be more sanitary if we in fact got a dishwasher. And he said, 
"Well, that's fine, but here are two ladies who spent over thirty 
years in the company. What would I do with them?" And I realized 
that there's more than just money involved in any decision. And 
that was a lesson that stuck with me. 

Lage: This is interesting that some of the lessons are from the time when 
the company was smaller and more of a family. 

Haas: Oh, yes. They shaped my whole attitude, in retrospect, of course. 
At the time, well, it was a lesson, but it wasn 1 t--people often ask 



57 

me whether certain things happened to form my opinion or judgments. 
And it wasn't a speech, it was just example or discussions, and by 
osmosis it sinks in. 

Lage: Yes, I appreciate that you're letting me know where your thinking 
was at the time. 

Haas: But who could possibly believe this little tiny company- -three and a 
half million dollarswould grow into the biggest apparel company in 
the world. 

Lage: Did you have a vision? 

Haas: No. [laughter] No way. 

Lage: You didn't get back from Harvard with big plans or high hopes? 

Haas: No, no. I know at one time when we had plans to develop something 
which would involve expansion and some risk, Dad came to Peter and 
me and said, "Well, why do you want to do this? You've got a 
perfectly good business here, and it's going along well. Why do you 
want to take the risk?" And I remember saying, "We can't be 
caretakers. " 

Lage: Do you remember what that involved? 

Haas: No. It was in one of the series of things that developed as we 
started to grow. 

Lage: "We can't be caretakers." 

Haas: No. There's no challenge in that. 

And the other thing, people wondered why we kept wanting to 
grow. And of course, there 're a lot of rewards for being bigger. 
But one of the reasons I was mostly intrigued was that it gave 
opportunity to our people, and to more people, because if you're a 
static business you're kind of --everybody ' s stuck. But if you're 
growing, there are wonderful opportunities. 

And of course my pride and gratification has come from 
providing opportunities for so many wonderful men and women who've 
benefitted from the growth and success of the company. 

I think that pretty much covers Valencia Street, except 
[laughing] I remember we always had a Christmas party of sorts. And 
all the Italian womenthey were mostly Italianwould bring samples 
from home of all different types of pasta and wine and Italian food. 
I'd go around greeting everybody, and they'd all insist I have a 



58 



taste of the wine and this and that. Well, I got home afterwards in 
a happy frame of mind and suddenly started feeling terrible, really 
sick. 

I was so stupid not to realize! My poor wife finally took me 
to the hospital. I thought I had an appendicitis attack, and they 
were concerned, I think they gave me a shot of morphine or whatever 
it was that relaxed me. And all of the sudden, it was just all this 
conglomeration of all different kinds of foods and wines. I was 
sick as a dog. But 1 remember that! 



98 Battery Street, Sales and Shipping 

Lage: Now, next, Battery Street. That was the headquarters. 

Haas: Ninety-eight Battery Street. It's still there. 

Lage: What was it like? Give me a picture of what it was like. 

Haas: It was a five-story building, and the first floor, about the front 
third of it, was office space. And the back two-thirds were tables 
where our product line was displayed. It was mostly, three-quarters 
of it was wholesale. Sweaters and blankets and sheets and socks and 
dry goods. 

Lage: You were jobbing. 

Haas: We were jobbing. And then we had about a quarter of our line in 
manufactured products. 

The top four floors were the stock rooms where we maintained 
inventory. And the basement was the shipping department. Goods 
would be collected in the freight elevator and sent down to the 
basement and collected. And Battery Street was our shipping dock, 
and it was incredible--! guess the family had some relationship with 
City Hall! --because everything would come up in the basement in a 
sidewalk elevator. This was for the whole business. And these 
trucks would back in and block off three of the four traffic lanes 
while they loaded up. 

Lage: It sounds a lot like San Francisco today. [laughing] 

Haas: Well, yes. There's plenty of traffic. But this, I guess, was not 
unusual 



59 

I spent time working in the basement. And I was a floor 
salesman, which meant that people would come in from small country 
towns to fulfill their requirements. 

Lage: So, they would come to you. 

Haas: They'd come to us, and we'd fill the order that day. 

Lage: And they would take it off with them. 

Haas: And they'd take it off with them, yes. 

Lage: What kind of companies were you selling to? 

Haas: Retail stores, small retail stores. We had a slogan those days: 

"Patronize your hometown merchant. He's your neighbor." And that 
was it. And that's why some of the decisions we're making today go 
so hard because those small merchants in rural communities really 
built our business. 

In those days we didn't have a brand that was well known. We 
were not selling to the major retail stores. And small orders, 
credit risks--! 'm just trying to visualize some of the old prices. 
I remember our advertising budget was 2 percent, and we thought that 
was a lot. 

Lage: Two percent of your gross sales. 

Haas: Yes. I don't know what it is now. Probably between 5 and 6 
percent. 



Costs and Competition 



Haas: Our retail price on Levi's was $4.95. As costs went up, and denim 
prices went up, we kept postponing it and postponing it and 
postponing it, because we thought that if we broke through that five 
dollar retail price it would destroy the popularity of our number 
one product. 

And that reminds me, we bought our denim from Cone Mills in 
Greensboro, North Carolina, and that was the only mill. They made a 
special denim for us. A man named Saul Dribben was the head of it, 
and he and Dad had a wonderful relationship. Dad did the buying, 
Dad and Dan. Every quarter we'd place an order for the next 
quarter's denim. 



60 

Dad said, "Saul, you're our buyer. You know what's going to 
happen to cotton, you know if we should buy heavy or buy light." 
And that was the arrangement. It was complete trust. Saul Dribben 
of Cone Mills was really the buyer of our major resource material. 

Lage: Did he have a lot of other accounts as well, or were you pretty much 
his mainstay? 

Haas: Oh, I think we were a small account for him. 

We were a small business compared to others. As we started to 
grow, Blue Bell- -Wrangler- -who were run by, I think, kind of a bunch 
of guys in the Souththey started hearing of this upstart in the 
West, and they vowed to crush us and put us out of business. 

There are several companies that I remember- -McGregor was one 
name, McGregor Sportswear, their sales were $50 million, and we 
weren't even $10 million. 

Lage: Other companies who had similar lines of clothes? They used the 
blue denim? 

Haas: Yes, but nobody else had shrink-to-fit. Actually, Abercrombie and 
Fitch, which was a well-known retailer in those days, advertised in 
their catalogue, "Guaranteed to wrinkle, shrink and fade. Levi's. 
$4.95." That was pretty funny. 

Lage: I'm glad you mentioned the competition. 

Haas: Yes, well it's hard to realize now. The eastern companies were 
bigger. 



People Lessons from the Army 



Haas: I guess that was about it. And then I was called up into the 
service. 

Lage: What is this little note about "list of things to do"? 

Haas: Well, when I was called into the service, anticipating I would 

return to the business I made a list .of things I thought the company 
should be doing to improve, and perhaps develop. And I remember 
looking back on it, and they seemed so small after some of the 
decisions we eventually had to make. They were so relatively 
unimportant. I was young and the business was small and my focus 



61 

was small. I won't say it had to do with saving paper clips or 
something. Anyway, I did make such a list. 

Lage: It's too bad we don't have a copy of that list. That kind of thing 
is very revealing. Now, I'd like to find out what you did in the 
army, what you learned there. 

Haas: Well, as I said, I actually went into the service the day after 

Pearl Harbor. I was in for fifty-two months. And I certainly did 
not have a very distinguished career. I went where I was supposed 
to, I went where I was ordered, but I never got out of the United 
States. I was in the Quartermaster Corps because of this course 
that I mentioned earlier. Because of my commercial background, I 
guess, I got into the post exchange division, running the retail 
stores for the army. 

Lage: Did you learn anything from that? 

Haas: Oh, yes. I learned a lot. The first thing I learned was--I was a 
second lieutenant. And according to the army, if you're a second 
lieutenant you can run a bakery, you can run a post exchange, you 
can fly an airplane, you can lead a platoon. And here were hundreds 
of thousands of us who had never had that experience and were thrown 
into a situation, and we did it. We learned to fly airplanes, and 
we learned to do all these other things. 

That really affected my judgment of people afterwards, because 
I really didn't care as much about their education as I did about 
their dedication and intelligence. And I felt that unless it was a 
very technical thing, such as a computer today, that if somebody had 
the ambition to do something, and applied himself or herself, they 
could succeed. And that's a very important thing in terms of my 
decision-making about people. 

Lage: And that's something you were conscious of. 

Haas: I'm very aware of it, yes. 

Lage: Stepping into a leadership role as a young person. 



And PX Responsibilities 



Haas: Yes. I think that's the lesson I learned from the army. I got in 
the post exchange because Colonel Robert Roos, who used to run Roos 
Brothers--! don't know if you remember the name, even. 



62 

Lage: I remember the name. 

Haas: He was head of the post exchange, and he knew of me, so he asked for 
me and there I was. With my limited background I became an auditor 
of the post exchanges. And then I moved up and became his--I guess 
I was third in command under him. 

I remember the first assignment I had was, it was the day after 
Pearl Harbor and there were isolated units of military up and down 
the coast, and it was my job to develop a plan to get post exchange 
products to them. And looking back, it was a good challenge! 

Well, this went on and on, and then finally about a year from 
the end of the war they decided they needed to set up a warehouse to 
receive back all the surplus exchange material that was out in the 
South Pacific, and they gave me that responsibility. 

it 

Haas : They had the Post Exchange Service headquarters back in Salt Lake 
City and I thought, well, why go back to Salt Lake City? So I 
looked around and I foundStanley Hiller had helicopters, and he 
had a big, big warehouse in Palo Alto--and I found it and I rented 
it. And I spent my last year in the war ten miles from where we are 
sitting right here. But it was more convenient. 

Lage: It made sense. 

Haas: It made sense; the surplus exchange material came across the 
Pacific. 

I remember one time- -they had a spur [railroad] track in it. 
And some part of the army that had the libraries and books and all 
that research material wanted to use part of the warehouse. My 
colonel said, "Don't let them in." So, the day they came to inspect 
I had an engine come in billowing smoke to make a delivery. And 
they knew that would wreck their books if they had all that steam 
and smoke. [laughter] So we never had to compete with the library. 
Those are kind of minor things. 

Lage: Were you eventually given more responsibility or bigger assignments 
than you had been? 

Haas: No, I had no real responsibility then or even much thereafter. But 
I had a small staff and responsibility for running the warehouse and 
that was good. 

Lage: Did you learn about the retail business at all? Did it give you an 
insight into that end of things? 



63 

Haas: To some degree, yes, yes. It was obvious. When I visited the 

exchanges and did the audits, obviously it was more than just the 
bookkeeping. I had to see how they were displaying the goods, and 
if their inventories were in balance, and a few things like that. 

Lage: Did the exchanges handle Levi's? 
Haas: Well, I'm sure they did. 



The big boost that Levi's got was in Europe- -that comes later, 
when we get into our expansion overseas. But the GIs would buy the 
Levi's and sell them on the black market, and that's really how the 
demand developed for Levi's overseas. 

Lage: Anything else about the war that we should know in terms of your 
development? 

Haas: I don't think in terms of my development. [laughing] It's not a 

very flattering story, but Bob was about three years old then and we 
rented a house in Palo Alto. I remember when we first got there, of 
course I was in uniform, and a little neighbor's kid and Bob struck 
up an acquaintance and this little girl said something about, "I see 
that your Dad's in the army." He said, "Oh, no. He's in the 
house." And that's about the way it was, because I didn't get into 
a war zone or see combat. 

I did get orders to go to Karachi, India, and it happened to 
come the morning of our wedding anniversary. I was scared to death, 
of course. I had thought we'd celebrate the anniversary, and we 
planned to go to Trader Vic's--in Oakland at the time, the original 
one. I didn't want to tell my wife [about the orders to India] and 
I remember we went over, and I didn't drink much in those days, and 
I had three Mai Tai's and I was cold sober. 

A few days later the orders were changed, so I never did go 
overseas . I think that ' s it . I was in the army over four years , 
and it was not an easy time, and we were newly married. What can I 
say? We made it. [laughter] 



Entering Management, and Critical Early Hiring Decisions 



Lage: Okay. So back to Levi Strauss. 

Haas: All right. One thing I do want to say, and the timing of this is 

going to be difficult, but my father and my uncle were wonderful in 
the sense that they brought Peter and me into management decisions 



64 

very early. So I think a lot of things that happened- -and I don't 
want this misunderstood- -but a lot of things that happened, some of 
them were our ideas, but we were involved in the decisions that 
changed the company long before we had official titles. 

I've got to give them credit for that. It wasn't easy. And 
particularly Dan Koshland, who didn't have any- -he had two daughters 
and a son, but he welcomed us, he encouraged us, and he never seemed 
to resent the fact that none of his children were in the business. 
And of course, they have been very successful in the field of 
science. 

Lage: Did his daughters also go into science? 

Haas: Well, no. But Sissy [Frances Koshland Geballe] married Ted Geballe, 
who was involved in science. And Phyllis married Howard Friedman, 
who was a wonderful architect and was involved in a lot of Levi 
buildings. He built all of our factories during this growth period 
and developed a model factory kind of thing. He was a wonderful, 
wonderful--a fine architect, but a wonderful friend and counselor, 
and sensitive, knowledgeable about relationships within the company 
and without. Also Dan Koshland, who married Bunny [Marian E. 
Koshland] --both nationally recognized for their achievements --and on 
the faculty at Berkeley. 

Lage: So the relationship with your uncle was equally good. 
Haas: Oh, he was terrific, yes. 

Now, you asked about key factors in our development. And Peter 
and I were involved in these, and I think this is kind of a good 
place to just outline it without getting into detail. Because how 
could you have growth like we did? It kind of seems like it "just 
happened" but it didn't "just happen." There was a lot of planning 
and a lot of thought, and many tough decisions, which were available 
to all the other companies who were bigger and stronger than we 
were, but they didn't do it. And I have about a half a dozen of 
them listed here. 

Lage: When we talk about them, if you can remember some of the discussion 
that went on, some of the factors that were considered, these would 
be important to record. 

Haas: Well, the first one, and that really came from Peter and me, was the 
decision to hire some college and business school graduates, because 
all our executives, hardworking and conscientious, had come from the 
shipping department, or from the sales force, or--. And they were 
very, very able and nice. But they didn't have the educational 
background or the breadth of vision that a larger business would 
require. So, we got permission to do that. 



65 

Lage: Was that difficult? 

Haas: No, I don't remember that. I don't think so. 

Lage: I mean, after all, your father sent both of you off to business 
school. 

Haas: That's right. 

I remember we hired three. One was Mel Bacharach from Cal, and 
Mel ended up eventually as an executive vice president. We hired 
Art Roth from Stanford, and Art became a key executive, and then 
became head of advertising and a member of the board of directors. 
We also hired a fellow whose name I don't remember who didn't make 
it. But that was certainly a major decision. 

We groomed them and they became- -Mel became an assistant to 
Bill Lagoria, who was sales manager. And Art became an assistant to 
Dick Cronin, who then was advertising, a funny little guy, nice man, 
who promoted our popularity with cowboys and the rodeo circuit, but 
his vision was limited. 

Lage: He saw it mainly as a western thing. 
Haas: Yes. So, that was a major decision. 

Lage: Do you remember how you chose these people? Did you have any 
connection? 

Haas: Well, no, I don't know. I don't even know if I did the interviewing 
--I must have. I don't remember how, but we selected well. I mean, 
we got two really top-flight people who made their whole life at 
Levi's and contributed tremendously. 



Discontinuing Wholesaling, and Anticipating Baby Boomers 



Haas: The second decision, which really took a lot of courage, was to 

discontinue the wholesaling operation. The reason we did that was 
that there was little profit in it. The wholesalers would take the 
big accounts, big retail accounts, and sell them directly, and leave 
the little accounts, which are expensive to service and didn't have 
the best credit rating, to the manufacturers like ourselves. 

I remember there were two or three other major wholesalers in 
San Francisco at the time. None of them survived any length of 
time. Of course, there's more profit, more opportunity in promoting 



66 

your own brand, but wholesaling was three-quarters of our business 
and we did-- 

Lage: And when you discontinued it, it was still three-quarters? 

Haas: We didn't do it all at once. We phased out one department and then 
another over a period of several years. But we did it without 
letting any employees go, which was very important to us. Instead 
of just downsizing, or whatever people do today, we were able to 
accomplish this over a period of time and still maintain and, in 
fact, grow our employee base. 

Lage: It sounds as if you did a bit of a study in terms of the profit. 
Haas: Oh, gosh yes. There was a lot of thought and planning. 
Lage: Were Mel Bacharach or Art Roth in on those discussions? 

Haas: They weren't in on anything initially. They weren't in the inner 
circle yet. 

Lage: This idea came mainly from you and Peter? 

Haas: I think it did but Dad and Dan were certainly involved. The next 
thing, I guess, and this was the big thing, was to recognize the 
World War II baby boomers. We really shifted our marketing thrust 
from cowboys, farmers, working men, to the young people of the 
country. 

Lage: Now tell me if you can remember how you recognized that, when you 
recognized it. 

Haas: Well, it's such a simple concept. It's not like a light goes on all 
of a sudden in a moment. It was just there. I guess--in the back 
of our mind, with the previous moves we'd made or were making 
concurrently- -that we wanted the business to grow. And here was a 
market just waiting. This is where our competition missed out, I 
think. 

Lage: I see. So, this is kind of the key. 

Haas: That was the key. 

Lage: How did you know that the youth would pick up on it? 

Haas: Oh, we didn't, but we decided concurrently to develop lines for 

them; we got out of just waist overalls, and we started to expand 
the line. We got western shirts for a while. Then we got casual 
slacks and white Levi's--we called them white Levi's, but they came 



67 

in all colorsjust trying to develop a product line that would 
appeal to young people. 

Lage: So it wasn't just marketing to young people. 

Haas: Oh, no. We had to shape the whole product line. And this, of 
course, was probably the most important decision, because the 
business began to explode. 

Lage: Now, how did your father and uncle feel about that decision? 

Haas: Well, they certainly were very proud of the progress of the company, 
And I think--! don't want to put them in the wrong light because 
they did encourage us, and they went along. They were very 
comfortable with what they had, but they felt that if this is what 
we wanted to do they'd support it. And they were wonderful. 



Differences Between Dad and Dan 



Lage: Was there a difference between the two of them in, say, how much 
risk they were willing to take? 

Haas: Well, yes. It's funny, because they are as different as Peter and 

myself. Dad was really the business man, the financial man. He had 
a wonderful mind. He could look at a balance sheet and in two 
minutes tell you everything you had to know about the company. 

Dan was a Phi Beta Kappa, a bright, nice man, gentle. He loved 
people. People loved him. He was very concerned about people and 
for people. He was a wonderful partner for Dad and kept things in 
perspective. Dad was the business man. 

Lage: Did your uncle give more of his stamp to the social responsibility 
thrust? 

Haas: I think so, yes. Dad had good instincts and was very generous 
philanthropically. It's just a different focus they had and 
interest they had. It was the perfect balance. 

Lage: Did they work well together? 

Haas: Yes, as far as I know it was fine match. Dad brought Dan in because 
he wanted a partner. Dan, I think, was in the investment business 
back East, but married Dad's sister. So, he's my uncle, obviously. 



68 

I would say that Dad and Dan had a wonderful relationship 
through the years. They worked very closely. They each had 
different qualities, but they balanced each other, and the business 
thrived, and they were highly respected in the community. They had 
different interests but they did things together and they supported 
each other. And it seems such a strange coincidence that they died 
within ten days of each other. It seems so appropriate that, having 
been together so long, one didn't have to survive the other and 
carry on. 

Lage: Were they quite devoted to each other? 

Haas: Oh yes. I think so. It was a wonderful partnership. 



Expanding, Advertising 



Haas: So we expanded our line. And then we decided to expand 

geographically. Demand for our product was growing. When I first 
started we only had one factory, and that was on Valencia Street. 
Then we got one near the end of World War II in San Jose, kind of a 
second story on the top of a Greyhound bus depot, I think. And from 
there, I think, we went to Wichita Falls. 

Lage: Wichita Falls? 

Haas: Texas. That was a major change. 

Lage: Why did you move so far away for your factory? 

Haas: Well, we were beginning to sell back there. You know, Texas is big 
cowboy country and well, my goodness, going back- -for instance, when 
I started we had one salesman, Martin Kulik. He handled four 
states: Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. I don't know how 
many sales reps we have there now, I think we had eleven sales reps 
in the whole company at that time. I knew everybody in the 
business, personally. It was such a small operation. 

Lage: When you expanded geographically, did that bring you more into 
competition with Wrangler and others? 

Haas: Oh, you bet. You bet. 

Lage: You had mentioned that Wrangler was going to try and drive you out 
of business. 



69 

Haas: I guess they figured they were big and strong and they could. I 
don't remember that they used any special discounting tactics or 
whatever; they just weren't able to do it. 

We did advertising with a small agency, Leon Livingston, and 
the account executive's name was Bill Day. I mention him because he 
was a remarkable man. This was his only account, and he really 
cared about Levi's. He took great pride in them. He was really 
like a company executive. We would consult with him. He was in on 
many major decisions. He was really almost an honorary director. 

I mention his name because- -even though he was kind of an 
executive, he was respectful of Dad. And one time Dad and I were 
there, and Bill Day came along. We started up a conversation and 
Dad, who had a wonderful sense of humor, said, "Bill, you've been in 
advertising a long, long time, and you've had a lot of accounts. 
Have you ever seen an account grow as rapidly as Levi's has in the 
last five or six years?" 

And Bill Day, not being obsequious, but being deferential, 
said, "No, I never have, Mr. Haas." And Dad said, "Well, I guess 
it's not the advertising." [laughter] We had a growth of 20 
percent compounded every year for about twenty years. [See sales 
figures, following page.] 

Lage: And when did it start to take off? 

Haas: Well, let's take a look. We have those figures. It started, I'd 
say, in the late forties, and it just went up. 

Lage: Now, at the time, what was it like for you? 

Haas: It was exciting. It was hard work. It was the kind of thing where 
you work twenty- four hours a day, and it's on your mind all the 
time. I don't mean it was obsessive. It wasn't obsessive, but I 
don't think--! think my best ideas have come when I'm on a camping 
trip in the Sierras. It was with me all the time. I lived it. I 
was proud of it. And who knew how far it was going to go, but it 
was very rewarding because, oh, just because what we were doing 
turned out to be correct, and it was very satisfying. 



Developing Some Early Key Relationships 



Lage: People like Dick Cronin, who'd been with you for so long in 
advertising, was he able to adjust? 



FISCflL TO 

1850-1919 
1920 
1921 
1922 
1923 
1924 
1925 
1926 
1927 
1928 
1929 
1930 
1931 
1932 
1933 
1934 
1935 
1936 
1937 
1938 
1939 
1940 
1941 
1942 
1943 
1944 
1945 
1946 
1947 
1948 
1949 
1950 
1951 
1952 
1953 
1954 
1955 
1956 
1957 
1956 
1959 
1960 
1961 
1962 
1963 
1964 
1965 
1966 
1967 
1968 
1969 
1970 
1971 
1972 
1973 
1974 
1975 
1976 
1977 
1978 
1979 
1980 
1981 
1982 
1983 
1964 
1985 
1966 





69a 




LStO) SflLES HISTORY 




FT 1850 - FV87 


DOLLARS (000) IMITS (000) 


M 




5,185 




4.137 




1,353 




4,942 




4,494 




4,473 




4,471 




4.221 




4,038 




4.241 




3,537 




2,845 




2,138 




2.567 


50,000 < 


2,629 




3.117 




3,178 




3,431 




2,972 




3,341 




3,260 




4.347 




6,448 




6,374 




5,788 




5,763 


2.500 


6,369 


3,600 


12,010 


5.100 


16,067 


6,800 


17.913 


7,500 


21,978 


9,000 


22.742 


9.200 


25,679 


10,200 


30,741 


12,000 


28,384 


11,000 


30,588 


11,600 


34,597 


13,100 


39,849 


14,900 


42,323 


15,700 


48,841 


17,700 


49,935 


17,900 


51,100 


19.100 


60,400 


22,054 


85,400 


27,267 


111,500 


34,739 


136,500 


42,756 


164,300 


45.111 


176.500 


46,446 


213,500 


54,331 


269,000 


62,946 


349,500 


74,133 


432,000 


83,298 


504,100 


105,800 


653,000 


125,000 


897,700 


143,100 


1,015,200 


142,800 


1,219,700 


153,900 


1,559,300 


176,600 


1,682,000 


178,200 


2, 103, 100 


202,900 


2,840,800 


256,140 


2,851,200 


243, 984 


2,572,200 


222,149 


2,731,300 


242.128 


2,513,500 


225,072 


2.583,800 


217,785 


2,761,700 


209,932 



AV6. LhlT SALES PRICE 



50,000 (ESTlHflTEB UNIT VOLU* SHIPPED 
BETkEEN FY'1850 ( FV44. 
flCTUBL RECORD NOT flVfllUflflLE. ) 



2.31 
2.32 
2.35 
2.37 
2.39 
2.44 
2.47 
.52 
2.56 
2.58 
2.64 
2.64 
2.67 
2.70 
2.76 
2.79 
2.68 
2.74 
3.13 
3.21 
3.19 
3.64 
3.80 
3.93 
4.27 
4.71 
5.19 
4.76 
5.22 
6.27 
7.11 
7.93 

e.63 

9.44 

10.37 
11.09 
11.69 
11.58 
11.28 
11.17 
11.66 
13.16 



OJHJLflTIVE TOTRL 31,071,263 



3,575,431 



8.69 



70 

Haas: It was difficult. I mean, with all respect to the old-timers, we 
couldn't have done it if they'd been calling the shots. They made 
many contributions, but we needed the creativity and vision of the 
younger people we had brought in. 

Lage: How did you handle it [the relationships between the old-timers and 
the younger generation]? 

Haas: Well, we made these young fellows the assistants, and it became a 
departmental decision, and Cronin was part of it, and so forth. 

Lage: What about Bill Lagoria? Did he have the vision? 

Haas: Same thing. He was a wonderful man, who did many good things. 

Everybody loved Bill. That reminds me of a story. I don't know 
whether it fits in--but I had the idea along the way that for young 
kids we ought to have a double-knee jean because youngsters my son's 
age went through the knees first. And if we had a double layer of 
denim there, that would, I thought, be a good practical pair of 
jeans. Bill didn't like it. And so it never really got off the 
ground . 

A couple, three years later, he came to me with the idea that 
we ought to have a pair of double-knee jeans. I said, "Great." And 
it was a success. There's another lesson learned. You can't 
dictate ideas. They have to be generated, have to be accepted, by 
the individual who's responsible for carrying out the situation. 

Lage: Now, these early years must have been a time when you and Peter were 
kind of working out your relationship. Do you remember anything 
that would reflect on that? 

Haas: Not really. Peter and I--it's remarkable we continued this long as 
partners. His interests, as I told you, were different. And we 
just went, I would say, somewhat independently. 

Lage: Was it ever a formal thing? Like, "Peter, you oversee these 
departments. " 

Haas: No. We were working in different departments. One of my other 

favorite stories waswell, I ought to bring a couple of them in. I 
was in returned goods , which is handling customers who are 
dissatisfied with whatever it was they'd purchased. I went to Mr. 
Beronio, who was general overseer of all office activities, credit 
manager and office manager, and said I needed to respond to some of 
these letters and I needed a secretary. This was right after I got 
out of the service. 

Lage: This was when you were just-- 



71 

Haas: Yes, getting my feet wet. 

He said, "Well, we really don't have anybody who's qualified, 
but we have this young woman who is in the secretarial pool." I 
said, "Let's try it," and it was Rita Guiney. And Rita--I don't 
remember who was more nervous, she or I, when I dictated my first 
letter. But that was the start of a most unique relationship 
because Rita is a nonesuch. She is really part of our family, 
still. After about forty years, she retired. But she's still-- 

Lage: But did she remain your secretary all along the way? 

Haas: Well, she became an executive assistant, and I supposethere' s no 
question in my mind that if there 'd been a different attitude 
towards women that she'd have been a top manager and perhaps a board 
member in the company. She ended up as a vice president. Also, she 
was responsible for the company's fine art collection, which she 
assembled with very little support from management. 

Many, many times we'd try to make a job description, and there 
was no way to describe what she did for the company. She was 
secretary for the board, and took care of the board, but more 
importantly, she got a sense and tone of what was the feeling in the 
business. People could come to her with any story, and she'd 
maintain the confidentiality of that discussion. If it was 
something she thought we ought to know about she'd let us know about 
it without revealing the source. 

She was so loyal and defensive of the family, and supportive. 
You know, the kids would call from college and ask, "I need some 
more money in my allowance," and she'd say, "Not today," or 
whatever, [laughing] I'm jumping around. Rita was fantastic. So, 
that's when Rita entered the picture. She is as close to being a 
member of the family as anyone who is not related. 

The other story I would like to mention was, I got back a pair 
of jeans that had been worn out and patched and repatched, and 
finally they cut the seams. We had a guarantee, a new pair free if 
they ripped, and the mother had said, "The seams ripped." 

Well, in true Harvard Business School style I'd learned that if 
you have a complaint, that's the chance to make a friend. So, I 
wrote a long letter back explaining that we stood behind our 
product. But this was an unfair request, that they'd had more than 
adequate wear, and we appreciated her returning them but really it 
was an unwarranted return. 

About a week later I got a letter back. It should have been 
written on asbestos, it was so blistering. "How can a company of 



72 

your reputation take an attitude like that?" She just ripped me up 
and down for not standing behind the guarantee. 

I took the letter to Mr. Beronio and I said, "What did I do 
wrong?" And I remember his looking down over his glasses and 
looking at the letter and saying, "You signed your name so she could 
read it." [laughter] There was no lesson in it, but it was a 
wonderful story. 



Integrating Office Staff 



Lage: Now, I see here a note about Lois Loss? 

Haas: All right, Lois Loss was our first female officer going back thirty 
years now. And I only mentioned it because she was an officer, and 
in fact she wasn't really an officer. She was an officer so she 
could sign checks and a few things like that. 

But oh gosh, then we start getting into the whole story of 
integration. 

If 

Haas: I hired the first black member of our office staff. His name was 
Booker T. Washington, and he was just a warehouseman, although he 
ended up as a shareholder. He was married to a schoolteacher. He 
was a former musician, and he led kind of a wild life. He really 
worked out to be wonderful employee, and emissary, because when he 
retired he said he was the largest black stockholder in the 
company's history. And he and his wife would travel through Europe, 
and they'd call on our plants. He was a wonderful man. 

Lage: When you hired him was there a feeling that this was something 
monumental? 

Haas: Oh, yes. It was a conscious attempt to begin to bring in 

minorities. And the reason we did it, first of all, we felt it was 
the proper thing to do. It was long before it was the law of the 
land or required in any way. 

Lage: Was it before there were civil rights protests? 

Haas: Oh, yes. [Booker T. Washington was hired August 16, 1946] 

He was very conscientious. He came to me one day and he said, 
"Mr. Haas, I know you're going to hire another colored man, but 



73 

could I interview him first, because I want to be sure you get a 
good man. I don't want him to ruin my opportunities." It was very 
interesting. 

Lage: And so did you have him do that? 

Haas: Yes. And then we hired our first [black] lady. She worked in what 
was then the mezzanine, which was kind of our key punch operation, 
full of computers. And Lois Loss complained, said, "I'm not going 
to use the same rest room facilities as that woman." And I said, 
"Well, then you'll hand in your resignation." And she backed off. 

Lage: My goodness. 

Haas: So, you know, those things weren't that easy. But they all worked-- 
they happened to be carefully selected, and they lived up to 
expectations, and they got the respect of their fellow workers, and 
it moved on from there. 

Lage: Do you have any sense of what motivated you to take that step? 

Haas: Well, yes. I thought that theit's hard to project back to those 
days, and I don't want to attribute more to my moral sense than 
anything else--. 

It was a selfish thing to do. There was a great inventory and 
pool of resources out there that we were denying ourselves the use 
of. Basically, there was a lot of talent, and we weren't taking 
advantage of it. And of course, starting with a warehouseman isn't 
very earthshaking, but Booker ended up as the executive chauffeur, 
and he was so proud of being executive chauffeur. 

He was, I guess, what you'd call an Uncle Tom now. I remember 
going out to Mission District to call on a kind of a radical bunch 
of young black kids who we were trying to help, and he said, "You 
shouldn't go to places like this." 

Lage: So he might have been a little more conservative than you were on 
racial issues. 

Haas: He probably was. 



Good Coaches Made Good Salesmen 

Haas: I want to mention two more personnel-related things, because I did 
become personnel manager. 



74 

The first thing was that when I was hiring salesmen I decided-- 
and I was always interested in athleticsthat some real good 
candidates would be assistant football coaches. There was a lot of 
turnover in the coaching staffs. I figured an assistant football 
coach was used to traveling, was used to working long, long hours, 
and was used to selling, trying to sell a high school prospect on 
coming to Berkeley or wherever. And they weren't paid very well. 

So I hired a bunch of assistant football coaches along through 
the years. One of them is Bill Taylor, who's the vice president in 
charge of retail operations now. I would say that universally it 
worked out very well, because they had the work ethic and the 
experience of selling. And they were young, and they were 
ambitious, and they were underpaid. 

Lage: And they didn't mind the change of professions? 

Haas: No, no, and the geography made no difference. So, that was kind of 
an unusual approach, but it worked. 

Lage: Well, it shows me that you were really analyzing the qualities that 
make a good salesman or a good employee. 



Psychological Testing for Applicants 



Haas: Then the other personnel matter. I didn't know much about testing 
but I knew that Stanford had put out some sort of a little 
psychological test for use in personnel screening. I didn't prepare 
myself properly, I'll admit that, but I did start giving it to 
people I was thinking of hiring, in kind of an ignorant way. But it 
helped me, it helped me because it'd at least screen out some that I 
sensed were not too well qualified, and this would confirm it. 

The reason I tell this story was I finally decided to give 
myself the test. And I rated in different areas in varying degrees, 
but the lowest score I got was as personnel manager. So, I went to 
Dad and I said I think I ought to change. I was the wrong person to 
be a personnel manager in a family business in the first place. 
People can't come to me and tell me their problems, real problems. 
And a good personnel manager in a small company has to be able to 
counsel with employees in a way that I wasn't able to. But that 
shows, you know, everything wasn't all smooth and what it should 
have been. 



75 
The Key to the Executive John 

Lage: What was your position after personnel manager? 

Haas: I don't remember. I probably became a vice president. 

Let's see, we haven't done the integration of plants. And 
that's a big story. And the executive John, that's my favorite 
story. 

Lage: Do you want to tell that now since your mind is on it? 

Haas: Sure. Well, this is jumping ahead. But through it all as Peter and 
I moved up the ladder our salaries were very modest. That didn't 
bother us particularly, except you somehow wonder aboutbut this 
was Dad's idea. 

Well, in the back of the building were the two Johns, and there 
were three stalls in the men's John, and one had a key that only Dad 
and Dan used. And as we moved up the ladder, Peter and I were never 
offered a key to the executive John. And this kind of became a 
little joke between us. Finally I was made president, and Peter was 
made executive vice president, and we got a modest raise, but no key 
to the executive John. 

It was still a small office, and every morning my uncle would 
take his mail, and the people would see him walking towards the 
back, and five or ten minutes later he'd come back to his office. 
And then Dad would take the newspaper and would go back. Everybody 
knows what's going on in a little office, and everybody was in on 
the fact we didn't get a key to the executive John. So what did we 
do? We changed the lock. 

So, everybody was in on this too. [laughing] Dad and Dan were 
in town. And forgetting there were two other stalls, of course, Dad 
came back in a panic, showing his key. Then, Dan, the two went back 
there, and of course they never could get in, and that was kind of a 
funny joke. But that's not quite the end of the story, because the 
sequel was that they took the lock off the executive John. And to 
this day I've never gotten a key to the executive John. [laughter] 

Lage: That's a wonderful story. 

Haas: Isn't that fun? And that kind of leads into the presidency. A lot 
of these things might have happened after I was president, I don't 
know. 

Lage: Well, I know it's hard to delineate time, but I think this is enough 
for today. 



76 



IV LEVI STRAUSS & CO. MANAGEMENT, GROWTH, AND PEOPLE, 1950S- 1960S 

[Interview 4: September 2, 1994] ## 

Three Generations in the Family Business 



Lage: You wanted to begin today with some thoughts carried on from our 
last session. 

Haas: Yes. You were asking about the transition to my presidency, and I 

can't remember how many of these things we're talking about happened 
before or after I became president, or were kind of an ongoing or a 
developing program. There's no particular date on them. But I 
wanted to get back to a couple of things. 

First, I mentioned the fact that not every member who came in 
the business stayed with it. And a perfect example is my nephew 
Peter Haas, Jr. You know we had a tradition of partnerships, my 
father and my uncle, my brother and myself. And though Peter is 
considerably younger than Bob, he came into the business, and I 
guess it was perhaps hoped that they could work as a team. 

Peter held a number of middle management positions both here 
and in Europe, but after several years he decided that he wanted to 
spend more time with his family while they were growing up. Most 
senior positions require extensive travel. So he retired and 
pursued his interest in community service, but he continues to serve 
as a director on Levi's board. 

Lage: Had he gone to business school as well? Was that his preparation? 
Haas: He graduated from Stanford and then went to Harvard Business School. 
Lage: So, it's not a family team now, at least. 

Haas: No, it isn't. And looking down through the next generation it's 

pretty hard to see where there's any family succession, unless there 



77 

are some marriages--. But the grandkids are all pretty young still. 
So, that's one of the major problems facing Bob. 

Lage: Well, Bob is not very old, after all. 

Haas: No, but Bob has worked very, very hard, and works terribly hardI 
think he enjoys the challenge, but I don't think he's going to stay 
on the way I have or his predecessors have. I think at a fairly 
early age he'll like to be eased of the burden. But I know he feels 
a strong responsibility, and we'll just have to see what happens. 



Employee Stock Purchase, and Family Shareholders 



Haas: I think one of the key things to our success, which I haven't 
mentioned, is the employee stock purchase plan. That was a 
wonderful program. Once a year we would have a distribution of 
shares and employees could buy shares in Levi's at book price. The 
shares were restricted, so that if the employee left the company for 
any reason the company had the right to buy the stock back at the 
then book value. And during these years, you can see the growth of 
the company, the book value kept increasing, and it was a very, very 
good investment. It gave them a sense of proprietorship and 
participation. 

I think one of the hardest things when we went private, for me, 
was to have to buy those shares back because these were 
unsophisticated investors. They had no idea what to do with their 
money. I gave you a list of thirty-plus of our employees who became 
instant millionaires when we went public, because obviously the 
stock price was greater than the book value by a huge margin. Then 
when we went private, we bought all those shares back at a fair 
market price. The only way to go private was to take the shares off 
the market, and that was a very difficult experience. 

Lage: When did the employee stock purchase plan start? Early on, didn't 
it? 

Haas: I think it was in existence when I came into the company. 
Lage: And was it offered only to the higher levels of employees? 

Haas: No, no. It was offered to--. Well, factory employees couldn't 

afford it; they couldn't afford to put money into equities. But it 
was staff--! mean, we had Booker T. Washington, I mentioned him 
earlier, and secretaries. 



78 

We had a little allocation committee I guess it was my father, 
my uncle, Peter and myself --and we kind of tried to weigh years of 
service and their importance in the company, and it worked very 
well. The finances were handled by Iris Securities, the predecessor 
to Argonaut Securities Company, a little family banking and 
accounting concern. Iris Securities would enable the employees to 
buy on time. So the employee stock purchase plan was very small, 
and very important . 

Lage: Was it also a way of financing growth? 

Haas: Not really. That was the problem, and that leads into one of the 
tough decisions we had, because Dad was very, very jealous of the 
fact that our figures are private and the public didn't know. But 
as we grew, more and more employees wanted to become involved. And 
then we had a choice of, I think--my memory's not good on thisbut 
I think if you go over five hundred shareholders then you have to 
publicize your figures to the Securities and Exchange Commission. 
We decided it was more important that we not limit the number of 
employee shareholders versus publicizing the figures so we opted in 
favor of having more shareholders. But that was a hard experience. 

Lage: Hard for your dad? 

Haas: For Dad and for all of us because-- 

Lage: You lose privacy. 

Haas: You lose privacy. That's right. 

Lage: Were there other family members who were shareholders aside from the 
people who worked there? 

Haas: Oh, yes. The Koshland family, and Madeleine Russell was a major 
shareholder. 

Lage: Was that by reason of inheritance from the Sterns? 

Haas: Yes. 

Lage: Or did the family invest? 

Haas: No, I think it was mostly by inheritance. I'm not sure. I know 
that Dad distributed some shares to his three children. And it 
seems to me at one time he asked Madeleine Russell, who was not 
involved in the business, to sell some shares to those of us who 
were so that we could benefit directly from our efforts. But it was 
all family and employees; there were no non-employee, non-family 
shareholders . 



79 
Memorable Early Names and Events in Manufacturing and Marketing 



Haas: Now, I think I should mention some names, because through it all, 

people are what have made this company successful. We've mentioned 
Bill Lagoria, and we've mentioned Dick Cronin, and we've mentioned 
Dave Beronio. Leslie Fenster was considered our best executive. He 
was head of "A" Department, which was men's furnishings. He was an 
excellent executive, but retired fairly early. 

Lage: These were the early days. 

Haas: These were early days. And then Chris Lucier. Chris was head of 
the Western Wear Department, probably our best merchant and 
marketer. And among other things he developed the idea of that 
concealed copper rivet that you had on your back pocket, which was a 
patent that we had early on. It was a very convoluted manufacturing 
process. He also had the idea of putting the red tab on our jeans, 
a trademark we guard jealously. 

Lage: What was the purpose of the concealed rivet? 

Haas: We did it mostly, I think, because it kept the rivets from 

scratching furniture and so forth. These are the little odds and 
ends. But Chris was an outstanding merchandiser. 

When we started going into the women's business he was kind of 
in charge of that, and I'm not even sure of the facts now, you can 
tell me, but he felt that the zipper on a lady's pants was on the 
wrong side, because when she had to take her pants down for any 
reason, she had to take the belt all the way around. So, he put the 
zipper on the other side, which is much more practical but of course 
bombed, because people were used to the standard zipper. 

Lage: This kind of thing is very ingrained. [laughter] Even the idea 
that the zipper had to be on the side for women. That was the 
times . 

Haas: Yes, it was. No more. But it was on the side at that time. And it 
was a basic mistake. But anyway, he was still our best. 

Lage: Well, you weren't too experienced in women's wear. 

Haas: We didn't know anything about it, and I always got kidded about 

getting into ladies' pants-- [laughter] --but that's how I first did 
it, I guess. 

Just talking of incidents, I remember very well we had a sales 
meeting and we had the president of the Emporium, which was our 



80 

biggest account in San Francisco, come and talk to us--I can't 
remember his name. In any event, I was impressed because he said 
that he felt we were taking him for granted, that when we had a good 
and valued customer, we should treat him as if he were a new 
customer. I've never forgotten that because it's very, very 
important. It's so easy to take people for granted, or situations 
for granted. 

You keep asking me about my learning experience and these are 
the kinds of things that stuck in my mind. 

Lage: It sounds to me like you're a person who listens. 
Haas: Well, sometimes. He had a good message. 

Lage: Speaking of department stores, you said you didn't sell much to 
department stores. 

Haas: We didn't. 

Lage: How did that evolve? 

Haas: That evolved down the road as we expanded our product styles, beyond 
the basic jeans. That's a pretty big story, because we had to get 
into the big stores, and certainly when we expanded geographically 
to the East we had to do it in the major stores. One of the goofy 
things that happenedMel Bacharach was the one responsible for 
this --we came out with what we called orange, lemon, and lime 
slacks . 

Lage: Mel Bacharach? Everyone gives you credit for that in things I've 
read. 

Haas: No, it was his idea. Anyway, they were literally slacks in orange, 
lemon, and lime colors. They were horrible! I think, I don't 
remember for sure, but I think that people bought them because we 
publicized them. Probably half of them came back unsold, but we did 
get a full-page spread in Life magazine, which was a major national 
publication at the time. And because of that, the retail stores 
really caught on to it and tried it. 

Lage: So, something that was almost a mistake turned out well. 

Haas: It was outrageous, but it was attention-getting--and it wasn't a 
mistake. 

Lage: Were those colors popular at the time? 



81 

Haas: I don't remember that they were popular. It was just an idea to get 
us on the map, and we did. I think that did it as much as anything. 

Lage: And those were casual wear. 

Haas: Yes, slacks. 

Lage: Did you wear any yourself? 

Haas: No. [laughter] But going to the major department stores, it had to 
change our whole marketing approach because they insisted on much 
bigger markups. 

Lage: Bigger markups than the mom and pop stores? 

Haas: Oh, much. You see, we would always argue that it's better to take a 
pair of Levi's--and I think the markup was in the neighborhood of 25 
percent- -and turn them over eight or ten times a year, and not have 
any mark downs, and it wouldn't go out of style, versus a product 
that you only sold two of a year and got 50 percent on. But we 
never could sell that argument. 

Lage: They didn't see it that way. 

Haas: Well, retail accounting doesn't provide for that, and it's wrong. I 
still think it's wrong. So when we went into the major stores, it 
changed our whole philosophy of the pricing and everything else. 
Advertising percentages began to go up. We had to get into 
cooperative advertising. The whole ball of wax. 

I want to mention Joe Frank, who probably has the longest 
record of working for Levi's of anybody. And I mention him because 
when I started Joe was still there, and he had known Levi Strauss 
and had worked for Levi Strauss. He was a salesman. We had a desk 
for him, and he stuck around--! think he was with the company over 
seventy years. That was the only thing he knew. He was a bachelor 
and lived with his sister. He had plenty of money, but he would 
take the trolley down to work, and he would borrow the newspaper 
from the telephone operator. 

Lage: Did he talk about Levi Strauss? 

Haas: He talked about the early days when he was a drummer. He always had 
an assistant, and they would get into a four-horse, or six-horse 
wagon and go up and down the coast selling our dry goods. These 
were long journeys, and I remember that he used to say that the only 
thing that kept him interested was he would bet his companion on 
which horse was going to defecate first. [laughter] But I don't 



82 



remember too much about him, except that he knew and worked for Lev! 
Strauss. 

Another famous salesman was Nat Gredis, who operated in Los 
Angeles. He came to us when we acquired a small wholesaling 
company-- Jacoby and Co. His sales started growing and Joe Frank 
became jealous that Nat's volume would soon be greater than his. 
Joe was accustomed to being the number one salesman in our company. 

So, on his own, Joe went to Los Angeles to see how Nat was 
doing this. When he walked into the office, Nat asked him to join 
him on his rounds, and Joe fell into this well-conceived trap. It 
was July, and hot as blazes. The first account asked Nat if he had 
anything special, and was shown some heavy yellow rain slickers in 
July! The buyer ordered 100 dozen. The next account ordered a 
similarly ridiculous large amount. And so on. After about three 
more accounts gave orders, Joe left, went back to Sacramento in the 
heat of summer, and tried to peddle rain slickers to his accounts in 
the heat of summer! 



A Negotiating Lesson from Walter Haas, Sr. 



Haas: And one other very important lesson I learned was when we--as we 
were expanding, there was a company in Sedalia, Missouri, called 
J.A. Lamy Manufacturing Company. They apparently had some excess 
production capacity, and I remember "Sonny" Stafford and his father 
came out to discuss the possibility of our contracting with Lamy. 
I, and I guess Peter, too, sat in on a meeting between the Lamy 
father and son and Dad and Dan. They had a capacity of six lines, 
which is six hundred dozen pair a day, and we were negotiating for 
one line of one hundred dozen. 

At the end of the day, we got the hundred dozen. I drove Dad 
home and I said, "Dad, you know, you could have gotten that for five 
or ten cents a dozen cheaper. Why didn't you bargain a little 
harder?" And he said, "Well, I know I could have." He said, "But 
you know, we really want those other five lines, and if you make a 
deal, both sides have to be happy with the deal. And it was 
important to me that they be pleased with these arrangements." 

We eventually did get the entire production, and the whole 
thing was sealed by the handshake. Today, J.A. Lamy is still a 
major contractor. We take all their production, and it was done 
with a handshake. We haven't had anything in writing during that 
period. That was a good lesson. 



83 
Expansion to the Eastern Market and Sales Force Rivalries 

Haas: As kind of an outgrowth of that--J.A. Lamy had a sales force, and 
they were selling in the East. 

Lage: Selling Levi's? 

Haas: No, no. They were selling their own product. But part of the deal 
when they took on our product was that half their productionhalf 
the production they gave Levi's--had to go to their sales force 
because those hundred dozen a day they were producing, whatever it 
was, were in a new product, and their sales reps would be missing 
this quantity of their production. Well, this was very hard on our 
Western sales force because our goods were so scarce they were in 
allocation. That's why we needed the extra production. 

Of course, our people were furious; they wanted the whole line. 
That's where we got into Lee Weinberg, who was a partner, I guess, 
of Lamy and was in charge of their sales force. I guess they had 
ten or twelve salesmen. They never heard of Levi's; they didn't 
want them. They didn't want them, and they had to be persuaded to 
try. Of course, they had a bonanza, and it led to a little 
incident, because there was such unhappiness with their giving up 
part of the production. 

Among the salesmen that Weinberg had was a fellow named Jack 
Pike. He was kind of a starmatter of fact, he was in the office 
the other day to say hello, which was nice. Jack was kind of the 
bete noire because he seemed to be selling Levi's everywhere, and 
our people couldn't get them. We were having a sales meeting one 
time, and we hired a professional, and we introduced him around as 
Jack Pike. 

This Jack- impersonator would come up to me after a drink and 
say, "Walter, you know, I forgot to mention, but I need another 
hundred dozen Levi's for Marshall Field." And I'd say, "Fine, Jack, 
you can have it," within hearing of our people. They went crazy. 

Lage: Oh, no! 

Haas: It was just a gag. Yes. [laughter] 

Lage: Now where were they selling? What part of the country? 

Haas: Oh, they were mostly in Missouri in the Midwest. And I think they 
had representation even to the East Coast. 

Lage: Did they open up a new market? 



84 

Haas: Yes, they introduced Levi's to the Eastern market. 

Lage: Did you train their sales people on all the virtues of your product? 

Haas: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. That really was a breakthrough. 

Lage: One that your own people couldn't have done, do you think? 

Haas: Well, it would have taken a lot longer. They had contacts with the 
major retailers. 

The Levi's Image, and the Hollywood Factor 



Lage: We talked a little about the popularity of Levi's jeans and why they 
caught on so much, but we didn't mention the influence of Hollywood. 
We had the Hollywood cowboys who wore blue jeans in the thirties. 
But the fifties, too? 

Haas: Yes, James Dean and Bing Crosby and others started wearing them. 

That reminds me. Bing Crosby had a ranch in Nevada somewhere. 
He was on a fishing trip up into British Columbia, I believe, and he 
came back dirty and unshaven, and the hotel didn't recognize him and 
wouldn't let him in, wouldn't give him a reservation. Somehow we 
heard about this, and he was a good sport, so we made him a Levi's 
tuxedo. We made a tuxedo out of denim with rivets and everything 
else, and we got a label inside reading that with permission from 
the Hotel Association of the United States that anybody wearing this 
tuxedo would be given a reservation in any hotel. And Bing wore it. 

I had a copy made, and I wore it once to a dance and oh, it was 
smothering, it was so hot. It was heavy denim and didn't breathe. 
So, Hollywood had an influence. 

Lage: Did Bing Crosby wear them in movies? 

Haas: No, I don't think so. But James Dean, I guess, is the one they 
think of most . 

Lage: Right, and Marlon Brando. 

Haas: And I guess Brando. I don't know if Gary Cooper- -but they began to 
wear them in the movies. 

Lage: It was a kind of a symbol of disaffection? 



85 

Haas: Independence, yes. It's so funny, because as it became popular with 
the kids, again, it was a symbol of disaffection. And yet, they 
were like lemmings. We had an ad one time of all these kids who 
were- -well, they weren't as revolutionary or as active, perhaps, as 
kids today, but they looked all alike in Levi's. 

People have often asked why Levi's were so popular. I've never 
been able to really figure it out. But they're a unique garment. 
First of all, it's a good value. They're worn by both sexes. 
They're worn by all ages. They're worn by people in all walks of 
life, whether you're a business executive or a maintenance man. 
They're worn by all races. Perhaps it's that unique universality 
that makes them so popular. But it's still holding on. And in 
Eastern Europe, they sell for enormous amounts. 

Lage: I told you my daughter was going to Spain, and she's been told that 
Spanish women dress very elegantly. She's a little nervous with her 
usual Berkeley dress. 

Haas: Yes, of course. 

Lage: Well, I went home and what had she bought, 501 's and a Levi denim 
shirt. And off to Spain she went! 

Haas: Good for her. I think that's grand. 

Lage: I want to ask one more thing about alienation. Lynn Downey 

mentioned that you might have something to say about the fact that 
at one time Levi's were banned in some grade schools. 

Haas: Yes, that's true. And of course, we couldn't really object to the 
banning of denims, but by then we'd become so well known they'd ban 
Levi's; they'd use the name. Then we'd have a battle. 

It was the same thing that we had as Levi's began to appear in 
literature. If they didn't capitalize it with an "apostrophe s", 
Levi's, we would write the publisher, because it was a trademark. I 
haven't stressed this, I don't think, until now, but I intended to. 
It's probably our most valuable asset. That's a priceless name. 

Lage: The name that you were worried about! 

Haas: The name that Evie and I were worried about is, well, not only known 
all over the world, but I think known very favorably. There's a 
nice connotation to it. It caused problems when we were trying to 
expand our product line because a lot of our people felt that Levi's 
meant waist overalls and if you got into a sport shirt or a casual 
slack we should have different brand names. We came up with "David 



86 

Hunter," and we came up with a lot of different things, and it never 
worked until we got into Dockers, which has been spectacular. 

The name, Levi's, was a mixed blessing, but we're still very 

protective and spend a fortune and that gets into a discussion of 

counterfeiting, which, incidentally, I don't want to forget to talk 
about. 

Lage: We'll be sure to get to that later. Were you concerned also, when 
schools started banning them, about an image that the pants were 
getting? Or did that not disturb you? 

Haas: I don't think the pants were getting a bad image. I think the 

school authorities were more concerned about the fact that maybe 
people wore them, and they got dirty or torn. Because a clean pair 
of Levi's is not an unattractive piece of wearing apparel. Matter 
of fact, it's kind of a sexy thing on a female figure. 



Thoughts on Transitions. Growth, and Relationships 

Lage: I want to talk a little more about transitions in the company. As I 
mentioned before, it's something that students of business are very 
interested in. And you make it all sound so smooth. 

Haas: Well, it was smooth because my father and my uncle accepted us, had 
confidence in us, shared the management discussions with us. And I 
think, on the other hand, probably because Peter and I were 
conscientious and working hard and interested in the business, they 
had confidence in us . I was only forty-two--maybe that seemed a bit 
young at the time--when I became the president. 

But actually, the two years before Peter and I succeeded Dan 
Koshland as the president I would say that we were virtually running 
the company at the time. 



Lage: After you became president, was there any incident where you--? 

Haas: No, I tell you, and having been through the same thing myself, I 

don't think I did it as gracefully as my father did. I tried not to 
show it on the surface but I felt that a lot of things that Bob was 
doing were not the way I would have done them. But they proved to 
be correct. 



87 

I'm sure that Dad, particularly, was concerned that this 
business was growing too fast, and getting out of hand and out of 
control, and taking on risks that seemed rather unnecessary. But it 
worked . 

Lage: Your father wasn't as much of a risk-taker? 

Haas: I shouldn't say that. But the older you get, the arteries harden a 
little bit, I guess, and you don't do things you would have done 
yourself earlier. But he took great pride in the company and great 
pride in us. So, I don't really--you might speak to Peter--but I 
don't have anything but the feeling that the transition was natural 
and kind of scheduled and worked out pretty well. 

Lage: There really are horror stories about family businesses where the 
older generation keeps the younger one down. 

Haas: There's no question about it, and it's quite remarkable that my--. 
You know, here's a family in the fifth generation, and usually by 
then they're into yachts and wild life and airplanes and all the 
rest. And here, Bob is probably the most capable of all the 
generations, and he is running a huge business. 

Lage: That says something for the way you raised him, I would think. 

Haas: I think it's the way we were raised and the way he was raised. 
Sure. 

Lage: Now, you also mentioned the relationship you had with your father as 
a young man being somewhat distant and formal. Did that remain so 
as you grew older? 

Haas: No, I think I got closer. I remember I made a point of, 

particularly as he got older, but I think there wasn't a day that I 
didn't visit with him in his office. It might have been for thirty 
seconds, it might have been for two minutes, but I always went. And 
it got much closer. Particularly in the later years, when my mother 
was becoming less well, it was important to maintain that 
relationship. And we did. 

I don't mean to say they weren't loving and devoted and 
conscientious parents. It was just a lifestyle in those days. 

Lage: It's a style of child rearing and also formality, I think. But I 
wondered if it altered as time went on. 

Haas: Well, I think we got closer. We were together every day. 



88 

Lage: Another thing I thought was interesting, in a letter or speech that 
Bob had written I think in 1990, he mentioned--! guess he was trying 
to show that things weren't always as smooth as they seemed in 
retrospect- -something about longstanding feuds and fiery 
relationships in the past. 

Haas: Oh, we surely had executives that didn't get along particularly 

well. And that's part of the job of a CEO. You're aware of it, and 
you just have to adjudicate things and keep them moving. 



Integrating the Work Force in the South, 1950s 

Lage: Do you want to pick up the topic of integrating the factories in the 
South? 

Haas: Yes, I think we should talk about that because that started 
happening before I was president. 

Lage: In the fifties? 

Haas: Yes, as we were growing. We felt that that was the right thing to 
do. It was long before any law requiring affirmative action. We 
were growing, and we would go into primarily the Southwest and 
Southeast where wages were lower. 

We would make surveys in these small communities- -the 
Department of Employment would make them for us--to see whether or 
not there was a big enough labor pool to sustain a plant of several 
hundred women, really. The important thing you had to realize is 
that you had to have male employment in the area, because if there 
wasn't employment for the husbands, our employees would move if the 
husband left the community. 

Lage: Now, why did you hire mainly women? 

Haas: There are mainly women on sewing machines. 

Lage: Men just didn't apply? 

Haas: Men didn't--it wasn't a job for men. And it still isn't. We have 
plenty of men and particularly Hispanics- -we've got the highest 
Hispanic population in our sewing machine force. But it was 90 
percent womenit's a female trait, I guess. 



89 

So we'd go to the city fathers, because they would give us 
buildings or tax breaks or this or that trying to attract the 
industry. And we would say, "By the way, we're an equal opportunity 
employer." Sometimes they'd shy away, but we really integrated many 
communities in the South, because the economic lure of employment 
forced them to change their attitudes. It was really very 
rewarding. 

I know I spoke to a lot of my business friends, friends in the 
business community. They'd say, "Why do you take on this additional 
burden when there's enough problem with labor anyway?" Well, we 
felt it was important, very important. And we did change attitudes. 
We would not, in the first few years, open a plant in Mississippi or 
Alabama because their governments were patently racist. 

I don't say there wasn't prejudice elsewhere. I remember Paul 
Glasgow, for instance, in one incident in Blackstone, Virginia. We 
took over an existing plant, and pretty soon we indicated we wanted 
to integrate it. It was already operating. 

Lage: You bought it from another company? 

Haas: Yes. We were having trouble getting references from the employment 
department, the state government employment department. We found 
out that they were trying to undermine our philosophy. And we had 
long discussions. 

Paul Glasgow met with the business leaders and said, "You've 
got to do it, or we're going to move out." And they said, "Well, 
okay, if we segregate the bathrooms, colored and not colored." And 
he said, "No." They said, "Okay. Then we'll draw a line down the 
middle of the plant, colored in one side and white in the other." 
And he said, "No," and he forced them to accept us. The important 
part of this story is that he did it without consulting with us. 

Lage: Oh, really? 

Haas: He knew that we'd back him, and a young plant manager is all he was 
at the time. 

Lage: A plant manager in that local place? 

Haas: In that local place. Stuck up for what he believed in and he knew 
we believed in. I thought that was very significant. It showed 
that it is so easy for management to espouse a certain philosophy or 
point of view and then have lip service given around. But here we 
felt that it permeated the organization. We felt very good about 
that. 



90 

Lage: So you didn't have to get in on the decision or the strategy? 

Haas: Nope, nope. 

Lage: Well, that's good. And Paul Glasgow was with you for a long time. 

Haas: Oh, yes. He came with us and became a director. It doesn't belong 
here, but when we went public we had to have two outside directors, 
and I remember Paul accusing Arjay Miller, one of the first two 
outside directors, probably in the men's John, saying, "What the 
heck are you- -why do we need you? We don't need outside directors. 
You don't know anything about the apparel business!" They had a 
big, long, difficult argument. It was very hard for our people to 
accept this. But that's way down the road. 

Lage: Yes, well, that will be very interesting. I'll make a note to go 
back to that. 



Introducing Sta-Prest 



Lage: I wanted to ask you about the introduction of the Sta-Prest finish. 
That sounds like a great thing. 

Haas: That was a great thing. That was another major development that 
enabled us to get an entre with department stores. 

Lage: And wasn't that a big risk, when we're talking about risk taking? 

Haas: Huge, huge risk. It was a huge risk. We had to invest a million 
dollars. I think it was a million dollars. Sounds like it should 
have been more, but it was a lot of money for us in those days. 

Lage: It was around 1963, I believe. It may have been in the works before 
that. 

Haas: Well, all right. We had to invest in ovens, in a process that was 
really unproven, except there was-- 

Lage: There was a permanent press- 
Haas: There was, yes. Koret had a permanent press in women's skirts, 

pleats in women's skirts, yes, and that was basically the process. 
And one of our people, Mel Bacharach, saw the possibilities and 
persuaded us to put out a product line. We brought them out and 
basically we had slacks that we claimed didn't need pressing. We 
called them Sta-Prest. 



91 

We had a demonstration--! took part in one of the first ones at 
the Emporium Capwell's in Oaklandand we had the executives there 
at a luncheon in their dining room. We brought in a little clothes 
dryer, and we had some wet, washed slacks, and we threw them in. 

I sat there--! couldn't swallow a mouthful of that lunch. At 
the end of the lunch the drying was completed, and we pulled out the 
permanent press and the Sta-Prest, and the Sta-Prest proved its 
worth. That's how we sold them in the first days. 

We had a real problem with formaldehyde. In developing the 
characteristics we had to use a certain amount of different 
chemicals--! 'm not familiar with thembut formaldehyde I do 
remember because it had a terrible odor and stung the eyes and 
everything else. And we were pioneers in the industry to get the 
mills to change the process so it wouldn't affect their workers 
negatively with the fumes of developing Sta-Prest. 

Lage: That's interesting, because that kind of thing wasn't in the public 
eye then. 

Haas: No. That was just in keeping with the general philosophy of the 
business. 

Lage: Was your process, the Sta-Prest, a patented process? 

Haas: It was patented, I think, by Koret. I know we had a major, major 
lawsuit with Koret over the process, extended over two or three or 
four years, and we eventually prevailed. But there was a big--. I 
guess they were complaining about our use. 

Lage: How did you make that process your own? Maybe I should be asking 
someone else about it, but did you do something unique? 

Haas: Oh, yes, it was unique. And it's ironic, because we have been so 
outstanding in Dockers and way ahead of everybody, and the 
competition recently came out with what they call wrinkle-free and 
took the play away from us until this year when we're beginning to 
catch up and get back. But the Sta-Prest process worked, and then I 
don't know why, over a period of time, it was less important, and we 
just didn't use it as much. 

Lage: I think people got into the wrinkled look there for a while. 

Did you have an active research and development program in 
general? Was there a department? 



92 

Haas: Well, Peter and I developed one. Most of the research and 

development was done by sewing machine manufacturers and various 
suppliers, but it was very inadequate in those days. 

We put up a plant in Texas--! don't remember the name of the 
townmostly trying to automate the manufacturing process, because 
it's a hand process and antiquated. The sewing machine has not 
really changed much from two hundred years ago, except with 
attachments and this and that and the other. Now, we're getting 
into automation. 

That all should have been done by, we think, the suppliers, but 
we've done a lot of it, and I don't really know the status of it 
now. I did visit a plant with the directors a year or so ago, and 
it's amazing how far we've come with automation. But there's still 
a long way to go. 

Lage: Yes. There are a lot of changes going on. 



Product Integrity 



Haas: Through all of these changes, we've been concerned with the 

integrity of our product. "Product integrity." That was an unusual 
term and I want to claim credit for it, because we have this fellow, 
Al [Alfred V.] Sanguinetti. Did I mention him? No, I don't believe 
I did. 

Lage: I don't believe you have. 

Haas: He was head of our jeans department, and of course, he's retired now 
and I've lost touch with him. He came from an old-fashioned Italian 
family. In fact, his mother was a sewing machine operator at our 
Valencia Street factory. 

I don't know if his parents spoke English. I remember the day 
he was appointed a director he called his mother and said he'd been 
made a director of the companyhe was a poor boy who worked his way 
up from stock boy to plant manager to directorand his mother said, 
"Alfred, you forgot to cork the wine last night." [laughter] 
Anyway, Al was very independent, very opinionated. When we were 
having trouble with the quality of our products, we felt we should 
appoint somebody to oversee, maintain the quality of our product 
line. 

Lage: Was this when you were expanding? 



93 

Haas: Expanding, yes. This was down the road. And we came up with the 
idea that he was going to be director of the Department of Product 
Integrity, not quality control. That phrase kind of appeals to me. 

Lage: And you thought of it? 

Haas: Well, that's why it appeals to me. [laughter] It connotates a lot 
more than quality control. It means that every facet of the 
product, whether it's appearance or wearing quality, you can stand 
behind and be proud that it's got the Levi's name on it. 

Lage: And was Al the right person? 

Haas: Absolutely. What would happen is that we'd be under pressure to 
produce, and there would be a little problem with scheduling and 
they'd get a bunch of material in that was a little substandard but 
the plant manager thought, "Well, I've got to keep my people 
operating." So he'd start manufacturing. Al would close the plant 
down before he'd let that happen. That took courage, but it was 
right. 



Evie and the Back-to-School Levi's Jeans 



Haas: I do have to tell a story about my wife. This goes back very early 
on when we had a distribution center in San Jose. And then, as now, 
employees can buy our product wholesale-- 

II 

Haas: When it came time to outfit the kids to go back to school, we 

ordered wholesale. And somehow or other, some young kid down in San 
Jose filled the order wrong. It was the wrong size or something. 
Evie had given it to me, and I sent it back. I'm sure that some kid 
got hell down there for sending the president an improperly filled 
order. So, I finally said, "Look. Do me a favor. Buy retail. 
Just go down to the Stanford Shopping Center," and Wally was about 
eight years old, "and take him and get the Levi's for back to 
school. " 

So she went in and asked for Levi's and the man said, "Well, 
we've got them but we have something much better. Why don't you 
come and look at these." And she said, "Why, really don't you carry 
Levi's?" And he said, "Yes, we do, but you don't want those. You 
want I've got such a nice selection of other jeans." And she kept 
insisting and kind of reached an impasse and finally said, "Why 
won't you sell me Levi's?" He said, "I don't know what's the matter 



94 

with that company. There's some fellow up in San Francisco sitting 
on his duff, running the company, and he doesn't know what he's 
doing." 

Lage: You're kidding. 

Haas: No, this is true. [laughter] And so she said, "Oh, my goodness, if 
you feel that strongly, I'll go over to Macy's, but what's your 
name?" So she got his name. And the next morning when the Emporium 
opened, I walked in and asked for this fellow who turned out to be 
the buyer of the boy's department. I showed him my card, and I 
said, "I understand that you're having some trouble with our 
products." And he looked at my card, and he looked at me, and he 
said, "Oh, my goodness. You've got a lovely wife." [laughter] 
Well, she was really a lady and he was very frustrated. What 
actually happened, it turned out, is that the Levi's were in the 
Emporium system somewhere but he hadn't been able to get them up, 
and he didn't have a good stock of Levi's. 

Lage: So, it wasn't really your fault. 

Haas: No, it wasn't, but he said there's some guy sitting up there on his 
duff who doesn't know what he's doing and poor Evie just didn't say 
a word. I've got to give her credit. 

Lage: And you did some on-the-spot checking. 



"Levi's Is People": The First International Convention. 1968 

Haas: One of the things I do want to mention was our first international 
convention, in Miami [1968]. We'd never had this before where we 
had sales managers from all over the world, and we were 
international by then. I remember two things about it. First of 
all it was international, and that filled us with pride. We'd never 
had anything except our domestic people. 

We asked for a slogan, a theme that we could all come away 

with. And it was, "Levi's is ." We had suggestions of 

everything from "tops in bottoms," or "the largest manufacturer of 
topless outfits in the world," or whatever. But what it ended up 
was, "Levi's is people." That's kind of stuck ever since and it 
came out of that meeting and I just think it's appropriate to our 
company. 

Lage: Who came up with the "Levi's is people"? Did you? 



95 

Haas: I think I did. [laughs] I hadn't thought of it until we had the 
contest, and maybe others did, too. I'm not going to claim full 
credit, but I know I thought of it, and I really like it. I still 
like it. 

The other thing is a fun story because one of the guys decided 
we should have a golf tournament, and the theme of the golf 
tournament was "Beat the boss." So, I was playing against 
everybody. I'm a serious competitor, and the day before I thought, 
well, I'll get a little edge because I'm playing about thirty 
different guys, so I went out to the golf course. I thought I'd 
play one round and get at least the edge of knowing the holes. And 
I took out a good caddie. 

I'd severed my Achilles tendon about six months before, and so 
I really was somewhat handicapped because I hadn't been playing at 
all. I remember in the opening remarks at the meeting I addressed 
the group and tried to set the stage for the meeting. And I said, 
"Now I'm looking forward to the golf tournament. All I can do is 
pray for rain." 

Well, the day before, as I said, they were in meetings, and I 
went out on the course. Then the day of the tournament we started 
and about the fourth hole, the heavens opened up, and the guy I was 
playing with said, "I knew you had influence, but I never knew you 
had that much." [laughter] And I don't. Those are just silly 
things that I do remember. 

Lage: That's a good story. Now, you said you were a serious competitor. 
Did that influence your desire to take the risks and make the 
company grow? Is that a competitive instinct? 

Haas: I suppose so. Yes, I think you want to always do the best you can 
in everything. 

Lage: Did you watch your competitors' figures, like what was happening to 
Wrangler? 

Haas: Oh, you bet. You have to do that. And of course, I still do. You 
have to analyze. What's happened is through the years, because 
we're in such a wide range of business, the men's and the women's 
and the casual slacks, we had a series of different competitors. 
Wrangler and Lee have traditionally been the ones in the blue jeans. 

Lage: Right, in the early days. 

Haas: In the early days and still. But then we get into the designer 

jeans; they made a big splash and affected our sales for a while. 
And there are other names. I'm not familiar with the details now. 



96 



But through it all, Farah was an important competitor in the slacks 
business and Haggar. 

The names don't matter a lot because through the years they'll 
get something that catches on with the public for a couple of years, 
and our people will get very nervous and think that we're not doing 
the job. It keeps you on your toes. But in the long run we've 
continued to maintain our share of market or improve it pretty 
steadily and still are doing it. 



"Lev!' s Is PeoDle": Remarkable Executives . Remarkable Growth 



Haas: I want to talk more about Levi's executives because we talked about 
our philosophy, "Levi's is people." There is no question that our 
executive core, through all this period of growth, was outstanding. 
I served on many boards, large well-known corporations with good 
reputations, and I had contacts with the business leadership of the 
country. Although our people were not well known and few of them 
spent a lot of time in community service, as far as their business 
acumen and application to the task at hand they were head and 
shoulders above other corporations. That's the reason, of course, 
that we were so successful. 

Lage: Now, I want you to think a little bit about this. What's the reason 
for the excellence of your top executives? Is it a nurturing thing 
at Levi's? Is it the choices you've made in hiring? 

Haas: Both. Both. I think there's no question that they are a hard 

driving group of people. Even today, the next generation is doing 
the same thing, working long hours, devoting their lives to the 
problems of the company, and moving ahead in a remarkable way. It's 
important to our success. 

And we need to remember here that through all these incidents 
and stories I've been recording, we were enjoying, at least during 
the period I'm talking about, explosive growth. That is the 
background to all that I have been saying. Remarkable growth. [See 
page 69a.] Twenty percent cumulative [growth] a year for twenty or 
thirty years. But through that growth, we tried to maintain an 
informal management style and personal management and be sensitive 
to the needs of the constituents. That's very hard when you get 
bigger. 

Lage: I would think so. 

Haas: But we, in the main, did it. I don't remember at what point that we 
got to become one of the Fortune Five Hundred. But when we did, 



97 

even though we were at a lower level of the Fortune Five Hundred in 
sales, we were in the top, I'm sure, twenty or thirty in growth and 
the top twenty or thirty in return on investment. So, we may kid a 
little bit about some of the quirks of some of our people and some 
of the interesting little anecdotes but through it all, we were a 
very successful company. [See company sales history, next page.] 

Lage: Did your executives stay with you longer than average, do you think? 

Haas: Yes. Yes, I think they did. As a matter of fact, a point I wanted 
to insert was when we went public [in 1971] and people became so 
wealthy, I don't think we lost anybody. They stayed with us. They 
were dedicated to a lifestyle and an interest in the business. I 
don't remember losing anybody. I know our personal lifestyle didn't 
change, even though we became very, very wealthy. But the important 
thing was that the executives stayed with us. 

Lage: Now, when you talk about the personal management style, what do you 
mean by that? 

Haas: Concern for the individuals; recognition that you make concessions 
for long-term employees in promotion decisions and downsizing 
decisions; trying to keep in touch with everybody on a personal 
basis. It was informal. At one point, I knew everybody in the 
headquarters. Then I didn't because I couldn't. But most of them 
recognized me and Peter. You'd try very hard not to lose that. It 
didn't just happen. We worked at it. 

Lage: You had to work at it. Did the people that filled your top 

management, who were not family, did they, in turn, display this 
same personal management style? 

Haas: I believe they did. I remember enjoying going to our awards 
ceremonies where we recognized years of service, five or ten, 
fifteen. We used to have them once a year, and now we have them 
four times a year and fill the auditorium. But it seemed remarkable 
to me. It was just a whole new group of new people coming in. At 
first, they were learning the company and learning our philosophy 
and our way of doing things from those with more experience. Pretty 
soon they were the senior members of the staff and passing on the 
same thing. So, you have to inculcate it into all levels. That's 
why that story of Paul Glasgow integrating the plant in Blackstone 
is so important. He made a tough decision, and he knew we'd back 
him up. He knew how we felt. 

Lage: To me, this is one of the most important things to get from the oral 
history because these are intangibles that you don't find in company 
records --how you pass along this family way of looking at the world 
to a large corporation that's growing so fast. 



98 

Haas: Well, it was big. I can't say more. It made us unique and made me 
very proud. 



An Illustration of Personal Management Style 



Haas: One of my favorite stories, which may help illustrate this matter of 
personal management, happened early during my presidency. We used 
to have company picnics. Everybody would go, and the normal 
procedure was to have the executives cook the meat at a barbecue, 
and the employees and their families, wives and kids, would line up 
and we'd serve them. This occasion was over in the East Bay 
somewhere on a very, very hot day. Somehow or other, the young man 
who was supposed to deliver the steaks got lost. Everybody was 
there waiting for the meat to arrive. People were getting 
impatient, lined up for an hour or more waiting for their food on a 
scorchingly hot day when finally the truck arrived. 

So all of us pitched in to carry the heavy cartons of steaks to 
the barbecue pits. There were several of them. I was lugging a big 
heavy carton, and a young black kid from the basement saw me 
struggling with this, and he said, "It's about time you did 
something around here." I remember that. [laughter] 

Lage: Well, that shows a certain informality. 

Haas: Well, the whole point was that he could do that. He knew who I was, 
and I liked that he felt he could joke around with me. 



Keys to Success ## 



Art Roth 



Haas: You asked that I fill in more about some of the people that were 

important. First of all, let's talk about Art Roth. Art came to us 
from Stanford business school. As I recall, he started as an 
assistant to Dick Cronin in advertising and eventually succeeded 
Dick as our advertising manager. There he widened the scope and 
efficiency of our advertising to a national basis. 

Lage: Do you remember when he came on board? 



99 

Haas: Very early. He was one of that first small group of business school 
graduates that we hired in the late 1940s. Another one was Mel 
Bacharach. 

Lage: So he came on very early. 

Haas: Yes, very early. He eventually became a member of sales management. 
I guess his biggest contribution came when he went to New York and 
managed our eastern sales division. 

Lage: Was he a forward-looking person? 

Haas: Oh, he was excellent, yes he was. He was very progressive. He was 
one of the guys I'd consult with on major problems. You've got to 
realize that we were unknown in the East. The per capita sales in 
the East were nothing. We always thought that if we could even get 
per capita sales in the eastern part of the United States up to a 
quarter of what they are out here our business would explode. Art 
really made a difference in our growth because he introduced Levi's 
brand to the eastern market, and it became nationally recognized. 



Mel Bacharach 



Haas: Now I've spent more time on Art than on Mel Bacharach, who was 

really one of the stars of our business. Mel was something of a 
maverick. He was innovative. He always had new ideas. Many of 
them were contrary to traditional thinking, but they were always 
worth considering. 1 

Lage: How is he a maverick? What kind of ideas would he--? 

Haas: Oh, I can't remember specifically, but he just wasn't out of the 

common mold. He was independent, and he tried all kinds of things. 

Lage: In terms of marketing? 

Haas: In terms of marketing and of management and organization, whatever. 
He had his own way of doing it. We didn't always agree, but he 
really spurred us into a lot of good things. He's probably the best 
merchandiser we had. He made major contributions through the years. 
I've always felt that we should have a vice president in charge of 
revolution, so that management questions its decisions. He was 
pretty close to that. 



'See Appendix D. 



100 



Lage: He played that role for you? 

Haas: He played that role somewhat. 

Lage: So he wasn't a yes-man. 

Haas: Definitely. No, and that was good. 

Lage: And I would think that could happen in a family business. 

Haas: Well, it happens in a lot of businesses. You get to the top and 
nobody tells you the truth. They tell you what you want to hear. 
So many CEOs drive to work in a chauffeured limousine, and they go 
to lunch at the club with the other CEOs, and they're all, almost 
all of them, conservative Republicans, and they just don't get a 
sense and feeling of what's happening in the outside world. 

Lage: They're insulated, then. 

Haas: They're completely insulated and protected and hear what people 

think they want to hear. I tried not to have that happen, and Mel 
was pretty helpful. 



Other Key Executives 



Haas: I also want to be sure to mention Harry Cohn and Bob Kern as other 
executives who were important in my period. Bob Kern was the 
financial guy, treasurer. Harry Cohn worked his way up from being a 
stock boy in the basement and eventually headed our Casuals 
Division. He was an excellent executiveeven though we were never 
able to make sportswear profitable until the miracle of Dockers. 
But Harry's is a great success story for a capable and nice guy. 

Paul Glasgow was another one. He was head of production, who 
came to us as a young man from a competitor. There are some 
wonderful stories about Paul. (I told you about integrating the 
Blackstone, Virginia, factory.) He was remarkable. All of these 
fellows became directors eventually. 

This was a period of great growth and great success and great 
personal rewards and, you know, satisfaction. We've got to be sure 
that these key people are not left out of the story. 



101 
Howard Friedman 



Haas: Now, I have hardly mentioned one of the most important heroes in our 
business, and that's Howard Friedman. Howard married Dan Koshland's 
youngest daughter, Phyllis. He was a marvelous architect and truly 
a wonderful person. He remodeled our factory at 250 Valencia Street 
and made it into what appeared from the outside to be an old-time 
hotel. He improved the lighting as well as the interior decor and 
made it so that the working conditions were quite acceptable, even 
though it was a very antiquated and inefficient building. 

Howard was given the responsibility to build our factories all 
over the world. We were growing fast. He developed a module, a 
pretty standard layout, depending on the size of the plant. So you 
could recognize a Levi's plant anywhere. I don't know which came 
firstbut I went to the ribbon cutting in our Mexico City factory, 
and some years later, or before, I went to Adelaide, Australia, and 
it could have been the same building. 

Howard was a lot more than just an architect. He was a very 
sensitive person, and he was very much interested in the company. I 
consulted him frequently on matters of major importance that had 
nothing to do with architecture. He traveled from plant to plant, 
and he would get a sense of the morale of the workers. He wasn't 
prying or spying, but he'd come back and indicate that there were 
problems that we ought to address. And then there were sensitive 
family matters that he could be trusted to discuss. All I can say 
is that there's no way of estimating Howard's value to this company. 
He died a number of years ago, much to everyone's regret. He was 
teaching at Cal. He had retired from his architecture business, was 
teaching, and was highly regarded. He was a key player. 

Lage: I'm glad you brought him up. Now, was he an employee of Levi 
Strauss & Co., or with his own firm? 

Haas: No, we just contracted for his architectural services. 



Ed Combs and Frank Brann 



Haas: There are two other people I want to mention. One is Ed [Edward] 

Combs. Among his important assignments, Ed was put in charge of our 
international operations when we were just expanding in that area. 

He was killed in a plane crash. It was a terrible loss. 



102 

Lage: He was flying his own plane? 

Haas: Flying his own plane. And so we lost Ed. 

Another kind of a superstar was Frank Brann, a young man, who 
had a stroke on a golf course. Frank was the real star of the 
future, and his sudden loss was a terrible blow. We lost two of our 
key people along the way, so it's not always smooth sailing. But 
these people are part of the fabric that was so important. 

Lage: Fabric. A good word. Promoting or finding the value in someone 

like Ed Combs must be one of the main important things that you and 
Peter did. 

Haas: That is. 

Lage: Do you remember what it was that attracted you or how you came to 
promote him, knowing that it would cause unhappiness? 

Haas: No, I don't know how you recognize integrity and character and 

intelligence and initiative and all the qualities that make a good 
executive. But that is the most important job of an executive. 



The Policy of Controlled Growth 

Haas : I felt that one of the things we did that was very unpopular with 
some of the young Turks, and I was pretty young myself, was what I 
called our policy of controlled growth. We were growing at an 
incredibly rapid rate, and it was the envy of probably any business. 
But some of our young guys said we were missing opportunities, we 
were not growing fast enough. 

I wouldn't let it happen because I felt that all parts of the 
business had to grow together. You couldn't have sales 
outdistancing production, which is simple. Or go so fast that we 
couldn't support it financially, or with trained personnel. And so 
that was a balancing act that was very important to maintain. 

Lage: Now, was that something that came up in the sixties? 

Haas: This was after 1 was president, I would say. 

Lage: You were kind of putting the brakes on a little bit. 

Haas: I was putting on the brakes despite that incredible record. But I 
think that's one of the other keys that made it work becausewell, 



103 

we'll get back to Europe again, but that got out of hand because we 
lost control. 

Lage: Yes. Did people like Ed Combs bring new management style? 

Haas: I don't know. I don't know. [laughs] It's a good question. I 
didn't think about it. 

I think I've covered the major cast of characters now. 

Lage: And you have done a nice job explaining why they were important, to 
you as a person. 

Haas: Yes, they were. Obviously, the success doesn't come except from a 
team of highly competent executives that are all different. They 

didn't all get along all the time. Of course, that was our job, to 
keep them working together. 

Lage: Would you consult them one by one or would you have group meetings? 

Haas: Oh, both. I mean, we were very informal. You've got to realize 

that. Even though we were getting big league, we were in constant 
communication and it just worked. 

Lage: Yes, it sounds like it. You don't need the formal set ups that you 
read about in management books if you know how to talk to people. 



Rita Guiney and the Levi Strauss & Co. Art Collection 



Haas: Now, I've told you about Rita Guiney, but I haven't mentioned Rita 

Guiney 's art. As I told you, she is a very remarkable and important 
part of our company. She felt we should have an art collection, at 
a time when it was not that common in major corporations. She 
really worked at it, and she had an understanding of modern art. 
Most of us liked realistic and western art, Remingtons and so forth. 
She took an awful beating from our executives who didn't understand 
modern art. I gave her a budget, and it was never big enough. She 
did a remarkable job of collecting art from, I think, mostly unknown 
artists. If you visit our headquarters and look around the 
headquarters, you'll see. 

Lage: And she was responsible for the selection of the collection? 

Haas: She was responsible and still is. She's retired, but she still 

keeps in touch. Just the other day, she called me proudly and told 
me she sold a couple of pieces for quite a bit of money, quite a bit 



104 

more than she paid for them. I was very pleased because they, I 
think, have restricted her budget now even more than I used to. And 
as a result of her successful sales, she can add to the collection. 

Lage: But you gave her the free rein to choose? 

Haas: Yes. 

Lage: She didn't have to pick the western art that you might have liked? 

Haas: No. She had a free rein to choose, and then she took an awful 

ribbing from most of us. That was part of her charm. She kind of 
enjoyed the give and take, but she prevailed, and we have a very 
fine corporate art collection as a result. 



Visiting Levi Strauss & Co. Plants and People 

Haas: I also want to mention how much my visiting the various plants meant 
to me. I tried very hard when we were smaller to occasionally visit 
plants and manufacturing facilities throughout the country. I never 
knew if that was a morale builder or just a nuisance for the people 
there because I made a point of showing the flag and always asked 
the supervisors and their wives to go out to dinner. People in 
small communities are the salt of the earth. I thoroughly enjoyed 
getting to know them. 

I was always impressed with the people in our small 
communities. They were dedicated. They were hard-working. They 
were conscientious. They had good ideas. I came away refreshed and 
exhilarated and proud of the whole organization. 



An Aside on Advertising 

Lage: Did you take an interest in advertising over the years? Would you 
be in on agreeing to a certain style of campaign? 

Haas: No. If I was in charge of advertising, our company would never have 
grown the way it has today. 

Lage: Why is that? 



105 

Haas: Well, we're advertising to a different audience. I mean, today, I 
don't even recognize their advertising, some of these young bee- 
bopper kids. 

Lage: But what about in the earlier time when you were more active? 

Haas: Well, in the earlier time, I took an interest. My favorite story in 
advertising was we've always felt we should be truthful, and we 
should not be offensive and not be sexist or any of those things. I 
went to Europe and was fascinated with some of the clever ads and 
also with some of the nudity that was common in foreign advertising 
in those days. So, after I made the trip, I canceled all those that 
I thought were provocative ads. But I got a collection of posters 
which I took home, and they're in the dressing room in our swimming 
pool in Atherton. 

Lage: So you appreciated them on one level. 
Haas: I appreciated them, right. 



106 



V LEVI STRAUSS & CO.: FOCUS ON THE 1970S 

[Interview 5: September 9, 1994] ## 
Where the Buck Stopped 

Lage: Let me clarify something before we turn to the 1970s. In 1971 you 
became CEO [chief executive officer], and that seems to have been a 
new title for the company. 

Haas: There was always one person in charge, and I don't know about the 

title, but in the fifties Dad was CEO, in fact, if not in name, and 
I was the vice president. 

Lage: In 1958, you became president. Then, in 1971 you became CEO and 

chairman of the board, Peter became president and Ed Combs executive 
vice president. 

Haas: Well, I was CEO before then. I was president and CEO and then I was 
chairman and CEO, from 1958 to 1976. CEO is the most important job 
in the company. The other stuff's title. 

Lage: That's what I wanted to clarify. 
Haas: Yes, the other stuff is just title. 
Lage: So the CEO has the final say. 

Haas: Bob is chairman and CEO now. At one point, he was president and 

CEO. At one point I was president and CEO. Then I became chairman 
and CEO so Peter could have the title of president, and then I moved 
out, and Peter became CEO [in 1976]. But CEO is the key in any 
company. 

Lage: Okay. So, during that period of 1971-1976, when you were chairman 
of the board and CEO, you were still where the buck stopped. 

Haas: From '58 to '76, I was where the buck stopped. 



107 

Lage: Okay. That's important to clarify. 

Haas: Your questions remind me of a story. A great deal of travel is 

required of the CEO of a large multi-national company, and I did my 
share. On long plane trips I usually brought a lot of workreading 
I had put off, planning that needed to be done, a variety of 
activities that wouldn't be interrupted by the phone or meetings in 
my office. I liked my privacy and didn't relish conversation with 
my seat companion. 

Once, as I was spreading out my work the fellow next to me 
introduced himself. Drinks were just being served, so it wasn't 
easy to escape. He gave his name and that of his employer, so I 
reciprocated. He asked what I did, and in an attempt to shorten the 
interview I indicated that I was in a management position. How many 
people did I supervise and what did I do? My response was somewhat 
vague, but he persisted- -what did I do? Well, it was a big company 
with widespread activities and I had varied responsibilities, I told 
him. What did I do?--he persisted. "Well, I'm president and CEO." 
"You still haven't answered my question!" he replied. 

Lage: Well, he was persistent, or dense. Now, in 1971, you had a major 

reorganization campaign. Is that something you want to talk about? 

Haas: I don't remember it well enough. It was a major reorganization. We 
went from functional to divisional. I can't recall the specifics; I 
guess we thought we'd be more effective. 

Lage: Did people like Ed Combs- 
Haas: I think Ed was very instrumental in making the change, but I just 
don't feel qualified to discuss that. 

Lage: Well, I think the details are more or less known, and if you weren't 
that involved it's not important to get your reflections on it. 

Haas: Well, I was involved, God knows, but my memory is not very strong on 
that. 



Going Public in 1971; Social Responsibility, Pricing, Embracing 
Growth 



Lage: Now we want to turn to the decision to take Levi Strauss & Co. 
public in 1971. 



108 

Haas: As background to that, I just want to emphasize how strongly we felt 
about equal opportunity. We've talked about integrating our plants 
in the South. Later we launched another program. We felt maybe we 
could be more effective not only within our own company but as a 
large, growing user of services and goods, we might influence the 
people that sold to us. 

So, we wrote a letter to all our suppliers of services and 
whatever indicating that we were strong believers in affirmative 
action and equal opportunity. We were curious as to their practices 
because it might influence our purchasing practices. I don't claim 
it was very successful because we couldn't be policemen. We 
couldn't really follow it up. 

Lage: Did you get much of a response? 

Haas: Not much of a response and we couldn't because, for instance, the 

greatest amount of purchases were piece goods and materials from the 
mills in the South. And they were, none of them, integrated. We 
couldn't operate without those goods. But we did get one letter, I 
remember, from a banker in Kansas--it was in the Midwest somewhere-- 
where he indicated that he'd been thinking about it and getting a 
letter from us tipped the scales. So, we knew that happened. 

And then, I was having lunch with Stanley Marcus of Neiman 
Marcus in New York one time and told him about this program. He was 
very, very much interested. And he instituted it at Neiman Marcus 
in Dallas. The interesting thing was that shortly thereafter, Time 
magazine had an article about this great thing that Stanley Marcus 
is doing with Neiman Marcus. [laughter] Anyway. 

But I mentioned that because the company kept growing and 
growing and then we were faced with the decision either to stop 
growing or get more capital. And we decided that we had to continue 
to grow. Warren Hellman of Lehman Bros, in New York is a distant 
cousin. He'd been calling on me every six months for years as he 
came out to the West Coast, indicating that when we went public he 
wanted Lehman Bros, to be in charge of the issue. I said, "We're 
never going to go public. That's ridiculous." 

Lage: So, others sort of saw it before you did. 

Haas: Oh, yes. 

Lage: They saw that it was almost a necessity. 

Haas: They saw that was probably going to be inevitable. But we didn't 
automatically give it to Lehman Bros. We decided, well, now we're 
really going to have some influence. All the investment houses were 



109 

very interested in getting this issue. But then we really inquired 
about their employment practices. 

Lage: Ah, that's a time when you have that kind of luxury. 

Haas: And we were able to do it. It all came back, as I mentioned, to 
this little effort we made before. Of course, in those days, New 
York firms were lily white. They didn't have African Americans. 
They didn't have Jewish people in any position of responsibility, 
most of them. Lehman Bros, did get the award, but that was the 
condition. 

I think, probably, that hadn't been done before. And then we 
did a couple of things in our prospectus that had never been done 
before. Number one, we had a sentence and I--you can dig it out-- 
but indicating, much against the advice of our investment bankers, 
that we were a corporation that practiced social responsibility and 
that it always didn't reflect itself in the bottom line. But that 
was part of our prospectus so people who bought our stock knew that 
this was part of our practice. 

Lage: Was this partly a protection so that if you spent money in-- 

Haas: No. Well, I guess it was but that wasn't the reason. We just 

didn't want people perhaps complaining that we spent too much money 
training people from Hunters Point because we tried to announce that 
in advance. And they advised against that. 

The other thing that the investment bankers advised against was 
selling to employees. But Peter and I, who gave up a lot of our 
shares in the public offering, insisted that some of our shares go 
to employees. 

Lage: Now, why did they advise against that? 

Haas: Basically, it had never been done and it might cause problems. It 
did cause us problems because although the stock went up for a 
while, it went way down. And we felt just terrible because we 
thought we were doing our employees a favor at the time. 

Lage: But if they hung on to their stock? 

Haas: If they hung on to it they did beautifully. And most of them did. 
But there were several long, long months when we felt we had tried 
to do something really special and it was backfiring. 

Lage: So when the business ran into troubles in the mid- seventies it 
really must have been a personal burden to you. 



110 

Haas: It was very, very hard personally because pricing the offering was 

another major undertaking. Of course, I guess this built my kind of 
innate distrust or unhappiness with investment people because we 
spent weeks and months studying the exact price it should be when it 
came out. There was a lot of 

Lage: So, you can determine what it will be. 

Haas: Oh, yes. The investment advisors do. And it's a tricky thing 
because you want to get as much as possible but you want the 
offering to be priced somewhat under the market so whoever gets the 
shares will make a little prof it--it '11 be a good buy. I don't 
remember the exact price. I think we initially started out at 
after all this advice came in and all the meetings we had it about 
it--forty-four [$44 a share] or something like that. 

And then the morning of the offering, or the day before the 
offering, we got frantic calls from New York that it was such a hot 
issue that we'd underpriced it. So, I remember my father and my 
uncle and Peter and I had lunch at the Family Club, and on that day 
decided to move the price up from $44 to $49. After all the 
scientific analysis we just arbitrarily did it. It came out at $49, 
and within two days it was over $80. 

Lage: So you took family shares and sold them to the public. 
Haas: Yes, sold them to the public at $49 a share. That's right. 

Lage: Now, was there ever a moment during this periodit must have been 

over a period of time when you were decidingwhere you said, "Let's 
just not grow." 

Haas: Not really. No, I think that waswe had a serious discussion but 
we had the bit in our teeth, and we were very successful, and the 
opportunities were there. As I said, it's rewarding to be 
successful that way, but it also creates a lot of opportunities for 
people. 

Lage: I have a little quote that I found in must have been one of your 

speeches. "Being anything other than the market leader is a role we 
are unprepared and unwilling to accept." [In a 1978 film shown to 
Japanese retail trade groups] 

Haas: I don't remember that. My goodness, you've done some research. 

Lage: Well, the speech appeared to have been written for you by Levi 

Strauss International Group P.R. people. Were they putting words in 
your mouth, or does it express your views? 



Ill 

Haas: That would express my views. 

Lage: I thought it was so strong. 

Haas: Yes. 

Lage: And also reflects, maybe, the competitive tennis player in you. 

Haas: [laughter] I don't know. 

Unanticipated Implications of Going Public 



Haas: There are a lot of interesting things that happened around that 
time. We decided that since we were going public we ought to 
cultivate some of the investment analysts who were going to be 
studying our stock. So we did what was for us a very major 
promotion. We chartered a plane and invited all of them to be our 
guests and fly to Mexico City to see one of our international 
operations and then fly to San Francisco for a briefing with all the 
executives. The timing was horrible because just about that time 
the roof fell in on our European operations [1973], and it was very 
embarrassing. At least they were captives. They were up in the 
air. [laughter] 

Lage: You mean this happened right at the-- 

Haas: Yes, on the flight back to San Francisco, one of our executives got 
on the airplane intercom and briefed the analysts on our newly 
discovered financial problems in Europe. There I was, we had the 
investment analysts captive in the air, and it was going to be such 
a big build-up of the company, and here we had the greatest economic 
disaster. 

Lage: How many people were you showing around? 

Haas: Well, I'm guessing twenty or thirty, something like that. I don't 
remember too well. 

Lage: In thinking about this big change involved in going public, you must 
have had some idea of what the implications were and how it would 
change the company . 

Haas: I don't think we truly did. And it did change the company. 
Lage: So you didn't have a sense of what might happen? 



112 

Haas: No, we didn't realize that indirect pressure was going to come from 
the investment community on every quarter to compare the- -we had to 
show improvement. 

Lage: You had to watch the bottom line. 

Haas: We had to watch the bottom line quarter to quarter to quarter. We 
were used to managing on a long-term basis, and that's why we 
eventually went private again. I had a very hard time dealing with 
the outside analysts, because 1 didn't have much respect for them. 

Lage: Tell me about that. I'm so far from that world. 

Haas: Well, it ' s a personal prejudice and that's not fair, but in the 

first place, most of them didn't understand the apparel business and 
thought it was highly fashion-oriented, a highly volatile, risky 
kind of an investment. And most of them didn't take the trouble to 
really evaluate the company. 

Lage: So they placed you with other apparel companies? 

Haas: Yes, and first of all we are in very high fashion stuff now, but in 
those days we were making sugar for a grocery store, cranking out 
Levi's. There weren't mark downs, and we didn't have a wide fashion 
element in our line. 

In fact, I know one time, there was one fellow with one of the 
firms in New York who was considered the expert on Levi Strauss 
stock. Well, he, for some reason, left the company and the stock 
went down three points the next day. Now, his leaving that 
investment firm in New York had no bearing on our operations, 
present or future. I just didn't see the connection, and that kind 
of reaffirmed my lack of confidence in their recommendations. It's 
not theit's a personal feeling. 

Lage: I think that kind of thing is important to understand. 

Haas: A couple of little episodes come to mind. It was very hard to tell 
the employees because it was going to mean a change. We didn't know 
what, it would just change. 

I remember we had an old German refugee, Julius Phillips, who 
was a wonderful man. He had been an executive in Germany, and I 
think he worked as a stock man in the basement, but he had 
everybody's respect. Everybody called him Uncle Julius. We had an 
employee meeting, and we told them we were going public. I don't 
know if they fully understood what we were saying but Julius got up 
and said, "Walter, will you and Peter still be running the company?" 



113 

And I said, "Yes." And he said, "Well, then it's okay." [laughter] 
I liked that. But we were small and personal at the time. 

Lage: You still had the family feeling. Now, what did it mean to the 
employees for you to go public? Did it affect--? 

Haas: I don't think so. I can't reflect that it made any change except 
that they owned stock. They made a lot of money. 

Lage: Okay, so they kept their stock and then it went up in value. That's 
right. That's your list of millionaires [thirty-one employees who 
became instant millionaires when the company went public]. 

Haas: Some millionaires and a lot of others that became very well off. 
But they still worked hard and none of them quit or retired or 
anything. Evie and I didn't change our way of life, although it did 
affect our personal means in a very substantial manner. 



Stories about Lev! Strauss & Co. Shares; Nest Eggs and Campus 
Radicals 



Haas: Another anecdote--we decided that going public we would not direct 
shares to anybody. We would not withhold any shares except for the 
employees . 

Lage: But you had that option- -you could have directed some shares? 

Haas: Well, we could have. But we decided that was going to get into 

trouble because this was the biggest offering of a private company 
since the time Ford came out. Now, Ford was ten times as big but 
there was a great, great deal of interest in our offering in the 
financial community. For some reason, Levi's was a magic name and 
kind of a mystery business. 

But I did break the rule. I directed a hundred shares to 
Prince Helfrich, who was my fishing guide. I remember when I went 
fishing some months later and the stock was way down, I mentioned 
this to him and I said, "Prince, I'm awfully sorry about the stock. 
I hoped--! was trying to give you a nest egg." He said, "What's 
your problem?" I said, "Well, you know, it's way below what it came 
out at." He said, "Hell, I sold it two days later" [at almost 
double the initial offering price] . 

Lage: Oh, that was his nest egg. [laughter] 

Haas: Yes. That was his nest egg. And the other story I wanted to tell 
I was at a cocktail party, and some guy I'd never seen before came 



114 

up and started berating me for the company I was in which fostered 
all these radical kids on the campus. I didn't know what he was 
talking about. He said, "Over in Berkeley, all these long-haired, 
bearded, sandal-wearing students are wearing your product." And I 
said, "My God, you know, everybody wears Levi's. You can be a 
chairman of the board, you can be a maintenance man." And he was 
really angry. I guess he'd had a few drinks. Since it was a social 
occasion, I excused myself. Half an hour later he had a couple more 
drinks and he said, "By the way, one question." I said, "What's 
that?" He said, "Would you set aside two hundred shares for me?" I 
was truly appalled. 

Lage: You didn't do that. 

Haas: I sure as hell didn't. Anyhow, I think that's quite a lot about 
going public. 



Contributions of Outside Directors 

Lage: Okay, but I want to know if going public affected the way you ran 

the company, made your operating decisions; for instance, having the 
outside directors on the board. 

Haas: Yes, we had to bring in two outside directors. 
Lage: And how did they contribute? 

Haas: They were wonder ful--Ar jay Miller, who had been president of Ford 
Motor Company, and Joseph Cullman, who was head of Phillip Morris, 
who's probably the best marketing man I knew. I knew Henry Ford 
through my connection on the Ford Foundation, and they were both on 
his board, and he said, "You've got the two best outside directors 
in the United States." 

Lage: What did they bring to the company? Was it window dressing or did 
they--? 

Haas: Oh, no. They were knowledgeable business people. Our International 
Division accounting operation was contracted overseas by our 
domestic accountants, Hood & Strong. 

Arjay, who is basically an accountant, felt that a larger 
international accounting firm would bring greater control as the 
company grew. We retained Hood & Strong locally. That's one good 
thing he did. He did the same thing with insurance, which was in 
the hands of my brother-in-law, and he did not take it quite as 



115 

easily. Actually that's been a cause of friction then and since. 
But that's the kind of contribution they make. They would question 
policies, and they would question, in general, some of the decisions 
we were trying to make. And they persuaded us to change some 
things . 

Lage: Gave you a new perspective. 

Haas: Yes. I had a wonderful board. As a matter of fact, a side light-- 
of course when we went private we had to ask them to resign. But on 
my seventieth birthday, Peter, my brother, asked if he could give me 
a luncheon. I said, "The guys I'd really like to have would be the 
local directors because we got such a good feeling of working 
together." And we do that--! celebrate my seventieth birthday twice 
a year with those same guys still, and they all look forward to 
getting together. I usually start out the meeting by telling how 
the company is doing and showing how much better since we were 
kicked out than when we were there. [laughter] 



Two Women as Outside Directors 



Haas: Having outside directors was a big change. We had to have two when 
we went public, but it soon became evident that it would be 
desirable to have more. We were very careful in selecting them and 
ended up with, as I said, a wonderful board. 

But it became time to have a female director. So I took 
advantage of the fact that I was on the board of trustees of the 
Ford Foundation, which was also looking for a female trustee. They 
had a list of a hundred or so women who had, for various reasons, 
been outstanding in their fields. I looked at that and tried to 
think who would be appropriate for Levi's when I suddenly realized 
there was somebody who wasn't on the list who would be perfect. 
That was Mary Bundy, who was the wife of McGeorge Bundy, who was the 
president of the Ford Foundation. So Mary became a member of our 
board and was a very wonderful contributor. 

It came time to look for another woman. I'd heard of Barbara 
Preiskill, who was general counsel for the Motion Pictures 
Association of America. I asked her to have lunch with me at 21 
Club in New York. She's from the East. She opened the conversation 
by saying, "I don't know why I'm here because I've been asked to go 
on many, many boards, and I'm just not taking anymore on. But my 
children said that Levi Strauss had such a wonderful reputation that 
I at least ought to have lunch with you." And after lunch she 
agreed to become a director. 



116 

Lage: How wonderful. 

Haas: That was a good story, that her children influenced her, and that by 
then our reputation had spread to New York. And it was a reputation 
for being a company of principle and ethics and all those values 
that we've been talking about, which proves, again, that there are 
economic benefits to doing the right thing, although we tried to do 
the right thing without any ulterior motives. 

Lage: But you think it paid off economically as well? 

Haas: Well, it paid off because of the executives we had. It paid off 

because of the staff we had and the board we had. I guess I'm going 
to get into that if I ever get to the topic of social 
responsibility. But that was an important story. 

Lage: Now, you say it became time to have a female director. What made 
you realize it was time to have a female director? 

Haas: That's a good question. I guess our antennae, which is an important 
part of being able to react to the social changes of the times, 
indicated that it was time, that other corporations were thinking 
about it. There was demand for women's equality, which is 
appropriate, and we hadn't thought about it really, I suppose. 

Lage: Did the women members bring anything different to the board 
meetings? 

Haas: Yes, both of them were contributors. I've been on boards where they 
had token women and minorities, I would say, token females who were 
part of the establishment, that kind of thing. I think the 
important thing Mary did was particularly with the relationship with 
our employees. I know she had several meetings with different 
groups of female employees and brought back to us their concern that 
there was a glass ceiling. I don't know if prejudice is the right 
word to describe it--a lack of equal acceptance. We were surprised. 

Lage: But she saw this as one of her roles? 

Haas: Yes, and it was, and it was important. But we, in our naivete or 
stupidity or whatever you want to call it, weren't aware of these 
feelings. So, that was very helpful to us. 



117 
Chairing the Board. 1971-1986 ff 



Lage: Now, would this be a good time to talk about how you ran board 
meetings? 

Haas: I'm happy to talk about that. 

Lage: You were chairman of the board for quite a while [1971-1986]. 

Haas: Yes. Our board meetings were more than a rubber stamp. We got 

things done, not so much at the board meetings, but I made a point 
of communicating with our board members in between meetings, quite 
often, to get their thoughts on business problems, to keep them 
advised of things we were contemplating, particularly if there was 
some matter coming before the board on which we wanted their 
approval or comment. It was, I think I can fairly say, quite 
successful because everyone of our outside board members, I think 
almost without exception, went out of his or her way to tell me that 
they enjoyed serving on our board more than any other they served 
on. Many of them served on a number of boards. 

I served on a number of boards, and I felt I was expected to be 
something of a rubber stamp in those days. I didn't feel I was 
consulted as much as I should have been. In fact, I realized the 
flaws in our board system; obviously board members now are held much 
more responsible for their actions than they were back then. 

I've been on two major boards where we eventually fired the 
CEO. That's a very difficult and uncomfortable thing to have to do. 
I'm wandering, but-- 

Lage: No, this seems pertinent. 

Haas: The reason, probably, that it developed to that point was that they 
had lost touch with their boards. In both cases the CEOs felt that 
they were able to, or had to, pursue certain policies, and the board 
was not that well informed. Then the board started questioning. 
Anyway, I didn't keep my board informed as a matter of self defense. 
I did it as a matter of prudent and proper business conduct. 

Lage: To have that tie between the executive and the board. 

Haas: Yes, and we became very good friends, most of us, as I mentioned. 
And we're still good friends. I've been criticized for the fact 
thatwell, you know, "They're all your cronies and they do what you 
want." I don't think the latter part is true but the first part 
was. [laughter] 



118 

Lage: So some feel that you shouldn't get as chummy with them, but that it 
should remain a more formal relationship, do you think? 

Haas: Well, I wasn't chummy with them. We just got to share common 

problems, learn to discuss them openly and freely, and gained a 
mutual respect. I guess that's how friendships develop. 

Lage: And you must have helped them understand what was going on in the 
company. 

Haas: Yes, and I keep saying that I think the apparel business is somewhat 
different and a little harder to understand than many other 
industries. Maybe I'm naive in that. But they became very proud of 
their association with the company and were truly very productive. 

Arjay Miller, I mentioned before, is absolutely outstanding and 
he probably is chairman of the audit committee on every board that 
he serves. Most of our board went to the audit committee meetings 
even if they weren't members just to learn how he conducted one. 

Lage: Did questions of ethics come up in board meetings? 

Haas: No, not as such. Ethics came up in a sense that they knew we were 
an ethical company, and they supported that. One thing I can 
remember was Arjay Miller's statement. He put it very simply. He 
said, "Don't do anything in running this business that won't pass 
the TV test." I said, "What's the TV test?" And he said, "That 
somebody on national TV will ask you about this problem and your 
handling of it." And so we were very, very conscious, all of us, of 
carrying on our responsibilities so we could pass the TV test. 

Lage: Goodness, that sounds like a hard test to pass in these days. 

Haas: That's the trouble with these days. It shouldn't be. I think we 
are a successful business. I think we've always been able to pass 
the TV test. I know we've made mistakes, but we could stand up in 
front of the TV and not be embarrassed. 



Lawsuit against Company Pricing Policies 



Haas: This reminds me that at one point [1976] we were accused of price 
fixing. The story behind that is that it had been our policy for 
many, many years to suggest retail prices. We did it so we could 
protect the customer's margin and avoid price cutting. It was 
perfectly legal. You could choose your own customers, and you could 
base your choice on their following your pricing policy, among other 



119 

things, as long as you handled it diplomatically. You couldn't go 
to XYZ department store, who was cutting prices, and say, "If you 
don't stop cutting prices, we're going to stop shipping you." If 
they continued to cut prices, we could just discontinue them without 
giving them a reason. But naturally, some of our salesmen weren't 
very diplomatic or intelligent about it. 

So we were accused by the government of price fixing. We hired 
a lawyer. We went to court and we won. Our system was approved. 
We continued it for a period of time until the government again 
raised the issue and we had a court case. We lost it the second 
time. 

Lage: And did the decision turn on whether or not you sort of threatened 
to withdraw your merchandise? 

Haas: I'm not sure. But I think that partially it turned on the fact that 
some of our, and we by then had several hundred salesmen, didn't 
handle it intelligently. But I think its time had come by then, 
anyway. At any rate, we lost the case the second time around. 

Lage: Did that change make a big change in your marketing? 

Haas: Oh, yes. It was a major change. But even though we were very upset 
and unhappy, basically we adjusted and the business continued to 
grow. So it wasn't as important as we thought it was. 

Lage: Did this suit cast the company in a bad light? Did people see it 
as--? 

Haas: Yes, I think so, with accusations of price fixing in the headlines. 
That's not a very good public relations situation. Then, as a 
matter of fact, we were sued by the state of California, by a man 
who was running for governor at the time. He was attorney general. 

Lage: It must have been Evelle Younger. 

Haas: Yes, it was. We were sued on a class action for having overcharged 
so many customers all these years. Well, they ruled against us, but 
they didn't know what to do with all the money that we ended up 
settling for. The money was held in state funds for years and years 
and years. It was uncomfortable because we lost the suit, we paid 
it, we settled, and then they couldn't distribute the funds so every 
couple of years, we'd make the papers again because the money was 
sitting there. 

Lage: I seem to remember getting a lettereverybody probably didand if 
you'd bought Levi's within a certain time, you could get something 
like twenty cents back. 



120 
Haas: Well, it wasn't a happy story, but I can't really be too upset, 

Two Headquarters Moves; Embarcadero Center and Levi's Plaza ## 



Lage: Would the move to the new headquarters building be appropriate to 
discuss at this point? I'm talking about the Embarcadero Center. 
That seemed to be kind of a psychic event. 

Haas: Oh, that was terrible. From 98 Battery Street to Embarcadero 

Center. Yes, well, we'd outgrown 98 Battery Street and we, I guess, 
rented a floor and then eventually the whole building next door. 
Then this Embarcadero Center became available, and we moved. I do 
remember the day we were packing and the actual day we were moving; 
it was very emotional. Rita, a wonderful lady, suggested, "Why 
don't we get champagne for everybody?", which we did. Battery 
Street was only five stories, and I knew everybody in the business. 
I took a glass of champagne, and I went from floor to floor visiting 
with everybody, kind of with tears in my eyes, saying how much 
better it was going to be and not believing it. But anyhow- - 

Lage: What was it like? 

Haas: We made a move and it was a terrible mistake because it was a high 
rise. We were on several different floors. And for some of the 
locations, you had to get off one bank of elevators to go to 
another. So it kind of destroyed the communication between 
departments and between individuals and, I felt strongly, between me 
and the employees. I'd always maintained pretty close contact. 

Lage: So, you really got a sense of how architecture affects even the 
operation of the business. 

Haas: It really did. And then some years later--! don't know, did we 

mention before the camping trip I took with Gerson Bakar [of Gerson 
Bakar and Associates]? 

Lage: No, but you have it in your notes. 

Haas: We went, I think, to the Wind River range in Wyoming on one of our 
camping trips. Gerson, who I didn't know very well, was among the 
group. One night he said, "How would you like it if I built you a 
headquarters to your specifications? I know you're not happy where 
you are. It'll be your specifications, and it won't cost you any 
more than where you are." Obviously it's pretty hard to say no to 
that, so we took a look at it. That was the genesis of Levi's 
Plaza. It was really exciting to develop and plan. 



121 

Lage: Were you in on that pretty directly? 

Haas: Yes, I was. Although I think Bob really got more involved towards 
the end. But in the planning, of course, I was very much involved. 
Gerson Bakar owned those four blocks. It's about eight acres, I 
think, and about five of them are open space. We decided we 
wouldn't build a high rise, but we would have an open park and low- 
rise buildings. It's kind of a gift to San Francisco. 

I was going through the park yesterday. It was a nice day. 
And there were kids having picnics, lying in the sun. We got Larry 
Halprin to design the park, and he took into account the heritage of 
the company, which was in the Gold Rush days. So in that area there 
are rolling hills and a little stream and pine trees. Peter 
wondered why I didn't stock the streams with trout because 1 love 
fishing so much. But in any event, it's lovely and it's secure. I 
think a lot of our employees consider it almost a college campus. 

Lage: It has that feeling. What about the design of the building? Did 
you deal with the thought of how it would affect relationships in 
the company? 

Haas: Well, we had four buildings. We don't occupy them all now because a 
lot of the operations have been consolidated or moved out of the 
community. Obviously, after our experience at Embarcadero, this is 
high priority. One of the buildings is an old wine storage area, 
which we thought might be historical and so we kept it the way it 
was and then fixed up the interior. 

Then at the last minute when plans were all approved, one of 
these organizations that was involved with history said, "This used 
to be the bay and there's a very valuable sailing ship right under 
where you're going to dig, we'll get an injunction and won't let you 
build." That delayed us considerably while they explored. They 
went down and discovered there was in fact a sailing ship there. 
But it was just an ordinary one. 

Lage: So, the developer had to make a little archeological dig along the 
way? 

Haas: Yes, and then they suggested that we ought to leave the ship there 
and build a ramp so people could see it. This went on and on and 
was delaying everything. We weren't responsible for the 
construction, but the delays were a concern. Finally one night we 
went by and noticed that a person had gotten a bulldozer and filled 
in the hole, so the construction went right ahead. Also we had a 
hermit living on the mountain there with a couple of birds and 
stuff. And that was a minor problem. 



122 

Lage: Up on Telegraph Hill behind you? 

Haas: Yes. But the thing that was very interesting is because normally 

when a major corporation gets involved in such a large construction, 
there are all kinds of neighborhood groups that are objecting, 
finding reasons to delay. We had the support of everybody because 
it's so low key and attractive and fits in with the surroundings. 
So that was a plus. 

Lage: Yes. Oh, it's a beautiful place. It must make your employees very 
happy, the ones who get to work there. 

Haas: Well, I hope so. 



A Key Decision: Hiring Bob Haas, 1973 



Haas: I guess probably my greatest contribution to the company was in 
hiring Bob [Haas, in 1973]. 

Lage: Now, how long did you debate about that decision? 

Haas: Well, that was no problem because I always wanted him. I never 
thought he was going to come to the company, and I never once 
mentioned it. 

Lage: You didn't? 

Haas: That's why I was successful. 

Lage: You never talked about it as he was growing up or when he was in 
business school? 

Haas: Well, maybe when he was growing up we'd had discussions, family 

discussions. But no, he was the valedictorian, as you know, at Cal, 
of his graduating class. And he was a Phi Beta Kappa. After 
graduation he joined the Peace Corps for a couple of years. Then he 
went to Harvard Business School, and from there he became a White 
House Fellow in Washington. 

Lage: Did he talk to you along the way about what he was looking ahead to? 

Haas: No, we didn't talk too much. I thought he was going to be a 

professor, maybe get involved in government service or something. 
When he went to Harvard Business School, that maybe sparked a little 
ray of hope. 



123 

Lage: But you still kept quiet? 

Haas: I never did talk to him about it because you don't know how your 
children are going to react sometimes, even though we were close. 
And then he went to McKinsey and Company for a couple of years. 

Lage: Now, what kind of company was that? 

Haas: McKinsey is one of these management consultant firms. They were 
probably the best, or were the best known, and we'd used them. I 
was never that enthusiastic about consulting firms. I thought we 
ought to have our own people be able to do it, but they served a 
very useful purpose at times. For example, you mentioned going from 
functional to divisional structure- -well, we'd made up our minds we 
wanted to do it but it was not an easy thing to convince all our 
executives. So, we called in McKinsey and Company, and sometimes 
these firms really give you a good independent analysis, and 
sometimes they kind of feel around and see what you want, it seems 
to me. So when they came in and recommended the divisional 
alignment, it was easier to sell our executives. 

But anyhow, one day- -he had been with McKinsey, I think, almost 
two years --he called and asked if we could have lunch. And we went 
up to Chinatown, a little restaurant. And he said, "Dad, would I 
embarrass you if I applied for a job at Levi's?" [laughter] And I 
almost jumped across the table. That's how Bob came into the 
business, and that was probably my greatest contribution. 

Lage: What did he start at? What did he apply for? 

Haas: I don't remember. But he, of course, by then was a lot more 
experienced than I was when I came into the business. 

Lage: He didn't have to start at the cutting table? 

Haas: No, right. But he did his share of having responsibilities in 
different phases of the business, and he earned the respect of 
everybody. I'm very proud of him. 

Lage: Does it create any tension when the family's eldest son comes in and 
you have high-quality executives in place? 

Haas: I'm sure it must, but I don't delve into it too much. And Bob 

certainly has proven himself far beyond--! actually think that he, 
in the fifth generation, is proving to be the best CEO we've had. 

Lage: It's certainly nice to be able to say that, nice for you. 



124 



"The Kinds of Things We Do": Illustrations of Corporate Culture and 
Personal Philosophy 



Bonuses in a Billion-Dollar Year, 1975 



Haas: I'm going to talk about a few episodes that are worth remembering in 
our few remaining minutes. I was on a camping trip, and we'd had a 
very tough start of the year. What is normal and probably still is 
in our industry is if you get overstocked, you close down a plant or 
you go on a short work week or whatever. If your merchandisers make 
a mistake and are slow on getting material, the people who suffer 
are those poor folks out on the sewing machines who can least afford 
it. 

Here we'd had a rocky couple of months with a lot of layoffs 
and so forth, and all of the sudden we were having a record year. 
On this trip, I said, "We've just got to somehow or other not just 
let the stockholders benefit. We've got to get that money back 
somehow into the hands of those poor people who were laid off or 
temporarily worked short hours." And Mel [Bacharach] then came up 
with the ideait was the first year we hit a billion dollars in 
sales [1975]. And so we declared a bonus for the factory workers 
for our company reaching a billion dollars because we didn't want to 
set a precedent. 

Lage: To do it every year. 

Haas: Do it every time that this occurred. We figured the bonus related 
to the time they had off. I was very proud of that. 



Valencia Street, Link to the Past 



Haas: Just to continue with the kind of things we doValencia Street. We 
had this old, old building on Valencia Street where I had my first 
job. It was built as a temporary structure in 1906. It's still out 
there. And two things about it. The first thing is, it's an 
impractical place to manufacture. It's multi-story. It's old. And 
San Francisco is a high-labor-cost community. So everything 
indicated that we should close the Valencia Street factory. 

But Valencia Street is kind of a mirror of ethnic newcomers to 
this community, because a sewing machine operator doesn't have to 
speak English. When I was working there they were all Italian. 
Then the new immigrants to the community would apply for a sewing 



125 

machine job. Whether it was African Americans or Latin Americans or 
most recently Orientals, it was a reflection of the ethnic changes 
in the community. So when everybody said we should close the 
factory down, we said no, because these people aren't going to be 
able to get other jobs. So we converted it from a mass-producing 
factory into making experimental garments, salesmen samples, and so 
forth. We kept it open. It was not a smart economic decision but 
it was a human and proper thing to do. 

Lage: Is it still open now? It's still operating? 

Haas: It's still operating, yes, and we take school children through on 
tours and stuff. It's really kind of fun. 



Maverick Philosophy- -Corporate Jets and Price Controls 



Haas: Jet planes. [laughter] I'm just trying to give you a flavor of 

what the company was like and what our thinking has been. The jet 
plane for the corporate executive is a way of life. As I began to 
get involved with other CEOs all over the country, they kept saying, 
"Why don't you get a corporate jet, for God sakes? You're out on 
the West Coast, you have plants in Texas and Tennessee and 
everywhere, and you come East. You've got to have the plane 
because, first of all, it saves a lot of wear and tear on you and 
your executives. And secondly, you do things. You can go to 
Knoxville for lunch and get something straightened out and come home 
when you're not going to do it otherwise because it takes forever 
flying commercially." 

We never believed in it. I've seen too many excesses by CEOs- 
using the corporate jet for a weekend of golf. And it's just not 
our philosophy. I was criticized, not criticized, but a lot of my 
peers in other companies couldn't understand why. But we've never 
had a jet plane. I charter them personally myself sometimes, but 
the company doesn't pay for them. 

Lage: Do these executivesdo you sense that they consider you, you know, 
kind of an oddball? [laughter] 

Haas: I think we've been mavericks. I think we have- -and they don't feel 
much embarrassment because they think that's the perk. They think 
it's a perk to which they're entitled. I think the hardest thing 
with some of my friends who've headed major companies in this city, 
when they retire, they lose the use of that plane and that means a 
lot. They take them fishing, and they take them for weekends. 



126 

Lage: But in general, with your interests in corporate humanism- -and you 

seem much less concerned with flashy displays of wealth- 
Haas: That's right. 
Lage: Does this set you apart? 

Haas: Well, it's just the way we were brought up, and it's a basic belief. 
Another thingwhen President Nixon asked for voluntary price 
controls, I insisted that we have price controls. And we 
volunteered it. Everybody thought we were nuts, and we probably 
were because none of our competitors did. And it cut our profits 
way down. 

Lage: But maybe you sold more? 

Haas: Well, we were selling all we could make. 

Lage: So that wasn't an incentive. 

Haas: No, no. It wasn't. It was just a matter of principle. If the 

president asked you to do something, you did it. And eventually, 
the controls came off. 



Keeping in Touch with Activist Lawyers 

Haas: How did I keep in touch? There was a public interest law firm. 

(These are just episodes I wanted to relate, and I'm almost to the 
end of them.) 

Lage: Oh, that was on your list and I wondered what that was about. 

Haas: It was a public interest law firm. I got friendly with one of the 
more activist types. They were actually--! don't know- -probably 
suing or intervening in a lot of companies in which I served on the 
board. But I was curious about their thinking. I asked them, and 
so once a year I would always go and have a brown bag lunch with 
these young lawyers who were, as I say, much younger than I was and 
trying to lead social change. But I found it very instructive to 
find out what it was they were thinking about. 

It didn't keep them from suing Levi's when we were accused of 
price fixing. They intervened in that. But the point was I had an 
open mind, and I was trying to learn. We had good discussions, and 
it was interesting for me to see how their interests changed from 



127 

one year to the other. I can't even remember what the issues were 
back then. 

I do remember one terrible lunch we had when- -what was the name 
of that guy? --Reverend Jim Jones [of the People's Temple] was there. 
They invited him, too. I was furious because he shared the pulpit, 
and I was very uncomfortable with him. But that's not my point. 
Bob Gnaizda was the guy. And I think he still is, you know, a burr 
under the saddle of many corporations. 

Lage: Do you remember the name of the law firm or was it under his name? 

Haas: No, it was a public interest law firm [Public Advocates]. As a 

matter of fact, when we were looking for someone to be in charge of 
our affirmative action program, I consulted with him. We had a lot 
of minority applicants, but I hired someone from his firm, Cassandra 
Flipper. Cassandra turned out to be just excellent because she just 
wouldn't accept the status quo. And she really- -we meant it. It 
wasn't just window dressing. She handled herself very well in a 
difficult position, because she knew the company's basic feelings 
and yet she felt that she had to be fair in representing all sides. 
And she was . 

Her husband, Paul Hastie, I remember, came to one of our first 
shareholders meeting and represented a resolution against 
management. Of course, we marshalled all our strengths to oppose 
it, but through that I got to know him and respect him, and so those 
are all kind of fun things. 

Lage: So you tolerate dissent well, it seems. 

Haas: Well, I think I wouldn't now. My arteries are getting harder, 
[laughter] But in those days I was trying to be understanding. 

Lage: Was your association with the public interest law firm something 
sort of formal that they sponsored? 

Haas: Very informal. I asked them, then it became kind of a tradition for 
several years, and then it died out. 



A Lesson in Beard Bias at Cal Business School 



Haas: One of the more interesting experiences I had was getting to know a 
professor of marketing at Cal. He had a course in business policy, 
and he had the presidents of various Bay Area companies address the 
class. We'd talk one week, and then I guess the students would 



128 

analyze the discussion the next week. And I enjoyed that. I 
enjoyed it because I got to meet young people, and they asked 
questions that were very refreshing for me. 

And it was kind of a hiring technique. A couple of our 
executives with us today were in that class and kind of enjoyed what 
I told about the company, I guess, and one thing and another. So 
that was really the biggest benefit we got. 

As part of that, I would show them the product line, I'd show a 
pair of Levi's, and at the end I'd show another pair of Levi's and 
I'd say, "One is an imitation and the other is a genuine thing. You 
tell me the difference." And they couldn't. 

And one final story which I remember. I'd always have lunch 
with the marketing professors in the Faculty Club before the class, 
and one time one of the professors said, "I'd like to ask you a 
question, Mr. Haas." (And this goes back many years as you can tell 
from the story.) "You have two people applying for a job, and 
they're of equal experience and ability in your opinion, and one has 
a beard and the other does not. Which one do you hire?" I said, 
"Well, that's the personnel department's responsibility." 

And he said, "Oh, no. No, you can't get out of that. Which 
one do you hire?" And this shows how old-fashioned I was. I said, 
"Well, to be honest with you, I think I'd probably choose the one 
that's clean-shaven." 

"Okay," this professor says, "a year later and there's a 
promotion. The fellow who was clean-shaven when you hired him has 
grown a beard. There's another candidate equally qualified who has 
not got a beard. Which one do you promote?" I tried to sluff it 
off. But no. I said, "I think I'd take the fellow who's not got a 
beard." 

"Okay, final question. You're the personnel manager who makes 
these decisions, and you find that the president has grown a beard. 
How do you answer those questions?" I've never forgotten that 
perceptive questioning and his message. 

Lage: Interesting technique. 

Haas: Yes. Isn't that a good question? Didn't it make you think? 

Lage: Well, isn't there a story about your son and his beard? 

Haas: Oh, Bob grew a beard. He grew a beard, much to our chagrin. And I 
asked him one time, "Why do you do this?" He said, "Well, Dad, I 
want to show that good guys can have beards. And besides, Levi 



129 

Strauss had a beard. What are you complaining about?" So, he won 
that one. 

Lage: That would be a hard one to answer. 

Haas: But I reminded him that Levi Strauss died a bachelor. [laughter] 

Lage: At the business school did you have any ongoing relationships? 

Haas: Well, Budd [Earl F.] Cheit, of course, is a dear, dear friend. But 
I really haven't hadthat's unfair. I, of course, have been 
involved in building the new school of business being named for my 
father. I know the deans, not well, but they've been very, very 
nice about inviting me; I just don't care much about ceremony. 



"The Fun We Had": Levi's Jeans and Football in Tennessee 



Haas: One last episode. This has nothing to do with anything else, but 
our first directors' meeting held outside of San Francisco was in 
Knoxville, Tennessee. We went to Knoxville so the directors could 
seeby then we had more than two outside directors so they could 
see our biggest sewing machine operation. Of course, this is the 
big thing in the community, and they had a big civic dinner for us 
and all the bankers and retailers. And the governor of Tennessee 
was there. He ended up in jail afterwards; he was an alcoholic, and 
he had a state trooper putting whiskey in his coffee cup all the 
time, I remember. 

But at this formal occasion everybody was being nice. Our 
football team [Cal] was going to open the season the following fall 
in Tennessee against the major football power. I remember Johnny 
Majors, a very famous coach, was coming to coach the Tennessee team. 
So I got up and after the usual formalities said, "Governor, I'm 
going to make a bet with you on the Cal-Tennessee game. I'm going 
to bet you a pair of Levi's against a bottle of Jack Daniel's on the 
outcome of the game." And he got up and accepted the wager and 
invited to me be his guest in the box at the game. I did go back, 
and it was like a Christian in the old Roman days getting fed to the 
lions because there were ninety thousand people rooting for 
Tennessee and about six of us for Cal, and we won. 

Lage: Oh, terrific. Were you quiet in your rooting? 

Haas: Oh, I had to be very quiet, but at the end he remembered. He gave 
me a bottle of Jack Daniel's. I have it downstairs, and it has 
nothing to do with anything except some of the fun we had. 

Lage: Oh, that sounds great. We're going to end this session with that 
good story. 



130 



VI LEVI STRAUSS INTERNATIONAL 



Going International; The Role of Coincidence, Canada and Europe ## 



Lage: Shall we turn to the International Division now? We need to go back 
to the beginnings and not just focus on the troubled period of the 
1970s. 

Haas: I think earlier on I indicated a number of factors that I thought 
were contributing to the growth of the company. One of them was 
expansion geographically from the West to the East. And the next 
step would be to go international. 

We thought a lot about it, and we thought the natural direction 
to take our first step would be Canada because it's contiguous to 
the U.S. We had a long contiguous border. The people are English 
speaking. Their customs are not that dissimilar to ours. So we had 
a very careful survey of the Canadian market and found it was 
completely dominated by one company, Great Western Garment Company, 
and we'd probably have a heck of an uphill battle to make any 
impact. So, then we decided- - 

Lage: Now, what part of the market did they dominate? The work clothes 
market? 

Haas: The market we were in. It's just a different market, and I guess it 
was work clothes, but it was also sportswear and kiddie, you know, 
young people and anywhere the product line was for the Canadian 
people. So we decided to turn our attention to Europe. We 
appointed a committee. I don't remember who was on it except I know 
Bill Lagoria was, who had never had any experience overseas. I 
don't think any of them had. 

Lage: Mel Bacharach mentioned that he was involved. 



131 

Haas: Probably. We sent them over there, and I don't know if it was when 
they were over there or very close to this time when we were trying 
to decide whether to expand in Europe or not when I got a call. My 
secretary said that there's a gentleman in the lobby who wants to 
see you, a Mr. Godsoe from Canada. 

ft 

Haas: It was Mr. Jerry Godsoe from Canada. I didn't know him, but it 
turned out that he was CEO and chairman of Great Western Garment 
Company. And he said, "I represent the family shares. I'm married 
to the daughter." The company was very similar to ours. It was a 
family business, privately held. "Because of inheritance taxes, we 
have to sell the company. I have been to see Blue Bell, and I've 
been to see H.D. Lee. But I know your reputation, and if you have 
an interest, we'd rather deal with you." Well, I knew a heck of a 
lot more about his company than he thought I did. 

Lage: He didn't know you'd done this study? 

Haas: No. We'd done it all, and I knew a lot. Anyway, I said I'd take it 
up, and one thing led to another, and we ended up buying Great 
Western Garment Company, which is how we got into Canada. 

Lage: This must have been in the early sixties [1960-1961]. 

Haas: The dates, I'm not sure of. But I do know that my father and I, as 
far as our employees knew, went on a fishing trip. We actually, I 
think, went to Chicago or Detroit. I don't think we went to Canada. 
We met Godsoe there, and that's where we worked out the details and 
had a handshake. So, again, with all the scientific study and 
research, a coincidence got us into Canada. 

Lage: That's interesting. 

Haas: Yes, and the coincidences didn't stop there. 

When we acquired GWG [Great Western Garment Company] , I was 
impressed with how similar their company was to ours. It was a 
family company, down through the generations, and they had a basic 
business philosophy that was very similar to ours. The clincher, 
for me, was when I visited their plant in Edmonton where I saw a 
small playground on their property at the factory. They maintained 
it and made it available to the children of the community. 

We, for many, many years, had a similar playground at 250 
Valencia Street. And when we redid Valencia Street, which I think 
we talked about earlier, we maintained the playground and put in 
lights and a basketball court in the parking lot so the neighborhood 



132 

kids could play basketball at nights. It seemed like a remarkable 
coincidence that GWG had a playground also and seemed to make it 
almost inevitable that we would consummate the deal because the 
philosophy was so much alike. 

A similar happenstance got us into Europe. We had this study 
group, and we were still studying when a kind of an unprepossessing 
Frenchman dropped into the office in New York and said, "I'd like to 
buy Levi's for France." I haven't mentioned our New York office, 
but in those days it was headed by Oscar Groebl and Henry VanKerKen 
and Herman Schneider, and that was our whole New York eyes and ears 
at the time. New York said, "Well, we'll have to do a credit check 
and so forth." He says, "Oh, no. You don't need a credit check. I 
want--" and it was a rather huge order and he pulled money out of 
his pocket and said, "I'll pay for it." And well, of course, we 
did-- 

Lage: Don't even need a handshake on that. 

Haas: No, and we didn't want to quite go that quickly, you know. We made 
a study, and he was a distributor of all kinds of clothing. His 
interest developed because we'd sold Levi's to the GIs in World War 
II through the PXs, and they sold them on the black market because 
there was a great demand. Again, I can't help but think that, with 
all the research and study and so forth, just the coincidence of 
this fellow coming with cash in his pocket got our attention and he 
became our first distributor in Europe. That's how we got there. 



Management Problems in Europe: Growth Outstrips Controls 



Lage: How did it develop from that, from having a distributor to really 
having an operation? 

Haas: Well, I must say that I think just the popularity of the product 

essentially made it a good job, initially. We eventually had some 
problems, I think, and decided we'd do better by ourselves. And we 
gradually built the organization. 

Lage: So, it just happened. 

Haas: And it grew, and it grew, and it grew too fast. One of the most 

memorable episodeswe had put Pete Thigpen in charge. Now, I think 
I have to go back to tell how we hired Pete, because a lot of these 
things overlap. We were beginning to interview in major business 
schools for graduates. We were a bigger company, but we could never 
get them interested. They hadn't heard of Levi's. But one year, I 



133 

remember, we went to Stanford, and the number one guy in the 
graduating class was a fellow named Pete Thigpen. He came to us 
instead of going to Proctor and Gamble or Ford or whatever. We 
figured we'd made it big time. 

And Pete was good. Since we were having some problems in 
Europe, we sent Pete over after he'd been with the company only a 
few years. 

Lage: And he was young, still. 

Haas: He was very young. He had no experience. I guess we must have had 
about a thousand employees throughout Europe at that time. Our 
headquarters was in Brussels. Then all of the sudden our 
accountants discovered some tremendous losses. What had happened 
was that it had just gotten out of control. Remember I said 
earlier, when we talked about controlled growth, that one of the 
problems was that you couldn't grow too fast, you had to have the 
marketing and the manufacturing and the financial all working 
together. Well, in Europe the opportunities were there, and they 
could sell everything they could make. And they lost control. 

Lage: Were they making them there, also? 

Haas: They were manufacturing overseas, and they were just cranking them 

out without, it turns out, without regard to market acceptance. The 
quality was bad, and we didn't have good controls. There were 
defalcationssome dishonesty, sloppy controls, poor accountability, 
and all this and that. 

This all came to light just about as we were going public. I 
made a trip over there with George Daly, our financial guy, who had 
just joined the company, to see what was happening. I had a long 
talk with Pete, and I basically said that this is a really major 
disaster. But I didn't hold him responsible because he'd only been 
with the company five years , and it was our fault for not sending 
him some experienced accountants and marketing people to shore him 
up. We did transfer him, and we cut Europe into two or three 
divisions so we could control it better. He was in charge of one of 
them. Eventually he came back and became head of our jeans division 
and was one of our major, major executives. 

He came to me one time, and he said, "You know, I don't 
understand you because when you came over to Europe, I surely 
expected to get fired. Why didn't you fire me?" I said, "Well, you 
had a lot of good background. We paid a lot of money to educate 
you, and now we want a return on our investment." So we ended up 
pretty good friends, and he made a real contribution to the company. 



134 

Lage: That's a very interesting story about personnel management, 

Haas: Yes, it is. It came out pretty well. 

Lage: Who did you put in charge, then? 

Haas: I don't remember. 

Tom Tusher 



Haas: I want to mention Tom Tusher. Tom has been an integral part of the 
top management team at Levi Strauss & Co. for the past twenty-five 
years. His attractive wife, Pauline, has always been very 
supportive, and they are devoted to their two sons. Tom graduated 
from Cal, went on to Stanford Business School, and recently was 
chairman of the Haas School of Business advisory board. We first 
met Tom and Pauline in Australia, where he helped to launch our 
business in that country. While we were there, we helped dedicate 
the Adelaide factory. 

Tom has vast overseas experience, having gone on to head our 
European and later International operations. Tom's energetic 
management style, breath of experience, willingness to challenge the 
status quo, and attention to detail make him an ideal partner for 
Bob. 



Robert Grohman 



Lage: At some point, Robert Grohman comes in and heads up the 
international division. Was that later? 

Haas: Yes, that was 1974, I believe. I was still CEO. We were looking 
for an outside executive, and I remember hiring Bob. He was with 
B.V.D., another apparel company. He was a very capable executive, 
and eventually he became president for a short time. He was put in 
a very difficult position, I think, because he was the first non- 
family member to serve as president. He was kind of like a meat in 
the sandwich between Peter and me on one side and Bob on the other. 

Lage: That would be difficult. 

Haas: He did a good job, although with all respect, and I don't know that 
it was his fault, it was not a particularly successful time in our 



135 

company's history. But by then, Peter was CEO and dealt with him 
more directly, and I'm not that familiar with what happened. I'm 
not qualified to comment much further except that we kept in touch 
when he retired. He retired fairly early. 

Lage: The book by Ed Cray on Levi's mentioned that Bob Grohman's 

management style was somewhat different from what the company had 
been used to. 

Haas: I think it probably was. He probably didn't have the personal 

style. I think it was more conventional, more by the book, more 

with goals and budgets and all of that. We had those things, but we 
didn't deal with them as most companies do. 

Lage: I imagine that would be a hard situation to step into, with the 
family on both sides. 

Haas: Very, very. We really tried not to intrude our family style, but I 
guess there were indirect pressures. 

Lage: Was there also a problem with the fact that he had been brought in 
more recently, and then, you know, promoted over some of your long 
time executives? 

Haas: I'm sure that was a factor. Bob Grohman made an effort to stimulate 
our business because it was, at that time, beginning to flag a 
little bit. We got into a group of smaller businesses that were not 
successful because we didn't have much background. And that's 
something I want to talk about later. 



A Tremendous Trademark and Problems with Imitations 



Haas: Levi's was just a tremendous trademark. The movies had glamorized 
the product, and it just caught on internationally. 

Lage: I remember students financing their European vacations by selling 
their Levi's. 

Haas: Oh, yes. And they still can. If you want to take a chance, you can 
go to Russia and pay your way now because you'll get over a hundred 
dollars a pair, I'm told. 

Lage: One thing that hasn't come up is the Orient. You got into Hong Kong 
in 1964, when you opened a factory in Hong Kong and had some 
relationship with the Tang family. Do you recall them? 



136 

Haas: The Tangs were the major textile manufacturers. I was involved, but 
I confess that my whole orientation was still domestic. Now we're a 
global company. Returns from international are greater than they 
are from domestic. 

Lage: Really? 

Haas: Yes. But I can't claim great knowledge or responsibility for it--it 
just grew. We had good people, and we had our problems. We had 
trademark problems and we had quality problems and we had 
counterfeit problems. 

** 

Haas: I think our security people could write a book about our problems 
with imitations. We've had so many incidents of major, major 
production of imitation Levi's in various parts of the world. And 
it's almost impossible to stop. It keeps growing. 

Lage: We're not talking about companies here in this country who make 
similar styles. 

Haas: No, no, no. Imitation of Levi button-front 501 's, the tab and all 
the rest of it. Their stationery is even the same, and their 
invoices. We have a wide security force of at least a half a dozen 
people all over the world, trying to stop this. It's hard to get 
cooperation of governments, including our own. There are tens of 
thousands of these imitations going around. 

Like cigarettes, it's a hard thing to trace. We've had big 
trucks hijacked from our warehouses. And I can't begin to--I don't 
even follow what's going on internationally now, but we've had major 
vice presidents of important banks in London kind of heading up a 
cabal that will be responsible for this because there's a lot of 
money being made and because it's--. 

Lage: And then selling them for a bit less, for less money? 

Haas: No, they sell them for a lot of money. But the point is they don't 
have the same quality and that affects our reputation. And so it's 
really a major issue with us. 

Now, we also have problems with diversion, which is a more 
difficult problem, because people will buy Levi's and send them to 
Europe where there's a higher retail price. And that's pretty hard 
to stop. They'll just go into one of our major accounts and buy a 
bunch of them, pick up a half a dozen here and a half a dozen there 
and then ship them overseas and sell them for more. 



137 



So, these are problems that are ongoing now and I shouldn't 
even get into it, but that trademark is valuable and protecting it 
is a constant concern. 



Cheetahs in Belgium ## 



Lage: You told me about one employee in Europe with a unique answer to the 
problem of thefts. 

Haas: Oh, yes. We had a fellow in Belgium in charge of our warehouse 
named Charles Bornstein. Charles Bornstein was a fighter in the 
Belgian underground, and he was a strange character but kind of fun. 
When we visited Brussels at one time, we were too busy with other 
management people to spend much time with him. He really insisted 
that he wanted to visit with us, and he asked if he could drive Evie 
and me to the railroad station when we went to Paris. So we agreed. 
I remember looking down from my hotel window and seeing quite a 
crowd in the parking lot. I got down, and there was Charles 
Bornstein with a station wagon and a live cheetah in the front seat. 
It turns out that Charles trained cats, as he called them. But he 
did something quite remarkable because he trained different species 
of large cats, tigers and panthers and cheetahs. They all got along 
together, which apparently is not normal. 

Anyway, we saw this damn live cheetah in the front seat with a 
big collar around it, and he had the bellman put our bags in the 
back. Well, I didn't want to get in, but he said it was perfectly 
all right. Evie was a wonderful sport. 

We sat in the back seat of that station wagon. This cheetah 
turned around and put his head on the back seat, no more than 
eighteen inches from us. I guess he was purring, but we weren't 
sure. Of course, we were driving through the town of Brussels, and 
every time we stopped at a stoplight, people would see this wild 
animal. Charles said, "Would you like to see my cats? We have 
time." So we went to his office, and on his roof in downtown 
Brussels he had a big cage with a black panther and a cheetah and 
half a dozen different types of big cats. 

He was in the cage petting them, and he said, "They're very 
gentle. Come on in." I said, "No way." But he got his secretary to 
go in, and the cats kind of bumped up against her and growled and 
she patted them. I like to think it would have made a heck of a 
newspaper report: "Levi's president eaten piece by piece." I didn't 
do it. Then we eventually did get to the train station, and poor 



138 

Evie had a rash from that cheetah the whole time she was in Paris. 
But that was a unique experience. 

Lage: Now, was he an executive in the company? 

Haas: No, he was the warehouse manager. He had remarkably small losses 

from theft. Well, we discovered the reason was that he had a couple 
of those animals patrolling inside the warehouse. 

Lage: So he put the cats to use in the business. 

Haas: Yes. Actually, he came back from a long lunch hour one time, and 
there was an intruder in the warehouse with a big cat with his two 
feet on the young man's chest. 

Lage: No stealing Levi's there. 

Haas: No stealing Levi's. Another time, a kid saw the cat and jumped out 
the window and broke his leg. Our insurance company heard about it 
and put an end to it. But it was certainly a remarkable experience 
in the back seat of that station wagon. 

Lage: That shows the difficulty of maintaining close controls in Europe, 
so far away. 

Haas: If we'd had more Charles Bornsteins, we probably would have been all 
right . 



Lessons and Company Values in the International Setting ## 

Haas: Now, maybe I should mention one lesson I learned overseas. We had a 
contractor in Belgium. And we had always had a little trouble with 
him. Let's just say that sometimes his values were different than 
ours. 

Lage: That's very diplomatic. 

Haas: It was kind of a rocky relationship, but he was important because he 
produced a lot of Levi's. 

Lage: He was a manufacturing contractor? 

Haas: Yes, and then I remember that we got into a major trademark dispute 
with him. Along the way we felt he was copying some of our marks. 
So we sued him. It was kind of a long and bitter contest, but we 
prevailed. This is when I learned a lesson. I don't remember what 



139 

we did but we really, I won't say lorded it over him because that 
wouldn't have been practical, but we really twisted the screws- - 
maybe he had some stock left over that we made very difficult for 
him to dispose of. Whatever it was, we were tough. 

Well, this infuriated him. So he appealed the case. And I'm 
pretty sure he bought the judge. The decision was reversed. He 
told me one time, "If you hadn't been so tough with me, I'd have 
accepted the verdict, but you really made it so difficult that it 
made me angry." Of course this cost us money and time and 
everything else. I remember that. You don't crow when you've been 
successful. I think that's an important lesson. 

Lage: Did you have problems in passing on company values in that 
international setting? Or did you try to? 

Haas: We certainly tried to, and I think basically we have. I have no 
question about it. 

Lage: But primarily, at least my notes show here, you've put foreign 
nationals in charge of a lot of the operation. 

Haas: Yes, well, that was very important to try to do that, and it was not 
easy. 

Lage: And then you have these values that may or may not-- 

Haas: No, the values carried forward. I know that we had these community 
involvement teams, which we haven't yet talked about. I didn't see 
any place for them in some of the countries we were operating in. 
They were socialist countries. But we tried them, and they are very 
successful, very helpful with employee morale. They helped us 
become better accepted in the communities. 

I know that we had several shareholder meetings when we would 
invite people from those teams to address our shareholders. It was 
very exciting for me to see how they were doing internationally the 
same kinds of things that we were doing in Texas or Tennessee or 
wherever. 

So, international was growing. And I guess it was growing in 
spite of me. I don't know. [laughter] 




Betsy's "coming out," 1963. Walter A. Haas, Jr., 
Evelyn D. Haas, Betsy Haas, Elise Stern Haas, Walter 
A. Haas, Sr. 




At the Montana ranch, 1981, 
In Alaska, 1991. 





On the Montana ranch. 
Evelyn Danzig Haas. 



Charlotte Haas, Walter A. Haas, Jr., Simone Haas, 




Walter A. Haas, Jr. at Levi Strauss & Co., circa 1984. 




Wally Haas, Bob Haas, and Betsy Eisenhardt, 1990. 




The whole family, 1991. Back row: Roy Eisenhardt, Elise Haas, 
Betsy Eisenhardt, Colleen Haas, Evelyn D. Haas, Julie Haas, Bob 
Haas, Walter A. Haas, Jr., Walter J. Haas. Front row: Walter A 
Haas, III, Charlotte Haas, Sarah Eisenhardt, Simone Haas, Jesse 
Eisenhardt. 



140 



VII REFLECTIONS ON MANAGEMENT, MARKETING, AND LEVI STRAUSS & CO. IN 
THE 1980S 



[Interview 6: October 25, 1994] ## 

Handling Management Mistakes or Poor Decisions 

Recovering from the Debacle in Europe, 1970s 

Lage: We have talked about decisions, important decisions, and turning 
points. But you've hinted that some of the responsibility of 
management is to recover from bad decisions. So, let's talk now 
about some of the bad decisions. 

Haas: Happily, maybe I'm too egotistical, but I don't think we made too 
many mistakes. [laughter] At least I'm not aware of them. The 
biggest and most serious was our debacle in Europe, which I've gone 
into before. We had inexperienced management. We lost control, and 
there were serious losses. It affected our market position and our 
reputation very adversely for quite a period of time. But again, we 
recognized what had happened. We split the management and sent some 
more experienced people over there and got some good merchandising 
advice and accounting and controls. It's a long time afterwards, 
but right now our international operations are more profitable than 
our domestic operations. So, we really recovered. But that was, I 
would say, the major, major mistake I can remember. 

Lage: And you attribute it to what? Just to rapid growth? 

Haas: Inadequate management caused by inexperience. We just grew too 

fast. We, in San Francisco, failed to recognize a need to put some 
more experience over there until after we learned about it. 

Lage: You mentioned earlier that George Daly was one of your executives 
who helped handle the international problems. 



141 

Haas: Yes, he was a new employee at the time. We had wined and dined him, 
and he came from Dart Industries as a fine financial manager with a 
good reputation. He thought he was coming with a great company, and 
within a month after he arrived, this thing exploded. So we dumped 
the whole thing on him to put in place the proper controls, and he 
handled it well. He and I went over to visit Europe. I previously 
told you of my discussion with Pete Thigpen. I don't remember the 
details but obviously George Daly was responsible for finding people 
with experience to handle the financial end in accounting and 
control. They straightened it out. He served us well. 

Lage: Now, did you have an inkling that things were not well when you made 
this effort to hire this outstanding financial manager? 

Haas: No. We hired him because we needed a new financial person. No, we 
were--I was caught by surprise. I surely hope that nobody else knew 
and didn't tell me. It's an embarrassment, that's all. We should 
have known. 



Mis judgments in Women's Wear and Casuals 



Haas: I don't say it was a failure, but our initial entry into women's 
wear was not well handled. It's a different market. It's a 
different technique, a different kind of merchandise. 

Lage: That was early on. 

Haas: Very early on. Then even when we went in, it took us a while before 
we could become a major factor in the women's field. 

Lage: Maybe you needed more women in the company. 

Haas: In executive positions, you bet. No, that's not a problem now. No 
question about it that the design and fit of women's fashions is 
completely different than it used to be in men's, as well as 
merchandising and marketing techniques. I don't think we handled it 
too well. I also mentioned our casual wear, which I can't say was a 
mistake. We had good management most of the time. 

We were trying to diversify because we didn't want everything 
in the jeans because people are always predicting the end of the 
blue jeans fad. We desperately searched for some way to diversify. 
Casual sportswear seemed to be the answer, but we didn't come up 
with anything very unique or very unusual. We were battling Haggar 
and Farah and some other good companies. Then somehow or other, 



142 

after my time, we had the miracle of Dockers, which just within five 
years could have been a Fortune Five Hundred company itself. 

I'm not sure of the details of this because I wasn't part of 
it. I frankly have a hard time seeing what a great difference there 
is between Dockers and what we were trying to do in casual 
sportwear. But somehow, somebody found the magic. Thank goodness, 
because it certainly has given us diversification and growth and 
another feather in our cap, another string to our bow. 



Sticking with 501 Jeans 



Haas: A couple more things. Probably we stuck with our 501 basic jean 1 
too long to the exclusion of other models. Designer jeans were 
coming out. We were selling at capacity. We sold every pair of 501 
jeans we could make. Our decision was as long as we can sell what 
we're making, why should we get into this style field where we don't 
have quite as much expertise and perhaps have more risk. But it did 
enable these fashion competitors to get a foot in the market and get 
a lot of publicity. It was only a relatively temporary thing but 
perhaps we should have diverted some of that production into the new 
styles just to maintain our position as a market leader. Maybe I'm 
searching, but perhaps that could be considered a possible mistake 
in management although the company's growth continued. 

Lage: When you got into the fashion jeans, did you have difficulty finding 
your niche? 

Haas: Well, I don't think we've ever been in the fashion jeans as I define 
it, really, really fashion. We have a huge variety of jeans now, 
whitewash and stonewash. 

Lage: Easy fit. 

Haas: Easy fit and loose fit and narrow legs. They're more stylish, and 
it's a broad spectrum of jeans, but it's not what I consider high 
fashion jeans. And so we're far more sophisticated marketing-wise 
now. 



'501 is a registered trademark referring to the original button fly 
blue jean manufactured by Levi Strauss & Co. 



143 
Too Rapid Diversification 



Haas: I think the final flaw I would mentionand in fairness, I really 

think this happened after my time. It started when I was there, but 
the major part of it came later. We drifted into too many 
businesses in an attempt to diversify. We started acquiring small 
businesses. We were too big to give management time to a $100 
million business, for instance, or a $50 million business. That 
sounds strange, but we were big then, and management time is 
precious, and it should go to the heart of your expertise. 

Lage: What kinds of companies did you acquire? 

Haas: They involved everything from Frank Shorter 's Running Gear to 

Rainfair to Koret (a major women's apparel company) to Oxxford Suits 
as well as a couple of designers (Perry Ellis and Andrew Fezza) , and 
Resistol Hats. I always thought we should try to get into something 
that related to Levi's special connotation. I think a certain 
amount of ruggedness and the youthfulness and perhaps the outdoors 
type of thing. So, I was thinking of camping equipment, and we 
didn't get into that. 

Lage: I'd be interested in some of the thinking behind that one. 

Haas: Well, we were trying to diversify, and I think we got into 

businesses that were not profitable, that took our time. One of the 
major contributions Bob made was to cut all these out and return to 
the core products. 



Relationship with The Gap 

Lage: Did you have a relationship with The Gap in the early days? 
Haas: We certainly did. 

Lage: That would be important to talk about. There's another very 
successful company. 

Haas: Well, The Gap and Don Fisher is a personal friend. 
Lage: What age group is Don Fisher? 

Haas: Don is, I'd say middle sixties now. Don was in real estate or 

something, I believe, and he got the idea that the young people were 
interested in records, music, tapes, and Levi's. He opened his 



144 

first store out on Ocean Avenue near City College, and he called it 
The Gap, which is a marvelous name because it's symbolic of the 
generation gap. His wife, Doris, was very instrumental in the whole 
business. They had Levi's and they had music, and I was convinced 
that they couldn't do both and that Levi's would go by the wayside. 
However, much to my surprise, he kept the Levi's and got out of the 
music business. 

Lage: Was it just 501s? 

Haas: No. Whatever-- 

Lage: Whatever you were making. 

Haas: I think it was mostly jeans. But he would have all different styles 
of jeans by size. So, whatever your waist was, thirty-two by 
thirty- two, you could go and get your selection of those pants that 
fit you in one cubbyhole, which was the basic secret, initially. 
Eventually he dropped the tapes. 

Lage: And not the Levi's. 

Haas: He was very successful, and he gradually began opening more and more 
stores. 

Lage: Did you have any back and forth about his company or any special 
relationship with it? He was just a customer? 

Haas: No, he became really one of the most important customers. We had a 
very excellent relationship for a long period of time. But at some 
point we began to feel that he was exploiting Levi's to promote his 
own lines. He began to get other products besides Levi's and put 
stuff under his own brand name, but he used the name Levi's to draw 
people into the store, and the Levi's became harder and harder to 
find there. Now we don't sell him, and he's doing very well. 

Lage: So, you decided not to sell to him. 

Haas: Two years ago we decided not to and we are basically competitors 
because he's very successful in what he does. We're good friends 
and entertain each other, but we're going our separate ways in 
business. 



Ramifications of Selling to Sears and Penneys 
Lage: Now, I see on your list here "sell to Sears." 



145 

Haas: Well, I crossed it off. I just crossed it off two minutes ago. I 
don't think it was a mistake. It was one of those major, major 
marketing decisions we made when we decided to sell Sears and 
Penneys . We had some real problems with some of our traditional 
customers when we started selling these big chains [announced 
decision, 1982; started shipping, 1983]. 

a 

Haas: They were, I guess, traditional competitors of our traditional 

customers, particularly Macy's. Ed Finklestein, chairman and CEO at 
Macy's, took exception. 

Lage: Did they not want to carry the same merchandise as Sears and 
Penneys? 

Haas: They did not want to have the chains carry the same merchandise that 
they did because that would probably take customers away, they 
thought. Macy's publicly canceled every order they had and said 
they'd never buy from us. 

Lage: My goodness. 

Haas: This was a challenge. I knew Ed Finklestein when he managed Macy's 
out here. We were pretty good friends at the time. We knew how he 
felt, and we also knew of other retail stores that would be 
distressed. I took it off my "mistake list" here because I don't 
think it was a mistake. It caused a lot of worry and concern and 
adjustments, but it was not a bad decision. 

Lage: Now, how did it get resolved? 

Haas: Well, they didn't buy from us. And the fact that Macy's wouldn't 

buy from us affected a lot of other stores. So, for quite a number 
of years this problem continued. Meanwhile, Sears and Penneys 
became probably our first two major accounts in terms of sales 
volume. We have an excellent relationship with them. 

Most of the retail stores that dropped us gradually came back 
because Levi's is a powerful customer attractor. Macy's didn't 
until they went through bankruptcy and they replaced Ed Finklestein. 
Then they came and had a number of meetings with us asking if we 
would sell them. Bob handled it very well. For a while, we had 
limited production. He said, "Well, we're not going to sell you if 
you're going to cherry pick," which is a term that means they just 
pick certain items. They had to put in Levi's departments and so 
forth and so on. Now, our relationship is excellent, and they carry 
and feature Levi's. So that goes to show that what goes around 
comes around. But it took ten or fifteen years, I guess. 



146 

Lage: That is a long time. 

Haas: And Macy's was a major customer. At one time it was our largest 
department store account. 

Lage: I don't see how a store like Macy's could not carry Levi's. 

Haas: Well, most of their buyers and merchandise people wanted to, at 

least told our sales reps they should, but Finklestein wouldn't do 
it. 



Painful Plant Closures 



Lage: What is this note about overcapacity? 

Haas: Oh, that's important. That's another problem which I think 

developed somewhat after my time. That's why I want to see the 
sales figures, because we had to develop plant capacity as we were 
growing and expanding. It takes a while to build production, to 
build a factory or buy one, modernize it, train operators. So 
there's quite a lag there. But when sales begin to flatten out, you 
don't need all that production. So there was a time when we had to 
have a major adjustment in downsizing, which is a painful, a very 
painful experience. Again, I'm talking after my time. 

Lage: This under Bob's management? 

Haas: Downsizing started in 1982 under Bob Grohman. The major cuts- 
layoffs, facility closings, selling or closing businessestook 
place in 1984-85 under Bob. It's painful because you're dealing 
with people's livelihood. We are experts in closing plants in the 
sense that we try to be sensitive to the needs of the community, to 
help employees find other jobs, to do retraining, to have generous 
severance . I think we ' re well ahead of almost any company in the 
United States, but it is still terribly painful. I'm glad I don't 
have those decisions, and I was lucky because we didn't. We were 
growing and always looking for opportunities to expand. 

Lage: You were there at the right time. 

Haas: Yes, I was. So, that's about, I think, as much as I care to say 
about it . 



147 
"Seat of the Pants" Economics 



Haas: Several years ago I was asked to testify before a congressional 
committee on the United States budget. I know nothing about the 
United States budget. So, I called my friend Bob McNamara and said, 
"Bob, what should I do about this? You've done it dozens of times." 
He said, "Well, I'll tell you what I do. I get two or three 
economists to draw up papers. I read them, and I take the best of 
each." And I said, "Bob, my economist is the seat of my pants." 
[laughter] He kind of laughed. 

Then I called George Schulz. I said, "George, I'm kind of 
lost. What would you suggest I do?" He said, "Well, don't worry 
about the United States budget. Tell him about something you know, 
the apparel business." So, I followed George's advice. I spoke 
before a committee of senators and congressmen. There were about 
three people besides my family in the room. As I left, labor was 
going to make its presentation on the budget, and they filled the 
room. So, I had an experience, but I don't think I affected the 
budget. [laughter] 

Lage: That's a wonderful story. 



A CEO with a Marketing Orientation 



Lage: Let's go back to your list. "Firm believer--" 

Haas: That's an observation I wanted to make. In a consumer products 
company, I'm a firm believer that the CEO has to have a market 
orientation. I don't think it should be a financial type. I don't 
think it should be an operations type. I think it should be 
somebody with a feel for marketing, a sensitivity and understanding, 
and recognition of its importance. That's my own personal feeling. 
There is no reason in the world that you can't get people to carry 
out these other functions. 

Lage: The CEO should be the marketer and then hire the financial people? 

Haas: That's right, rather than the other way around. This is just my own 
personal view, but I see it in other companies. 

Lage: Do you see it both ways in other companies? Is that what has built 
your view? 



148 

Haas: Yes. I know of one of the executives I admire the most who became 
head of a consumer products company. He had really had a very 
distinguished career, and it was not his finest hour. 

Lage: Because he didn't have the marketing orientation. 

Haas: Yes, and then I'll see someone like Don Fisher who's marketing 
oriented and so successful, just to take two extremes. 

Lage: Well, that's a very good point. Did you make that point when you 
gave your talk at the Cal business school class? 

Haas: I don't think so. I don't think so. That was a long time ago. 



The Decision to Take Levi Strauss & Co. Private. 1985 

[Interview 8: November 22, 1994] ## 



Lage: My thought today and I think yours, too, is to discuss how and why 
Levi Strauss & Co. went private after fourteen years as a public 
corporation. 

Haas: Well, we'd been private for about 120 years, first. 

Lage: I want to know your role in the process, but also your reflections 
on the significance of it. 

Haas: It was probably one of the wisest decisions ever made at Levi 
Strauss. It was made by Bob. I had no role in it. 

I give Bob and his associates full credit, not only for doing 
it, but for the way they did it. In so many ways, the company has 
thrived since then. The shareholder values have increased, I think, 
almost 1,000 percent, if you can believe that. The management is 
able to run the business without being concerned about quarterly 
results or investment analysts. They can plan programs with long- 
term implications. The huge debt, which had scared me beyond 
understanding, has been paid off completely and way ahead of 
schedule. It was just really quite remarkable. I believe it's 
recognized as one of the best, if not the best, buy back in the 
history of those transactions. It was accomplished by Hellman and 
Friedman, who did a superb job. 

Lage: And Warren Hellman had been the one who assisted you in going 
public. 



149 

Haas: Yes, and then he took us private. Of course, he's on our board now 
and a very, very helpful and wise consultant. 

Lage: I'm not sure I fully understand what going private entails--for 
instance, in terms of family ownership and employee ownership. 

Haas: You buy back all the shares and take them off the public stock 
market. The family acquires them. 

Lage: I see. You purchased back the public shares. 

Haas: Yes. Then we had the total equity, and our ownership increased to 
100 percent. 

Lage: Were there some members of the family that were bought out? 

Haas: Some of the family? Oh, not everybody wanted to participate. They 
were given a choice of maintaining their proportion or selling some 
shares . 

Lage: So, would they go into debt individually to buy back a portion, to 
maintain their portion? Would an individual family member--? 

Haas: No one needed to borrow to participate. They either put their 
shares into the new company or sold them (to the company; the 
company borrowed $1.65 billion to finance the repurchase). 

Basically, you just take the shares off the market, change your 
board of directors, and-- 

Lage: So, the outside members of the board go off? 

Haas: They're gone. That was one of the hardest things because we had a 
very fine board and the new board gave representation to family 
according to their shareholdings. With all respect to some of them, 
they obviously didn't have the commercial experience or expertise 
that members of the previous board had who headed major American 
corporations. But Bob is handling it superbly. 



The Family Buy Back, a Huge Risk 



Lage: At the time, you thought the buy back was a huge risk. 

Haas: It was a huge risk. First of all, you put the company in play. And 
I didn't think it was necessary to buy it back because the family 
had control of 40 percent of the shares. That should be enough to 



150 

control the company. Well, first of all, I didn't fully appreciate 
how many computers our company was on, being tracked by predators 
who were interested in buying a company that had a well-known 
consumer product and an incredibly large cash flow. We're really 
what we call a cash cow. I had no idea that they were waiting to 
pounce . 

Once you tender an offer to buy back the shares, the company is 
in play. That is where the big risk is, that someone will step in 
and match your offer or offer a higher price. As I said, I thought 
it wasn't necessary because we had 40 percent control, not realizing 
that the 40 percent wasn't as solid as I thought it was. 

You've got to realize that by this time a lot of the family 
shares were held in trusts, by foundations, or by generations or 
individuals far removed from the loyalties and connections that all 
of us had had. They had desires which were not necessarily 
compatible with the company's. Trustees of foundations or 
institutions that might own the shares, the family organizations 
that might own the shares, had a fiduciary responsibility that went 
beyond family loyalties. So we didn't have control. 

Lage: That 40 percent wasn't solid? 

Haas: It was not at all solid. So, I'm just repeating, but it was a 

superb concept carried out tremendously well. I'm very proud of 
what they did. I'll leave it there. 

Lage: And it was followed by some trimming back of the company. 

Haas: Oh, yes. Then we were able to get rid of some of the peripheral 
businesses, cut back on duplicate expenses. That was one of the 
purposes. 

Lage: It couldn't have been done under the public ownership? 
Haas: Well, it wasn't being done. Let's say that. 
Lage: It's a fascinating story. 

Haas: Oh, it was very interesting because there were differences of 

opinion. Who knows, if it had got into play and then been taken 
over by somebody else, we'd be a completely different company today. 
As it is, our sales are up to $6 billion, and the company continues 
to do very well competitively and every other way. And Bob is able 
to conduct the business in a way that makes you proud to be a part 
of corporate America. 



151 

Lage: You have indicated that Bob played this kind of close to the chest. 
Was this highly- - 

Haas: Oh, boy. They had to. They had to. 

Lage: We'll have to get the story from Bob some day. 

Haas: All right. I'll let you try to ferret that out. 

Lage: That's fine. Let me just clarify a couple of things. Did going 
private rule out the possibility of employee stockholders? 

Haas: No, no. We have management employee stockholders. Then we have 

various employee benefit plans that own Levi Strauss stock. So the 
employees really are shareholders. Actually that was one of the 
great benefits we had when we were private initially that I hated to 
give up when we went public. The employees owned shares, and it was 
just a different feeling when you're part owner. It gives, I think, 
a feeling of participation and involvement that employees don't have 
otherwise. 

Lage: Very much so. 



The Cancelled Olympics of 1980 



Lage: Do you have anything to say about the Olympics and Levi's role in 
1984? Was that anything that you got involved in with your great 
interest in athletics? 

Haas: I was involved in 1980. We provided the parade uniforms for the 

Winter Olympic team. I can't remember a moment when I had a greater 
feeling of pride than when we saw the American athletes parade out 
at the opening ceremonies wearing Levi's jackets and Levi's outfits. 
Then they cancelled the summer games. 

Lage: Oh, that's right. 



Request from President Jimmy Carter 

Haas: They cancelled the summer games. We were having dinner one night, 
and our housekeeper of many years came in and said, "There's a Mr. 
Carter wants to speak to you." It was the president. He indicated 
that the summer games had been cancelled, but they were going to 



152 

have a week of ceremonies for the athletes in Washington to thank 
them for qualifying, and would we be willing to still supply the 
uniforms. And I said, "I'd be very happy to." 

So we did. Evie and I went back for the week. It was a very 
exciting time. You know, the public didn't even know that the 
athletes were being given some recognition. The company rented the 
basement, I guess, or a ballroom in one of the major hotels, and we 
brought in about twenty or thirty sewing machine operators, because 
even though we had the measurements in advance, the 400-pound 
weight-lifter and a 90-pound gymnast required some alterations. So 
we set up a little factory back there, and we distributed, I think, 
thirty-five or forty pieces of clothing to each member of the team. 
It was really fun meeting them. We had a lot of anecdotes from 
that. 

Evie and I were invited to a reception in the Rose Garden where 
the team was going to parade and be introduced. I said, "I'd like 
to do it, but can I invite some of these ladies who were sewing 
machine operators?" The president was very gracious, and said we 
had six or eight who could come. 

So I went to the factory when it was in operation. I stopped 
the operation, and I said, "Now I have a little surprise. Next 
Wednesday afternoon eight of us are going to the Rose Garden. I'm 
going to draw your names out of a hat. But there are no supervisors 
in the hat." So, I drew eight names out. When I was halfway 
through, a little, quite elderly lady whose name had been drawn 
stood up. She was retired. She turned out to be the sweetheart of 
the group. And she said, "I quit." I said, "What do you mean you 
quit?" She says, "I'm going to buy a new dress." 



Ceremony at the Rose Garden 

Haas: I remember, then, the ceremony at the Rose Garden. Everyone was 

having ice cream and cookies , and the parade had taken place . Then 
the president stood up and asked Evie and me if we'd come up to the 
podium, which of course we did. Evie had spilled some strawberries 
on her dress and was mortified, but those things are magnified out 
of proportion. He publicly thanked our company and me for staying 
with the team when all the other sponsors had abandoned them, which 
was very nice. 

I said, "Mr. President, that's wonderful, but we have eight 
employees here, and they're really more responsible than I am for 
all of this. I wish you'd acknowledge them." He says, "Invite them 



153 

up." I said, "I can't do that." He said, "Well, I will." So, he 
went to the microphone, and he actually invited the other Levi 
employees that were there to come forward. Here were eight folks 
from little southwestern towns, who maybe had never been in an 
airplane, certainly never been to the White House, up there having 
their picture taken with the president. It was a pretty wonderful, 
exciting moment. 

Lage: Well, that's a wonderful story. 

Haas: In '84 I went down to Los Angeles for the Olympics, and we had a 
hard time because we only had a limited number of tickets for 
directors and customers and everybody else. That was very exciting, 
too. But I remember the '80 Olympics far better. 

Lage: The "80 non-Olympics. Not really an Olympics. 

Haas: Oh, yes. Non-Olympics. I know among the questions you have for me 
[on the interview outline] is the Cambodia Crisis Committee. That 
occurred because of this Olympics connection. Through this period 
of sitting in the presidential box at Lincoln Center and other 
festivities, we got fairly friendly with President and Mrs. Carter 
[Rosalynn Carter] . She was heading up an effort of Cambodian 
relief. She had Ted Hesburgh [Rev. Theodore Martin Hesburgh] , 
president of Notre Dame, who was a public representative, and I 
think it was [Lane] Kirkpatrick for labor. She was looking for a 
representative to represent corporate America on this committee and 
asked me. It all started because of these Carter connections in 
1980. 

It was a fund raising effort. I don't think it was 
particularly well known or particularly successful. But it all 
arose because of our involvement in the non-Olympics. 



A Political Maverick, with Minimal Political Involvement 



Lage: I remember you told me you were a Republican. Now, here you are 
consorting with these Democratic presidents. 

Haas: Well, I know them better than I know the Republican presidents, and 
I don't know anyone in the current administration. I'm kind of a 
maverick. I vote for the individual, but that's another story. 

Lage: I recall reading that you headed up some support for Lyndon Johnson. 



154 

Haas: No, I was appointed by Lyndon Johnson in the National Alliance of 
Businessmen. 

Lage: But you weren't ? 

Haas: But I was never involved. No, I never- -people often wondered or 

asked why I didn't get involved in politics. Well, there are just 
so many things you can do. My father was very interested in 
politics, and I felt he got kind of short shrift from the 
Republicans for all the work he did. It's not a matter of great 
interest to me so I spent my energies elsewhere. 

Lage: And in local politics? Did you get involved at all? 

Haas: No. Occasionally, we'll support an individual or a proposition. 
But that's a very secondary interest. 

Lage: Even when the answer is "no", it's important to get these questions 
in the record. 



Haas Speeches: Humanizing the Work Force. Computerizing the Process 



Lage: I don't know if you even remember this, but I was intrigued by this 
copy of a speech you made in 1973 "Humanizing the Work Scene." Is 
this something you remember? 

Haas: No. 

Lage: It reminds me of some of the things I've read that Bob seems to be 
interested in now. 

Haas: I don't remember this, but I do remember giving a lot of speeches, 
and I normally try to write the heart of the speech myself because 
I'm not comfortable using other people's words, even though my words 
are not always as articulate as I would like them to be. But I do 
remember giving quite a number of these speeches on ethics and 
humanizing the work force and so forth, and working hard on them, 
and feeling very frustrated that they filled a gap but they didn't 
accomplish very much. 

Lage: Well, this seemed to be a whole conference on the subject. You talk 
about flex time and job enrichment, and you imply that the top level 
management can be interested in some of these new approaches, but 
you have trouble with middle management being less supportive. 

Haas: You know, I don't remember this one at all. 



155 

Lage: Okay. I just thought I'd bring it up and see if it brought back any 
memories. 

Haas: No, but I do recall one speech that I was very pleased with. I 

think I gave it to our sales force in Arizona or New Mexico about 
the sales rep of the future and the relationship with retailing. It 
was long before we had computers developed to any degree of 
sophistication, and I think I was able to anticipate the kind of 
service we could give by tying computers together, which seemed like 
I'd been smoking marijuana, but it was pretty prophetic, and I was 
very proud of it. As a matter of fact, I read it almost ten years 
later. 

Lage: And you felt like you had seen it happen? 
Haas: Yes, yes. 



156 



VIII CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY 
[Interview 7: November 3, 1994] ## 
A Tradition at Lev! Strauss & Co. 



Lage: Now, I think we should, if you're ready, get into the topic of 
corporate social responsibility. 

Haas: All right. Let me just begin with a little background. The leaders 
of Levi Strauss & Co. have always felt responsible to be good 
corporate citizens starting with Levi Strauss himself, who gave 
scholarships to the University of California for their students. 
And then Milton Grunbaum and my grandfather with bonuses for the 
employees, if you recall. Following that, my father and uncle 
insisted that the company be responsible in all the communities in 
which we operated, in a variety of ways as the company started to 
grow. Peter and I consciously sought to strengthen and enhance 
these policies through the years. 

Lage: There are the two threads, treating your employees well and then 
there's also the responsibility to the broader community. 

Haas: Exactly. All the stakeholderswhether it was customers, 

communities in which we had operations, employees, suppliers, 
everybody connected with the businesswe have to have a good 
relationship with. Being a good corporate citizen involves 
recognizing the needs of all your constituencies, and almost 
equally. You obviously have to make money to continue, but you 
can't make money at the expense of, at the sacrifice of, employees 
or any of these other entities that are important. 

Lage: It started as kind of a family feeling, the family ethic. 
Haas: I think so. I think it did. 



157 



Working towards Year-round Employment in Lev! Strauss & Co. 
Factories; An Early Decision 



Lage: And then how did it get institutionalized in the company? That's a 
key thing. 

Haas: Well, we did it. I guess we really did it. And Bob's carrying it 
on even to a greater extent. I think our first- -Peter and my first 
--move in this regard was a little different. We are in a seasonal 
business, or we were. Basically our product was Levi's jeans, and 
they didn't sell very well in the winter, and they sold very well 
through vacation, summer, back-to-school time. It was customary for 
companies like ours to lay off employees in the winter and then hire 
and train them for the busy season. 

We decided that we would take a risk and come as close to 
regular employment throughout the year, building up inventory in the 
off season on the hope that we could sell it in the selling period. 
And that was risky, because although the style risk seemed rather 
minimal, certainly the cost could change very substantially if the 
price of cotton went up or down, or the price of denim went up or 
down, or the economy rose or fell. So that was not a casual or 
foolproof decision. But I think that was one of the early ones. We 
decided-- 

Lage: Do you remember around the time period? Would that have been in the 
forties or early fifties? 

Haas: Yes, it must have been then. It was one of our earlier decisions. 
Lage: And that was in consideration of employee welfare? 

Haas: Well, we felt that we were responsible for the livelihood of X- 
thousand people. Maybe we had one thousand or two thousand 
employees, and they probably had a family of three or four. So, we 
felt a responsibility to, oh, six or eight thousand people to see 
that they were fed and clothed and had a decent life. That was the 
basis for that decision and others that followed. 



The National Alliance of Businessmen. 1960s; A Crossroads 



Haas: So we had this conviction, and we were working at it. But the real 
change in my thinking in my life came when I was appointed to the 
National Alliance of Businessmen. That was a springboard of a lot 
of things that we undertook in subsequent years. 



158 

Lage: And some of the institutionalization. 

Haas: Exactly. The National Alliance of Businessmen was formed by 

President Johnson to provide jobs for 500,000 hard-core unemployed. 
That meant people who had been in jail, most of them minorities, who 
had trouble keeping a job, didn't have the proper education, and so 
forth and so on. It operated just like a Community Chest campaign. 
There were nine regions and nine executives on the executive board. 
I was appointed western regional director. My job was, within one 
week, to get nine city chairman from the major cities in my region, 
which was the biggest region geographically. 

Lage: One week. 

Haas: One week. I was to report back to the White House. And you learn 
you can do those things. 

Lage: Where did you go for these nine city chairmen? 

Haas: Well, there was input from the White House, of course. But on the 
West Coast, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, we had business 
connections, and I tried to think of individuals who had influence 
in the community and who would also be receptive to this. Then, 
each region was assigned a percentage of the 500,000, just like 
Community Chest. Then, within the region, we assigned it to the 
nine cities and that was the goal, to approach the major businesses 
and persuade them to undertake the hiring and training of so many 
people. 

Basically, that was the program. It was a wonderful program. 
It was the first time, to my knowledge, that business and government 
and labor worked together on a national project. 

Lage: And how was the reaction of the business community? Did you find 
them cooperative? 

Haas: Well, it was interesting because here's a Democratic president. But 
he persuaded everybody there was a big need. We had meetings and 

Lage: Did you have to do some arm twisting on your own? 

Haas: Oh, of course. The idea was to indicate that it was good for the 
country, good for the community, to rehabilitate these people. By 
gosh, we did it. It was very rewarding. 

As a footnote, subsequently, when Nixon took it on, it became a 
numbers game. The excitement, enthusiasm, the crusading feeling 
changed, and I felt I'd done my bit and retired from it. 



159 

Lage: Was there a different national chairman of it when Nixon came on? 
Was that a factor? 

Haas: Oh, yes. Don Kendall replaced Henry Ford when Nixon became 

president. Henry Ford was the chairman under President Johnson, and 
Paul Austin at Coca Cola was the vice chairman. When Don Kendall of 
Pepsi-Cola came on, it was a different approach. 

Lage: When you say it became a numbers game, what do you mean by that? 
Was the idealism sort of dropped? 

Haas: Well, you just had to fulfill your quota. It didn't matter how, 
exactly. I don't want to get into that so much. It was just a 
different feeling. It wasn't that feeling of crusading but a 
feeling of fulfilling quotas, I guess, regardless of whether they 
were well-designed programs. 

Lage: Was Henry Ford a good person to work with? Had you worked with him 
previously? 

Haas: Yes, I'd been on the Ford Foundation, and I always had high regard 
for Henry. He was a very frank and outspoken guy with good ideas. 
I followed his development of the Ford Motor Company very carefully 
when he brought in the Whiz Kids, among them my friends Bob McNamara 
and Arjay Miller, who has become a great friend since then. I know 
Henry's considered, at times, a playboy, and he had problems in 
college, but he proved to be a fine executive and industrial leader 
in both the Ford Foundation and in the National Alliance. I was 
very impressed. 

Lage: Would you have anything to say about the other people you brought on 
board out here in the West? Were there any particular--? 

Haas: They were good, they were all good. We researched them in that 
short period of time. 

Lage: Did you have to kind of stay on top of them? 

Haas: Oh, yes. I had a small staff here headed by Hersch Goldberg. Have 
I ever mentioned Herschel Goldberg? 

Lage: You've mentioned him but not in detail. 

Haas: Hersch was an admiral in the navy, which by itself is something of 
an accomplishment for a Jewish individual, I think. I remember 
going to interview him in his office with a big flag. His office 
was a heck of a lot bigger than mine. I was rather intimidated by 
high ranking military officers from my experience in the service. 



160 

We hit it off right away, and I hired Hersch. He was one of the 
superstars of our company till he retired. 

Lage: Was he just retiring from the navy when you went to interview him? 

Haas: Yes. I don't remember how I got his name, but I think he was 
retiring from the service. 

Lage: And did you hire him for the National Alliance of Businessmen 
program? 

Haas: Hersch first came to Levi Strauss as a special assistant to me and 

did a variety of jobs. He made special studies and spent quite some 
time initially in inventory management, which was a problem area for 
us, and he did some work in community affairs, which was really in 
an embryonic stage at that time. But his big contribution came in 
our work with the National Alliance of Businessmen; he took over 
that operation with a small staff. He was ideal for the job and I 
really believe we were recognized as the best region in NAB. When 
Hersch moved into that position, Tom Harris took over the work in 
community affairs. 

Lage: It would be interesting to know how his experience as admiral 
translated in this new work. 

Haas: He was, of course, an excellent administrator, very good with 

people, well liked by everybody. It's nice to bring somebody in 
from the outside who immediately is respected and appreciated. 
Hersch was one of those. He became a--not a special assistant to me 
because I've never had that, but a special advisor. When I had 
problems of any kind, he's the one I would think of to go to. Even 
though he was new in the company, he's just a wonderful man with 
good judgement and values. 

Anyway, Hirsch had a couple of other people with him on the 
staff. They did the leg work and the statistical analysis and 
determined the need to go here and there. I remember going down to 
San Diego to get the fellow, I think his name was Andrews, who was 
head of PSA [Pacific Southwest Airlines]. In those days, part of 
PSA's merchandising or marketing technique was to have really pretty 
hostesses on the planes. 

Lage: I remember that. 

Haas: I had never met this fellow Andrews before, and I went in at eight 
in the morning to see him, and he said, "Sit down and have a cup of 
coffee. I'm exhausted." I said, "Why?" He said, "Well, I've got 
to choose the uniform for our girls' basketball team, and I had a 
group of our stewardesses in modeling, and I really need to catch my 



161 

breath." [laughter] So, forgive the chauvinism, but it was kind of 
a fun way to meet a nice guy who did a good job. 

Lage: Now, what about the NAB program at Levi Strauss? You actually hired 
a lot of the hard-core unemployed yourself, as part of the program. 

Haas: Yes, we did. But before we get to that, the important thing about 
the National Alliance of Businessmen, what I learned from the NAB 
experience, was that business could do a lot of things that I had 
thought government should be doing. 

That was key. There were so many different innovative ways of 
training. I don't remember them all, but I do know that one 
company, from I think down the Peninsula, would get a bus to bring 
people from, let's say, Hunters Point. During the bus ride they'd 
teach English or grammar or work habits or whatever, because a lot 
of the employees had no discipline, no experience, no work 
experience. I really learned that business can do a lot. 

Lage: So, this was an educating experience for yourself. 

Haas: This was, as I say, kind of a crossroads in my thinking about what 
Levi's could do that it had never done before. I remember we had a 
little typing pool of mostly women who had never typed. But you had 
to lower your qualifications for people who had never had enough 
experience to do certain things. And you found you could do it, and 
they could do it. 

Lage: Then you had to train. 

Haas: Then we had to train them, and then they became productive members 

of the work force. So, that was the eye-opening experience that, as 
I say, got my good intentions, perhaps, to a more practical point. 



Community Involvement Teams 



Lage: Somehow this works into setting up the Community Affairs Department. 
Is that correct? 

Haas: Yes. When I resigned from the National Alliance of Businessmen, we 
had at Levi's a good staff, a small staff, of dedicated people. I 
didn't want to let them go. It took us a year or so to try to find 
out what we might do with them. I believe it was Tom Harris along 
with Paul Glasgow who came up with the idea of community involvement 
teams, CIT. That was almost the best thing we did in our company. 



162 

Lage: That seems to be a new idea. 

Haas: It was a new idea, and unfortunately it's still a rather unique 

idea. But the idea of CIT was to have volunteers in various plant 
locations form a team to determine what the needs were in that 
community and try to solve it. Whether it was new equipment for a 
hospital, or turkeys for the old people's home, or a playground for 
the local ball club. I can't think of them all. Some of them were 
very, very innovative. 

Lage: And these were your own employees. 

Haas: Our own employees would band together and determine the needs in the 
community and then try to raise the money. They have everything 
from throwing pie at the manager's face to auctioning things off. 
We finally set up a very effective system whereby if they had shown 
a certain amount of effort and needed more money, they could apply 
to the headquarters, to the Levi Strauss Foundation. They 
accomplished so many things which we hadn't anticipated. 



Haas: It did wonders. It made Levi Strauss important in the community in 
a way that major corporations aren't normally thought of. It 
created a tie from our employees in Arkansas, for example, to San 
Francisco. Why would a sewing machine operator in Arkansas have any 
sense of feeling of kinship with the headquarters? But it did. 

Lage: So, in this way, it benefitted the business, it seems. 

Haas: It did. In fact, we were worried at one time that we might have 
some trouble with the unions. But we never did. 

Lage: Now, why would the unions object? 

Haas: Well, my understanding is that most unions don't want anything 
favorable between an employee and the management. 

I really want to explain this feeling I had about the community 
involvement teams, because it's exciting. Whenever I visited a 
plant, I'd tour the plant. I'd visit with the manager. And I'd 
always meet with the CIT team. It was so impressive because being a 
sewing machine operator is hard work. Most of them are the bread 
winners for their family, or are earning money that their families 
couldn't get by without. Yet, on their own time, they volunteer to 
help their neighbors. It was just a very moving experience. 

Lage: Now, were they given any time off, or was anything done by the 
company to give an incentive? 



163 

Haas: Generally, no. Generally it was on their own time. I guess there 
were certain occasions where you'd have a raffle or you'd have a 
company event, picnic. But basically, it was not subsidized through 
time off. The company did, however, pay for a Community Affairs 
Department staff. Part of their job was to travel to our plants to 
help train and develop the teams. 

I remember the first meeting of CIT chairpersons. I went to 
it. Many of the women had never been in an airplane. But they were 
very eloquent, and they were very proud of what they were doing. 
Those are the experiences that make business worthwhile, really 
making a difference in people's lives. 

Lage: They were also choosing what their own communities needed. 

Haas: They would choose as a team. They would choose the projects they 

wanted. I tried to preach to my fellow business executives what a 
great program this was. It didn't take a lot of money. It didn't 
take a lot of time. It just took a lot of dedication like so many 
of these things. If it doesn't work the first time, you don't use 
that as an excuse to give it up. Management has to persevere. 

I've compared the CITs with a mosaic. Each one by itself is 
kind of a small thing, but it's a very sparkling jewel. Put them 
all together and they make a magnificent mosaic. That's the way 
I've always felt about our CITs. They were really very special and 
continue to be. 

We also started them overseas. I never thought that 
volunteerism in a socialistic country, which many of the overseas 
plants are in, would work. But they do. Now we sometimes have 
chairpersons come to a shareholders' meeting and tell what they're 
doing in Scotland or the Philippines or European countries with 
national health care, day care, and pension and welfare programs. 
It's exciting. 

Lage: It must be very rewarding for you. 

Haas: It's wonderful. The programs are very innovative. 



Other Efforts to Contribute to the Community 



Haas: We did a lot of other things. We tried several ways of providing 

employment. In Oakland, we tried to start a small factory, figuring 
that if we bought their products, they could manufacture them. As I 



164 

recall, they were making tablecloths and purses and other little 
kind of souvenirs with the Levi's logo. 

Lage: What was the company's involvement? 

Haas: We organized the plant, and we provided the employment, and we 
provided a guaranteed market. It didn't work. 

Another major undertaking was to try to help some minority- 
owned retail stores. We even hired Lonnie Poindexter, I remember, 
who was a wonderful young man with retail experience, to give them 
technical assistance and help in every way. We would buy their 
products, and we extended them a year's credit because credit was a 
problem. That was a mistake. It sounded like a good idea but it 
just postponed the inevitable day of reckoning when they had to pay. 

We discovered how very difficult it is for a small minority 
entrepreneur to get going. They usually don't have a very good 
location. They have a hard time getting insurance. They have a 
hard time getting the kind of merchandise they need. It's a 
struggle. After two or three years, we had to abandon that. Lonnie 
stayed with us, of course, as an expert on retailing. 

Lage: It didn't work as well as your employment jobs through Levi's, it 
sounds like. 

Haas: No, it didn't. We just thought this was a way of going into a poor 
community and providing some employment and giving the economy a 
little boost. 

Then our next attempt, we thought, was really good. We 
established a sewing factory. We consciously searched the United 
States to find an area which had the lowest per capita income of 
any. It was in Eutaw, Alabama. They had nothing. We provided a 
black manager. We provided a contract. We provided all the 
assistance they needed to get the right quality control. 

We struggled and struggled and struggled with that one because 
the people in that community had not been used to employment, didn't 
have good work habits. Being on time meant nothing to them. Then 
after they got the first paycheck, they may not show up for a few 
days until they needed some more money. 

We did everything we could. We learned a lot. But some of 
these well meaning programs just didn't work out. So we eventually 
sold the plant to the community for a dollar, I think, with all the 
equipment. They got some government contracts so we didn't abandon 
them. But it was not a success. 



165 

I think the key point in these efforts is what I have mentioned 
before. If you fail once or twice, you've got to keep trying. I 
believe that a lot of corporations are reasonably well meaning, and 
they'll undertake something that's a little costly and off the 
regular course of their business. But if it fails, it's a good 
excuse to throw in the towel and not bother with it . 

Lage: And if they are insulated from the problems of poor people who have 
never really been in the job market, then they have no 
understanding . 

Haas : That ' s right . They have none . 
Lage: You have some more notes there. 



Corporate Support for Corporate Responsibility 



Haas: I wanted to mention one thing. I've tried to work with Milton 
Moskowitz, who is a reporter who has done a lot of writing on 
corporate social responsibility. He always thought very highly of 
Levi's. I thought it'd be kind of fun to get an index fund of 
stocks of those corporations that were socially responsible and 
those that weren't, to see who did better. Unfortunately, what I 
hoped would happen didn't happen, at least in the short period that 
we valued it. The stocks of the hard-nosed corporations did better. 

Lage: Of course, there are a lot of other factors. 

Haas: Of course there are. This was at a time when universities were 

looking at their portfolios about South Africa and so forth and so 
on. But I remember when there was a big battle at Berkeley about 
their investments. I suggested that they have two sets of 
investments. One "socially responsible" and others strictly for 
investment purposes and let the employees choose, because they were 
the ones whose pension fund that was involved. I couldn't get it 
off the ground, but I thought that would be a pretty good solution 
to the real battle they were having about whether or not to include 
"irresponsible" companies in their portfolio. 

Lage: Well, they now do offer the Calvert firm, which is a socially 

responsible fund, to the employees. You mentioned at some point I 
was supposed to ask you about the UC business school survey of Bay 
Area businesses. 

Haas: Oh, yes. I thought it would be interesting to find out what was 

happening in our Bay Area corporations. The first guy I hired was 



166 

Leo Beebe. Leo Beebe had been the moving force in the National 
Alliance of Businessmen. He was a vice president of Ford, and Henry 
just got him set aside to run the show, and he did a heck of a job. 
He came out here, though, and I don't think he got a feel for the 
Bay Area or whatever it was. After a year I didn't think that we 
had learned what I had hoped to find out. 

So I commissioned the business school at Cal to make the same 
kind of study of what various corporations were doing in community 
affairs. Summarizing the results, I must say I was very 
disappointed. Most corporations felt they were doing their share. 
What they were doing was far less, of course, than I thought was 
their fair share of the kind of things we do. 

There are different types of employers. Down in the Silicon 
Valley, they're new. They're trying to make money, leaving out 
Hewlett-Packard, which is outstanding. 

Lage: Outstanding in corporate responsibility? 

Haas: Yes. But most of them didn't have any feel. The major corporations 
in the Bay Area are associated with philanthropy and are giving 
their X percent. It gets complicated because of defining what is 
included in philanthropy, or the charitable budget; does it include 
dues to the Chamber of Commerce and so forth and so on? So, it was 
an interesting study. But again, disappointing. I was trying to 
find a key to stimulating more interest, and I've not been able to. 

Lage: There's no forum for businesses with this interest, or to engage 
their interest? 

Haas: No, we've always tried to work through business associations, 

through national associations. Then we ended up just feeling that 
the only way to have an influence was to do it yourself and by 
example, perhaps, persuade others that it makes sense. You can't do 
it through public relations, and I must say that I think our 
reputation internationally now is as a progressive company. That 
certainly helps us. But I don't know how much influence we've had 
on others . 

Speaking of influence, I used to give speeches, many of them on 
the topic of the social responsibility of business, and you've seen 
copies of many of them. I worked hard at it. I'm not one that can 
have someone write a speech for me. I really spend a lot of time 
and effort. People would always say, wonderful, great. We agree 
with you. But I had a feeling that they had no impact. So, one 
time, when I was called by a small group of accountants in the Bay 
Area to address their annual meeting, I said, "But this time I'm 
going to charge a fee." Of course, it took them aback a little bit. 



167 

They said, "What do you mean a fee?" I said, "Well, I'm going to 
charge you a fee. It takes a lot of work on my part and a lot of 
time, and I don't know that I want to do it without being paid 
back." They said, "Well, what is your fee?" I said, "I just want, 
at the end of my talk, for everyone there to promise that some point 
that I have made will be a subject of discussion between them and 
their employer or them and their fellow employees around a coffee 
table the next day." 

Well, of course, they jumped at that. I gave my speech and 
told what my fee was going to be. Everybody said what a great talk 
it was. I never heard of one discussion afterwards. It was very 
discouraging. 

Lage: They didn't report back? 

Haas: No. It's very disappointing that the message seems to be ignored. 
Maybe I'm not inspirational enough, but I don't think that's it. 



Profit and Loss Statement on Social Responsibility 



Haas: I thought it would be good to try to have an annual profit and loss 
statement on social responsibility. Does it pay? Because people 
would always ask, "Why do you do this? Where does it get you?" And 
you can't come up with a measure. You can't come up with a measure 
of how this results in improvement of the bottom line. On the other 
hand, I think there's a huge plus for the bottom line, because I am 
convinced that a corporation that really, sincerely believes in the 
philosophy that I'm trying to explain attracts the best people. 

There was a long period of time when a lot of good young people 
did not want to come into business. The key to any institution is 
the quality of the people. I mentioned our management, how 
outstanding it is. It's not just management. We have dedicated 
employees. I am absolutely convinced that our success has been 
because of the good people who make the decisions and provide good 
leadership. Also, I firmly believe that the future is very bright, 
for this very reason. 

Lage: It's hard to quantify these things. 

Haas: It's very hard to, but we're a corporation with a conscience. 

There's a great satisfaction in whatever accomplishments there are 
when you know they've been done in a way that helps people, doesn't 
hurt people. I think that's what Levi's stands for. 



168 

Lage: Have you done any study comparing retention figures of employees or 
things like that? I mean, there are so many factors that come in to 
it. 

Haas: I haven't, and there are many factors. It has to have an influence, 
although the spirit today is different than it was twenty years ago 
when I was so involved. There is more turnover, and there's less 
loyalty. But, as I mentioned earlier, when we went public and 
people became so wealthy, they stayed with the company. We've lost 
some good people but not a lot. 



Women in Management 



Lage: I know that Levi Strauss & Co. over the years has made an effort to 
promote women. As early as 1972, there seems to have been an effort 
to move women up in management [Time, March 20, 1972]. 

Haas: Well, yes, this is another area where we tried, and were not that 

effective. We're still trying, and we're still not that effective. 
It has meant a very conscious effort on the part of management for 
the last twenty years. In a business like this, well, we made great 
strides because obviously it's marketing, merchandising. There are 
a lot of areas where women, if anything, might be even better, 
generally speaking, than men. We don't consciously have a glass 
ceiling, but I have sensed that many of our employees must think we 
do. We have Donna Goya, who is a vice president. We have a good 
inventory, if I can call it that, in the wings. In any promotion, 
this is a very, very careful consideration. 

Lage: Well, I was quite surprised at the Time magazine article in 1972: 
"The chiefs of all the company's manufacturing divisions are under 
orders to appoint women to the next two management posts that open 
up." 

Haas: Well, we tried various methods, but I don't know that it did much 
good. 

Lage: Well, surely, it must be better than it was in 1971. 
Haas: Oh, it's much, much better, yes. 



169 
The Haas Competition at UC Berkeley 



Haas: What else can I mention in connection with corporate social 
responsibility? We have several programs involving the 
universities. We support both Cal and Stanford business schools, 
with various programs including the Haas Competition, an annual 
competition at the business school in Berkeley. The students choose 
a topic of importance, and then I believe they have thirty or forty 
or fifty students who prepare initial presentations. There's a 
committee to weed them out and then on a certain day, there's a 
final competition right here at Levi Strauss, and we have three 
students, each giving their views on whatever topic was chosen. 
They're very interesting topics. 1 

Lage: Now, is this related to thinking about social responsibility, or any 
business topic? 

Haas: Well, they choose a different topic each year, and the questions 
generally have an element of social responsibility in them. The 
idea is to stimulate students to thinking in these terms. I think 
it's worked well. 

Lage: Would you have anything to say on the company policy towards AIDS or 
is that mainly after your time? 

Haas: That's Bob. That's after me. I'd say that our trademark was 
affirmative action, equal opportunity, and Bob's is AIDS. 



A Corporation with a Conscience 



Haas: I think we've probably covered everything. Let me just take a 

minute to sum up. I said we're a corporation with a conscience. 
That's very rewarding. I think just making money is a hollow 
objective. I have tremendous pride in our products and our people 
and our policies. It's going to be nice to look back and not just 
see the wonderful growth- -and I can't emphasize how incredible, how 
unusual that was. But it's nice to feel that I had some role in the 
success of making this an international company that's recognized 
for its integrity and its concern and its policies. 

And I guess the only other thing I would say is that if you 
really want to make it work, the CEO has to have a fire in his 



'See Appendix E for Haas Competition topics. 



170 

belly. He's got to really want to make it work and be willing to 
overcome obstacles. It's not just PR. It's the right thing to do. 

One more thought. That has to do with the National Alliance of 
Businessmen. When I was appointed by President Johnson, I really 
stood tall in the saddle with my children. That was important 
because this is recognition, national recognition by the president 
of the United States, of the accomplishments of Levi Strauss & Co., 
for which I was greatly responsible. It was in an area that young 
people were concerned about, and our children were very pleased that 
we were recognized as leaders. That was a wonderful experience for 
me. 

Lage: That's great. It sounds like you were also open to listening and 
learning from your children. 

Haas: Oh, I learned a lot from my children. They influenced me in a lot 
of decisions, particularly in the business area and particularly 
being open to what was happening around the company and in society 
and trying to be knowledgeable and understanding and responsive. 



171 



IX PUBLIC SERVICE: ON CORPORATE AND FOUNDATION BOARDS, GOVERNMENT 
ASSIGNMENTS, COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS 



A Limited Role for Outside Directors on Corporate Boards 



Lage: You very briefly mentioned being an outside director of other 
companies during our discussion of how you ran your board of 
directors. Is there more to say about those experiences? 

Haas: Well, I think it's rather interesting because it relates to my 

contention of having to have someone with a marketing background to 
run a consumer products company. It's strange that on the three 
major boards I served, the companies are all regulated. Bank of 
America, United Airlines, as a public carrier, and Pacific 
Telephone. [Mr. Haas served on the Bank of America board 1959-1986; 
BankAmerica Corporation, 1968-1971 and 1978-1986; United Airlines, 
1979-1987; Pacific Telephone, 1956-1979.] 

I remember that I tried very hard to get the management to look 
at their businesses with a marketing perspective. As they became 
deregulated or the regulation became less stringent and they had to 
become competitive, I felt that they basically didn't think along 
the right lines, and they didn't have the right personnel to enter 
the competitive age. 

Lage: They didn't have a marketing outlook because they had been 
regulated? 

Haas: No. They were protected. Their prices were set so one major 
element in marketing strategy was rigid and restricted. 

In those days, it was quite an honor to be on a board. I 
probably turned down half a dozen because there just isn't time, 
although I think those experiences were helpful to me, too. You 
make interesting connections in the business world, which I think 
are important. You see how others do business, and they kind of 



172 

confirmed that I thought we were doing it better. They were very 
interesting boards. I guess the strangest thing in my board service 
was that in two of the three companies, we ended up firing the 
president, which is most unusual. 

Lage: So those boards really did take an active role in management. 

Haas: They did. Yes. That's another whole topic; I could write a book on 
this one and I don't even get started. 

Lage: Now, give me your thesis. You don't have to write the whole book. 
Haas: Yes, well, at least going back to that time in history-- 
Lage: When are we talking about, the eighties? 

Haas: Seventies, early eighties. I'm not so sure that the board of 

directors is the right way to govern a company. It looks like you 
have outside, independent, experienced advisors. But there wasn't 
much diversification at that time. It was usually the crony 
appointed by the president. So there wasn't much questioning of 
management policies or activities. 

Lage: And your information comes from the company. 

Haas: Yes, it does. So you really--! don't know a better way of doing it, 
but I do think the way the boards are held responsible today is far 
superior. 

Lage: The board of directors has more responsibility now? 

Haas: Yes. In those days it was considered an honor. Today, I don't know 
if I would accept a board directorship. One board I was sorry I 
didn't accept was in the publishing business. I've often thought 
that, if I had had another career, that publishing a major newspaper 
would be fascinating because you'd be in close touch with all the 
things going on in the world as events unfolded. 



The Board Of Directors' Role in Managerial Changes; Bank of America 
and United Airlines 



Lage: Would you have any observations about the board's role in firing 

these top executives? Was this Bank of America we're talking about? 

Haas: It was Bank of America, and the other was United Airlines. 



173 

Lage: Did somebody sort of engineer it? 

Haas: No, it doesn't--you keep asking for a specific point in time, but it 
just happens, it develops. I don't know exactly what happens, but I 
think basically, in both cases, the CEO lost contact with the board, 
didn't take advantage of the board, didn't take the board into his 
confidence. 

Lage: Treated you like figureheads, perhaps? 

Haas: Yes, and in the end it turned out to be a downfall, because you'd 
hear rumblings from staff or you'd question things, and they 

wouldn't be resolved to your satisfaction. In one case, two other 

directors and myself had a private meeting with the CEO, and it was 

not very friendly or successful. We kept trying to convince him 

that we were trying to be helpful. He kept thinking we were trying 
to undermine his position. Anyway, it was not pleasant. 

Lage: I can imagine. 

Haas: No. So, it's quite unusual that I'd have regulated companies and 
two CEOs who were invited to seek other employment. 

Lage: Was it a time-consuming activity to be on a board? 

Haas: Not as much as it should have been. I don't think any of us really 
applied himself to the extent they should have to, to learn the 
business properly. 

Lage: It seems that it'd be a major commitment to really learn a business 
like Bank of America. 

Haas: Yes, it's so different from apparel. Anyway, I made wonderful 

friends and interesting contacts. You have access to their economic 
research; there are a lot of advantages. 

f* 

Lage: Did you bring some of this experience back to your leadership in 
Levi Strauss & Co.? 

Haas: Oh, yes. For instance, the telephone company had some figure on the 
number of new telephones installed. Based on that figure, they 
would make economic forecasts for the state of California. I don't 
remember the details, but I thought that it was a pretty good index. 
It turned out to be quite accurate. So, those are little things you 
pick up. 



174 



Lage: Anything else you want to say about being an outside director on 
corporate boards? 

Haas: Well, I don't think so. On the telephone company board, at one 

point I was the youngest director in age and the longest in time of 
service. They got me very early on. 



Evaluating Foreign Aid Projects in Brazil and Mexico 



Lage: Let's turn now to some of your public service, first at the national 
level. One that you mentioned as being particularly interesting 
was representing the Agency for International Development [AID] to 
evaluate their projects in Brazil in 1967. 

Haas: Yes, I was asked to go down to evaluate our international foreign 
aid in Brazil. 

Lage: Who asked you? 

Haas: I guess the secretary of commerce, probably. I don't remember, 
somebody in the government . I always was flattered when I was 
invited to do something by the government --this was a learning 
experience. I was very naive. I went where they took me. I 
believed what they showed me, and I really didn't find out. Then we 
went up to Recife in northern Brazil. It was so poor, and I got the 
impression that the AID money was not trickling down to where it was 
supposed to go. My frustrations were confirmed because Kay Graham 
of the Washington Post gave me some introductions so I was able to 
go around the government appointments. That's when I found out that 
I was just being fed a bunch of propaganda to confirm that the aid 
was a good thing and so forth. 

Lage: It makes you feel like sort of a figurehead. 

Haas: Yes. I had another AID project, I guess, in Mexico, where I went to 
try to give some technical advice on their apparel industry. Again, 
I'm oversimplifying, but it seemed to me they would send people to 
America to learn our mass production methods, which are very 
efficient. Then they'd start cranking out pants without any regard 
for the demand for the pants. They made them much cheaper than they 
ever made them before but maybe had the wrong style, or the wrong 
color, and inventories were just piling up. 



So as an advisor to the government on AID I think I got a low 
mark. 



175 



Lage: [laughter] Well, I'm not sure you should take the whole 
responsibility for the AID programs. 



The Trilateral Commission. 1980-1988 



Lage: Tell me about the Trilateral Commission. 

Haas: Oh, that's an interesting one. That's a big prestigious baby of 
David Rockefeller. 

Lage: And what's it all about? 

Haas: Well, it's been described as anything from a group that controls the 
destiny of the world to a bunch of communists. 

Lage: So, if you're on the far right you think they're a bunch of 

communists, and if you're on the far left you think they're devious 
capitalists. 

Haas : That ' s a group where the membership is very important to me because 
it's made up of leading business people from Europe, the United 
States, and Japanthat ' s the trilateralin an attempt to promote 
capitalism and economic systems. They meet as a group once a year 
in some capital around the world. The trips were marvelous and 
produced interesting associations with political and economic 
leaders of various countries. Actually, my son Bob is on it now. 

Lage: What do they ask of you as a member of the commission? I mean, are 
you supposed to go home and do something? 

Haas: No. I don't think so. They ask a lot of the members that are very 
distinguished people to write a paper on some subject of world 
interest. Then they're presented, and there are discussions, which 
may not always be interestingdespite the fact that here are the 
best minds in the world tackling important problems. Still, the 
Trilateral Commission was one which I really enjoyed, mostly because 
of the contacts and friendships that I made. It does make a 
difference if you have the kind of connection where you can go to 
almost any country in the world and have access to a leading 
economist or businessman, if there's need for it. 

Lage: As an international company, you must have come home with ideas that 
you could apply. 



176 

Haas: Oh, I did. It was a good experience. Paul Volcker took David's 
place. I think Bob's on the executive committee now, and Bob is 
brilliant and a scholar, and he really gets involved. 

Lage: Did the experience on the commission change any of your ideas, or 
your views, or your way of operating, or just sort of broaden the 
scope? 

Haas: It was an enjoyable, worthwhile experience. 



Presidential Task Force on International Development, 1969-1970 

Lage: We're just finishing up an interview with Rudolph Peterson. 1 
Haas: Oh, good. Tell him hello. 

Lage: I shall. He's celebrating his ninetieth birthday soon. Mr. 

Peterson talks about the Presidential Task Force on International 
Development in his oral history. He chaired it and you were a 
member. You have a photograph here. 

Haas: That's it right there. There's Rudy and Nixon, Bill Hewitt, myself, 
and Bill Casey, who later was the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] 
director. And there is Will [William P.] Rogers [secretary of 
state, 1969-1973]. Yes, that's it. 

Lage: And this was during the Nixon administration. Mr. Peterson said 
there were seven months of meetings. It sounded very intense. 

Haas: It was, and we had some pretty interesting and important people. I 
didn't--! will say that I've been a member of a number of government 
task forces, and I'm pretty cynical, as you know. In most cases, we 
worked for several months and crossed the country once or twice a 
month for the meetings. In the meanwhile, they sent us papers we'd 
study and comment on. And in most cases, we would present them to 
the president and nothing would be heard subsequently. But Nixon 
adopted this; he approved what we recommended, but I don't think 
anything happened there either. I don't know what Rudy says but I 
don't think there was any real accomplishment. [U.S. Foreign 



1 Rudolph A. Peterson, A Career in International Banking with the 
Bank of America, 1936-1970, and the United Nations Development Program, 
1971-1975, Regional Oral History Office, University of California, 
Berkeley, 1994. 



177 

Assistance in the 1970s: A New Approach, Report to the President 
from the Task Force on International Development, March 4, 1970.] 

Lage: So you don't put a lot of stock in these commissions, it seems. 

Haas: Well, it was fun being on them, I must say. I enjoyed the 
experience and I enjoyed the people and I enjoyed learning. 

Lage: At least it informs you. 

Haas: I was very well informed, but I don't know really how effective they 
were. 

Lage: If they really affect public policy. Well, that in itself is of 
interest, I think. For someone who's been involved in all this, 
it's important to know your take on it. 



The Ford Foundation Board; Choosing a New President for the 
Foundation 

Lage: Let's move to the Ford Foundation. We mentioned it in passing but 
not in any great depth. 

Haas: The Ford Foundation was one of my great experiences [trustee, 1970- 
1982]. It's a magnificent organization. It had a superior series 
of trustees. Here's another one that Bob's on now and enjoying, I 
think. I learned probably as much from that as I did in any other 
outside activity because they're involved internationally, and 
they're involved domestically, in all of the country's problems. 

It's so big and so diverse that it took me a couple of years to 
get a feel for what my role would be and what we were trying to do. 
I remember I felt that we were trying to do more than we had the 
capacity to do. 

The president was McGeorge Bundy. Probably the most vocal and 
influential trustee was Bob McNamara. They had served in the 
Kennedy administration together, and they both had personal contacts 
all over the world with leaders in all these countries. They pretty 
much pushed the agenda. I think they tried to make it something of 
a junior state department. 

Lage: They turned it in more of an international direction? 

Haas: Well, yes, but more than that- -they were dealing with macro 

subjects. Those get beyond my capacity to get my arms around. I 



178 

work more through, on the local level at least, more through 
neighborhood community groups rather than dealing with the big broad 
picture. 

I remember Jim Ellis [James Reed Ellis, Seattle] was a trustee. 
He and I felt exactly the same way. Then there were others in 
between. The reason why I stress it somewhat was that during the 
course of my two terms, McGeorge Bundy's term expired [in 1979], and 
we had to select somebody to take his place. There was quite a 
diversity of opinion among the trustees whether it should be another 
academician or someone with a more practical background. 

One of the joys of participation was some of the trips we took 
to international locations. When we went to India, I remember the 
airport in Calcutta is called the Dum Dum Airport. And the 
accommodations fit the name. A group of us on that trip started 
informally discussing who we would like to have as president. We 
favored Frank [Franklin A.] Thomas, who had headed up the Bedford 
Stuyvesant project [president and CEO, Bedford Stuyvesant 
Restoration Corporation, Brooklyn, 1967-1977]. It was very 
successful and very unique. 

The other leading candidate was the president of a major 
university. He really didn't want the job, but we asked him to come 
and be interviewed, which he did on a very, very confidential basis. 
But the trustees of his university found out that he'd interviewed 
and felt he wasn't sincerely committed to his own university. That 
interview cost him his job. 

Isn't that terrible? But at least we prevailed in the sense 
that Frank Thomas became the president. [Frank has recently 
announced his forthcoming retirement--WAH] 

Lage: Because you saw him as having a more practical background? 

Haas: Yes, he had a nuts and bolts approach, and it was a tremendous 

choice. The foundation has thrived. It has grown. It has invested 
in all kinds of things. It has huge investments and contributions. 
But they're using, I would say, more down-to-earth, practical 
approaches, rather than trying to set up institutions to study 
whatever . 

Lage: Rather than the study group or commission approach that you don't 
see as having a real impact? 

Haas: Yes, I've never been very supportive of that. So, in summary, that 
was, I think, a good contribution because I actually felt that Jim 
and I were able to, with others-- 



179 

Lage: But you were sort of the leaders of this. 

Haas : We were among the early ones to recognize that a different approach 
would be desirable. 

Lage: Now, did this put you on the opposite side from your friend Bob 
McNamara? 

Haas: Yes. It was very hard. 

Lage: Did you have some good discussion? 

Haas: Yes. Well, it's not very easy to have a good discussion with Bob 
because he pretty much overwhelms you. He's a very powerful 
thinker, and he studies these things and is very knowledgeable and 
articulate. He and Margy were good friends from college. They 
always stayed at the River Club when we met in New York. Evie and I 
would go down there the morning of the Ford meeting, and we'd play 
tennis against them. Then Bob and I would walk down to the Ford 
Foundation. That's when we really had some interesting discussions 
about Ford activities, and life, and whatever. 

Lage: Now, is the main job of the trustees to think about policy 

directions, or do they have a kind of a fiduciary role, investments 
and--? 

Haas: Well, there are investments, and there is an audit committee and an 
investment committee. But their job is primarily policy and 
direction. 

Lage: Before we end today, I want to ask you about the National Urban 
League; you were a director. 

Haas: Oh, that was just another one of many, many groups that-- 

Lage: You didn't have an active role? 

Haas: No. I don't know if I went to more than a couple of meetings. 



Launching the Season of Sharing, 1986 
[Interview 9: November 30, 1994] ## 

Lage: Last time we talked about public service on the national level. 

Today we're going to move to the local level. You wanted to start 



180 

with Season of Sharing, which isn't the first chronologically but 
it's timely right now, in this holiday season. 1 

Haas: I think Season of Sharing is probably the most satisfactory of my 

undertakings in many ways because it clearly is a program that would 
really never have taken place if it hadn't been for Ira Hirschfield 
and myself. It truly would not have. 

It started [in 1986]. For some time I'd been noticing the New 
York Times annual campaign around Christmas for the hundred neediest 
families. It appealed to me, and I wondered why it wasn't done in 
other communities. It's not done in too many cities in the country. 
I thought, why not do it here? I didn't know if it would get the 
support of the papers, but it couldn't be done without the support 
of a major paper. We thought we'd go after the [San Francisco] 
Chronicle, which has got the biggest circulation. If they didn't 
take it, we would try to get somebody else. 

Anyway, I got an appointment with Dick Thieriot [Chronicle 
publisher] , whom I knew. Ira and I went over and met with him and 
three or four members of his staff. I think he was being rather 
polite in seeing us because in all fairness, up to that point, the 
Chronicle had never really done much in the community. They weren't 
alone. I don't know any other paper that did. 

I don't know how to describe that strange meeting because we 
told them what we had in mind and-- 

Lage: Did you bring along samples, New York Times samples? 

Haas: I guess so. But basically, we wanted to convince them that they 

were in a unique position to do something really extraordinary for 
the community. They had no idea. Really, they were speaking almost 
a different language. We didn't have very high expectations. But 
after a long and interesting discussion, they said they'd think 
about it. A couple of days later, Dick called me and said they were 
going to do it. I was surprised and delighted. 

Lage : That must have been gratifying. 

Haas: They put somebody on it full time. But actually the first year, Ira 
virtually ran the campaign. He's such a perfectionist, and he's so 
good that even now after nine years , he tears his hair out when he 
sees a bum article or a sloppy presentation or whatever. 



'See Appendix F for further information on the Season of Sharing. 



181 

Lage: When you say he ran the campaign, did he pick the people to be 
featured? 

Haas: Oh, no, no, no. The Chronicle staff did that. But he helped them 

in all kinds of ways, in organizing the effort inwardly, in the kind 
of stories they should have and how should they go about it. They 
get an accounting firm to donate services. They get a bank to 
donate its services in handling the money. It's really wonderful in 
lots of ways. It helps people in need. But the money goes directly 
to the people. There are practically no administrative costs. 

Lage: The Chronicle covers some of those costs. 

Haas: The Chronicle picks most of it up. Our foundation helps pay for 
some of it too. A charitable drive is very unusual if you don't 
have at least 10 to 15 percent of your overhead going to expenses. 
But with Season of Sharing everyone's contributions go directly to 
the people in need, and it's divided in the community by a formula 
that I think is worked out well. It's a very gratifying campaign. 
I don't know if you read the articles. 

Lage: I do read them. 

Haas: They're interesting, and it's tragic to see how people can get into 
such problems, into such trouble. And here we know this campaign is 
really being helpful. As I say, it's very gratifying because this 
would not have happened if it hadn't been for us. 

Did I say that they raised $2 million last year? 

% 
Lage: You didn't on the tape. 

Haas: Well, they raised $2 million last year starting from scratch. They 
raised a total of $12 million since its inception. Last year over 
7900 individuals and corporations made donations. Actually, 
although the campaign goes on at this time of year, the holiday 
season when people are emotionally susceptible, money is distributed 
all year round and some money comes in all year round. 

Lage: Have you gotten feedback from the Chronicle people? 

Haas: Oh, initially, there was such excitement among the staff because 
they saw an attitude of public service they'd never seen before. 
Most people like to be part of an organization that is community 
minded. So, that was very gratifying. 

One year, I made a mistake and thought I could maybe give it a 
little impetus. So, I started writing to some friends urging them 
to send in a donation, even if it was only a hundred dollars. I 



182 

only wrote to people whom I thought could easily afford it. Well, 
now I think I write several hundred letters every year. I keep 
wanting to stop, but my wife won't let me because they claim it's 
very effective. I've low-keyed the letter now so it's just a 
reminder. But I give it my moral support, and Ira gives it a lot 
more than that. It has been a very rewarding experience. 

Lage: It also seems to be a good consciousness raiser for the community 

because those articles really teach you about how people get in bad 
straits. There are a lot of stories where you can see the "There 
but for the grace of God go I" aspect. 

Haas: Absolutely. I think that's enough on Season of Sharing except to 
say again that it's probably the jewel in the crown of my efforts. 



Genesis of the Guardsmen, and Their Christmas Tree Sale 



Haas: Another effort that I'm very happy with, and this goes way back, is 
the Guardsmen [founded May 1947]. 

Lage: Now tell me about the Guardsmen because that's a name that you hear 
about, usually in connection with Christmas trees, but I'm not sure 
what the organization is. 

Haas: Well, most people aren't. It started more than forty years ago when 
half a dozen of us wanted to do something in the community and 
didn't think that Junior Chamber of Commerce was the right vehicle. 
The first thing we didAnn Curtis was a potential candidate for the 
Olympic swimming team. She didn't have enough money to go East for 
the trials. So we modestly raised money for her to go to the 
trials. She went, and she won a gold medal. (As a matter of fact, 
I saw her at the Big Game this year. As another aside, most of my 
grandchildren have taken swimming lessons from her school.) And we 
found that we enjoyed working together. 

Lage: Do you remember who these six people were? 

Haas: Alex Henderson and Bill Binder and Albert Schwabacher and John Swain 
and Phil Westdahl and myself, and maybe one or two others. I'm not 
sure. It grew out of just a casual luncheon conversation. So, we 
thought, if we can do that, why what else does the city need? The 
Chronicle had a summer campership program that was struggling. So 
we decided we'd try to help raise money to send kids to summer camp. 

Then one thing led to another, and we decided maybe by selling 
Christmas trees we could raise money. I remember the first year-- 



183 

most of us had family that lived comfortably. So we went to our 
grandparents and uncles and aunts and took their orders for 
Christmas trees. We bought them downtown wholesale and sold them 
retail and usually got a drink because we delivered the tree. We 
didn't have a very big operation. 

Then on my tenth wedding anniversary [in 1950], we were touring 
through South America, and I got to thinking about how we could 
really make something of this Christmas tree campaign. We were 
traveling on a boat through South America, and I started planning 
Christmas tree sales, in March. 

Lage: Oh, this is funny. [laughter] Does this discourage Evie when you 
get so distracted? 

Haas: Well, she's more distracted than I am, probably. She's very active. 
But it gave me something to think about on that trip. Naturally, I 
got made chairman of the first Christmas tree drive, and it was 
reasonably successful. Since then, it's become a major, major, 
major undertaking. You go out to Fort Mason, you'll see the 
Guardsmen Christmas tree lot. It's very well known. It's the best 
lot in San Francisco. They get the most trees and the best trees. 
I think they make $20,000, $30,000, even $40,000 a year. In those 
days, we made a few hundred. 

I have a favorite story from that experience. We were young, 
and I was the chairman so I felt I had to go out there every night. 
Evie didn't particularly like being left home, so she'd come out and 
handle the cash register. It was a particularly wet winter, and she 
kept getting a cold. She couldn't shake the cold. I kept urging 
her to stay home and take care of herself. But she didn't. She 
wanted to be part of it. Well, this persisted even after we closed 
the lot down. So, we had her tested for allergies, and of course 
she's allergic to Christmas trees. 

Lage: Oh, no. That's ironic. 

Haas: Yes, poor girl. That is the Guardsmen's main activity now, and it 
has gotten so big and so professional. And, most importantly, the 
membership is limited. You can't be over forty years old. When 
you're forty, you're automatically a senior Guardsmen and you're 
out. 

Lage: So, the group became more regularized. 

Haas: Yes, it kind of perpetuates itself. I think the biggest thing about 
the Guardsmen was not so much what we accomplished, and I think we 
did a pretty good job, but we made really lifetime friendships. We 
had board meetings and committee meetings and undertook various 



184 

other activities. But the fund raising was still the heart of our 
effort. We did some crazy things. We had automobile racing in 
Golden Gate Park. In those days, we had to pull strings with the 
mayor. It wouldn't be allowed today. But we were able to, and we 
just had a good time doing good. 

Lage: And how does one become a member of the Guardsmen now, by 
invitation? 

Haas: You have to be elected by invitation. You don't really put yourself 
forward, but you know others and if you show an interest-- 

Lage: So, there's another ongoing fund drive, and an organization, that 
you started. 

Haas: Yes, and that's an ongoing organization that's doing very well. 



Helping to Found the Hunters Point Boys' Club. 1960 

Haas: Another one we helped start was the Hunters Point Boys' Club. 
Lage: Now how did that happen? 

Haas: Well, let me make sure I get this right. I was a member of the San 
Francisco Boys' Club, as were some of my contemporaries. I enjoyed 
working with youngsters and felt it was important . 

Lage: So, you'd spent some time there? Or were you on the board of 
directors? 

Haas: I was on the board. I get the feeling that the way to help society 
is to get people when they're young and shape their lives to some 
degree. We saw a great need to expand the activities into the 
Hunters Point area, which is a poor area, and the families living 
there were mostly minority, mostly black. 

Lage: And this was early on, wasn't it, in the late fifties? [Hunters 
Point Boys' Club was founded June 13, I960.] 

Haas: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. 

Lage: So, we're talking about responding to the changes in postwar San 
Francisco. 

Haas: Exactly. It was very discouraging because the San Francisco Boys' 
Club thought of a million reasons why it couldn't open a branch 



185 

there. They were supported by the Community Chest, it was called in 
those days [now United Way]. They said they couldn't get the money 
to support it, and they didn't have the staff to support it. They 
had a variety of reasons but I think primarily it was that they 
didn't want a bunch of African-American kids in their club. So Bill 
Zellerbach and I decided we'd find out how you start a boys' club. 
We found out, and we started one at Hunters Point. 

Lage: And how do you start a boys' club? 

Haas: Well, you go to the national organization and get a charter. You 
prove that it's needed in the area. It was, and we-- 

Lage: So you just started independently. 

Haas: We started completely independently, and we hired the assistant 
director from San Francisco Boys' Club, Tom Harris, and Tom went 
from there to Levi Strauss, eventually. He was a good, wonderful 
man. 

Lage: He must have been chafing at the conservatism of the boys' club in 
San Francisco. 

Haas: Well, I don't know. He was an assistant, and he was young. He was 
ambitious, and it was an opportunity. The club is still operating 
out there. It's a boys' and girls' club now, of course. 

Lage: Is it still independent of San Francisco, do you know? 

Haas: Oh, yes. The ironic thing, of course, is that the San Francisco 
Boys' and Girls' Club is probably 80 percent minority membership. 
Times change. Anyway, we were instrumental, and that was a good 
thing. 

Lage: Well, those three accomplishmentsthe Season of Sharing, the 

Guardsmen, and the Hunters Point Boys' Club--all are important and 
lasting contributions. 



National Park Foundation Board Member. 1990-1994 

Lage: I wanted to look at your vita and be sure we haven't missed anything 
else that we should cover. 

Haas : I don ' t think we have . 

Lage: The National Park Foundation? Have you-- 



186 

Haas: Oh, yes. The National Park Foundation was fascinating. 

Lage: Tell me a little bit about what you did with the National Park 
Foundation. 

Haas: I came on at just the right time [1990] because the board had been 
kind of dormant. It's a national organization to help raise money 
and educate the public about the absolute treasures we have in our 
national parks. Strangely enough--! don't know quite how it 
happenedbut almost the majority of the board, or certainly the 
influential members, were from the Bay Area. 

Lage: That's an interesting fact in itself. 

Haas: Yes, it was. I had a lot of friends on the board when I went on. 

It was a great experience, selfishly, because we meet twice a year, 
each time in a different national park. So, we've been from 
anywhere from Mt. McKinley to the Everglades to Yosemite. Of 
course, when we go, the rangers treat us special. They surely do. 
They give us talks about the wildlife and the other features of the 
park that make it unusual. Then there's a lot of correspondence in 
between and phone discussions and committee meetings. And it's an 
interesting group of people. 

Lage: Is Bill Lane one of them? 
Haas: No, he's not. 
Lage: I'm surprised. 

Haas: He's been very supportive. He's given financially, but he's not a 
member. There's apparently a certain amount of politics in the 
appointment, which is disappointing because I don't think 
environmental appointments should be political. I had a hard time 
because people didn't believe I was Republican. I was appointed by 
George Bush, I guess, or whoever the secretary of interior was then. 
Of course, Evie loves it. She is always enthusiastic and interested 
in anything and everything. 

Lage: Is the expectation that you will give money or help raise money? 

Haas: Both. It's a very strange situation in a way because we- -the Park 
Service is responsible for the operation of the parks. The Park 
Service's budget is quite inadequate. The infrastructure is 
decrepit and deteriorated. They haven't been able to maintain the 
parks. It would be simple enough to do it if you raise the entrance 
fees to the national parks fifty cents or a dollar. But the tricky 
part of that is that you can raise fees but the money doesn't go to 
the parks. It goes into the country's general fund. 



187 

Lage: That's right. 

Haas: So, that's a dilemma that we're struggling with right now. The 

other thing is that the secretary of interior, Bruce Babbitt, has 
begged us to undertake a special program to improve the housing for 
park employees. Their housing is disgraceful. These wonderful, 
dedicated rangers and other employees live under the deplorable 
conditions, crowded, and woefully inadequate. They're just a breed 
of person that loves the outdoors and has been willing to put up 
with it. So, we were debating whether or not this was really a 
project for the foundation or is thisare we really making up for 
the-- 

Lage: For something the government should be doing. 

Haas: A budget the government should be providing. Yes, exactly. So, 
that's where it is. And that's been a good association. 

Lage: It doesn't seem like it's likely to get much better under the 
current conditions in Washington. 

Haas: No, it certainly does not. 

Lage: Now, the Presidio Council. That must be a recent one. 

Haas: Yes. That was an advisory group formed when the Presidio was taken 
over, or-- 

Lage: Released, we could call it. 

Haas: I guess so. Released from the military to the Park Service. I 

guess it was two or three years of an interim period where we had 
studies and committees and listened to the public and heard all 
kinds of ideas for the use of that magnificent space, some of them 
really pretty far out. 

I don't know how helpful we were, really. We were trying to 
protect this glorious piece of property from developers and so forth 
and trying to find a way to make it economically viable, which is 
not easy and actually a little discouraging, because Nancy Pelosi 
had a bill before Congress to form a separate entity to manage the 
properties. The very last day, Bob Dole killed it. 

The Republicans basically feel it costs too much to maintain it 
as a park. It costs more than Yosemite or Yellowstone or any of the 
others. I don't know what the alternative is going to be unless, 
perhaps, they sell off part of it or give some up to commercial 
development, which would be very sad. 



188 

Lage: Yes, it really would. Well, I hope they resolve that one. As you 
talk, sometimes you do sound more like a Democrat. [laughter] 

Haas: Oh, I think I'm reasonably independent. 

Lage: I've been looking at old Chronicle articles about you. One of them 
describes you as a liberal Democrat. 

Haas: A liberal Democrat? 
Lage: Yes. 

Haas: Well, I'm certainly not very proud of what the Republicans are doing 
at the moment, but I'm not a Democrat. 

Lage: Now, let's see. What else do we have to check from your vita? 
United Bay Area Crusade. You've been pretty involved in that, 
haven't you? 

Haas: Not very. That's one of those things that's kind of expected. 



The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund 1 

Lage: I'd like to ask you about the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. How 
did that come about? 

Haas: Evie and I started the fund in 1953. 

Lage: What motivated your creating the foundation? 

Haas : I grew up watching the philanthropic involvement of my dad and my 

uncle, Dan Koshland. They were very charitable. We were taught to 
be thankful for our good fortune and to give back. In addition, I 
always seemed to have a consciousness about people who really 
struggled, with great challenges and adversity, while trying to live 
positive, productive and healthy lives. I still have a hard time 
accepting the tremendous number of people who are hungry, who can't 
get enough nutritious food to eat, even here in San Francisco. 

Evie and I wanted our fund to help those in need, to try to 
made a difference in people's lives, and to help enrich the quality 
of life in the Bay Area. We care deeply about the San Francisco Bay 



'The following section was added by Mr. Haas during his review of the 
transcript. 



188a 

Area. It has given us a lot of satisfaction to support the efforts 
of many fine institutions that make this area a great place in which 
to live, work, and raise our children and grandchildren. 

Lage: You've been philanthropists for a long time. What's it been like 
having this fund? 

Haas: The fund has enriched our lives immeasurably. It's been a way for 
us to learn about the many and ever changing critical needs in our 
community. It has allowed us to meet extraordinary leaders, 
courageous and talented unsung heroes of our community. 

We've also been able to support many fine community 
institutions, like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and UC 
Berkeley, institutions that enrich all of our lives. 

And in the more recent years, we've really enjoyed working on 
our fund with our children. Bob, Betsy and Wally all serve as 
trustees with us. We learn a lot from their perspectives and life 
experiences. It's been wonderful for our family to do this 
together. 

Lage: Wasn't your son, Wally, the executive director of the fund for 
several years? 

Haas: Yes, back in the late seventies, Wally became the fund's first 
executive director. He did a tremendous job. Under Wally 's 
leadership, we began to focus our philanthropy more than we had 
been, to define special interest areas to work in, where, hopefully, 
we could learn a lot and make a real difference. Over the last 
twenty years, we've continued having the fund have special focus 
areas for concentrated work. There's an interesting short paper on 
the history of the fund. I'll get that for you. [See Appendix G.] 

Much of what our fund is involved in today has grown from this 
early work. We focused a lot on disadvantaged inner city 
communities and the people who lived within them, on community 
development, on helping older people to live independently within 
their homes and communities. 

Today, we've continued our work in these areas and also have 
special grantmaking programs which strengthen the lives of children, 
youth, and families, reduce hunger and homelessness, and encourage 
volunteer service and philanthropy. 

Lage: What's most important to you about the fund? 

Haas: There is so much suffering, so many families and single people 
living under extremely difficult circumstances. It's most 



188b 

gratifying to me when the fund, quietly, can help people help 
themselves. We've worked a lot with those who are hungry and 
homeless, young families who are very disadvantaged, and 
strengthening the low income neighborhoods and communities that are 
apart of the Bay Area. After I bought the A's, I learned a lot more 
about Oakland, and we have been making a lot of grants in the East 
Bay too. 

We're not a fancy foundation. We don't try to take on the 
world. We like grants that help people directly, that are hands-on, 
that encourage people to have a voice and direct involvement in 
solving the problems that affect their lives and improve their 
communities. We like it when our fund encourages people to use 
their skills and strengths to help themselves. We also believe that 
the fund should demonstrate leadership and compassion. 

We are challenged by working on community problems often 
ignored by others. And we are always interested in discovering and 
supporting new ideas and innovations in the areas we commit 
ourselves to. Where appropriate, we try to have an entrepreneurial 
spirit in our grantmaking. We've been pretty good at leveraging our 
resources, and we like working together with other philanthropies. 

Lage: In the fund's annual report, I noticed your interest in volunteering 
and encouraging others to give back to the community. Why that 
focus? Where do those interests come from? 

Haas: You know from our earlier discussion of the CITs and from my own 

volunteer activities what pleasure and good experiences I have had 
in volunteering. Evie and I both have grown and derived great 
pleasure from our volunteer work. However, it's never felt like 
work to me. We like to encourage that participation by others. 
That's what helps make a community strong and vital. 

And there is such a need for more philanthropy. Over the 
years, I have known a great many people who have been in a position 
to give generously but instead give very little. When the fund can 
stimulate increased philanthropy, that's a worthy investment. Plus 
we know that the more people get involved, the more charitable they 
become . 

Lage: Your fund has become quite large, hasn't it? 

Haas: Yes, it's amazing to me. We began with a little fund. Now, over 

the years, we've given over $40 million dollars in charitable gifts, 
and our assets are over $250 million. We give away about $10 
million a year now. I just can't get over it. 



188c 

It's a big responsibility to use these funds responsibly and 
effectively. We really want them to make a difference. And some 
day, it is our hope that our children and their succeeding 
generations will find philanthropy as rewarding as Evie and I have. 
We hope they'll continue to support our values and interest, while 
also being sensitive to the changing conditions and problems of 
society. We don't want the fund to become a burden to them. We 
hope they can find areas of special interest, and which really make 
a difference in the lives of people in need. Creating and having 
our fund has been a source of great pleasure and satisfaction. 



189 



X THE UC BERKELEY CONNECTION: ONGOING SUPPORT FOR THE UNIVERSITY 



Supporting the Athletic Program 



Lage: I think, then, that we've covered your most important public 
service. But you know what we haven't really done is the UC 
Berkeley connection. I know we've discussed your time there as a 
student, but I'd like a little bit about your activities and your 
support as an alumnus. I think I mentioned to you that Pete Newell 
[Cal basketball coach, 1954-1960, and athletic director, 1960-1968; 
oral history in process] said to me you were the epitome of what a 
good Cal alumnus should be. 

Haas: Because I go to the basketball games. [laughter] 
Lage: No. Well, maybe that was part of it. 

Haas: I've maintained a relationship with the administration through the 
years as it changed, and because the family has been very generous 
we've had opportunities to get involved in a lot of different areas. 
My brother is heading up the billion-dollar fund-raising capital 
campaign right now. 

Lage: That's a big one. 

Haas: That's a huge one. I've served on the alumni council but not 
actively [1952-1955]. My interest continues to be maintained 
primarily through intercollegiate athletics. 

Lage: I know you've helped raise money for the athletic program. 

Haas: Yes. Roger Heyns and I headed up a campaign in the eighties to 

improve the athletic facilities. I guess that's the only time I've 
really been involved in major fund raising for the university. I 
just have a great deal of loyalty to the university. I really made 



190 

friends when I was an undergraduate and then retained those 
friendships through the years . 

Lage: Do you get an opportunity to meet the coaches? I mean, it seemed 
as if you and Pete Newell got to know one another. 

Haas: Well, I just got a letter from Todd Bozeman asking me to be an 

honorary coach for a game. It's part of their development effort, 
of course. "The honorary coach will be invited to attend practice 
the day before the game, meet the players, attend the pre-game meal 
on game day, be introduced before the game, and attend the pre-game, 
half-time, and post-game team meetings in our team room." 

Lage: That sounds like fun. 

Haas: It is. I did it once before. I'm undefeated. It was for the 

Stanford game, at Stanford. I remember we were heavily favored, and 
Lou Campanelli was the coach. We were behind at half time, and I've 
never heard such language in my life. 

Lage: You mean from Lou. 

Haas: From Lou. Maybe I shouldn't mention it. 

Lage: No, I think this is quite pertinent, considering that Campanelli was 
dismissed for just this sort of thing. 

Haas: Yes, he was accused of being rough on his players, and that was part 
of his problem. I couldn't believe the way he was berating them and 
swearing at them. I didn't think that would motivate players. That 
was his style, and he won a lot of games and brought Cal back 
nationally as a force. 

We had a whole gang that went down for the game, and they got 
seats up in the rafters. We eventually won the game, and 
afterwards, we went out to dinner and had a wonderful time. 
Meanwhile, I was watching the game from the very end of the bench, 
trying to see over the knees of a seven-foot player. I didn't see 
the game, and I was right down on the floor. 

It's fun, and I'm going to do it again. [I'm no longer an 
undefeated coach. I acceptedand we lost! --WAH] 

Lage: Oh, I think you should do it. I think it sounds like great fun. 

Haas: Yes, I will. Yes, those are the kind of things that keep you 
interested, you know. 

Lage: And you can compare Bozeman 's style to Campanelli' s. 



191 



Haas: Oh, it's quite different. I know that. 



A Hands-Off Attitude 

Lage: Now, do you get involved during times of controversy, like when 
Campanelli was fired? 

Haas: No, I try to stay out of that. 

Lage: That's why Pete probably thinks you're a good alumnus. 

Haas: Well, I am called by a lot of people because I do, obviously, know 
personally most of those involved in the administration and others. 
But I think all they don't need is some alumnus without full 
knowledge of the situation poking his getting involved. There are 
many times when I've had my own view of coaches' abilities, but I 
have no expertise in their area. Sometimes the chancellor invites 
you over for breakfast to talk about a situation. I'm glad to kind 
of be in on the inside. 

Lage: When you're asked to be, it sounds like. 
Haas: When you're asked, yes. 

Lage: Well, that's what Pete was talking about, I'm sure, because I think 
heall of the coaches experienced the opposite with some other 
alumni. 

Haas: Yes, it's very easy because people think they are experts, and they 
get emotionally distressed. It's just crazy. Here, we won this 
year's Big Game by one point, playing very badly. But that one 
point makes all the difference in the world. Stanford's coach [Bill 
Walsh] resigned; he might have resigned otherwise, I don't know. 
But he did. One point. But it's just as important to me as anybody 
else at the time. 



Friendship with Roger Heyns 

Lage: Now, you go to games with Roger Heyns. 

Haas: Football games, we do, yes. 

Lage: It sounds like you're really quite good friends, 



192 

Haas: The odd couple, yes. 

Lage: How did your friendship develop with him? 

Haas: A friend of mine, Vernon Goodin, got a letter from Bob McNamara, our 
classmate, who said that two friends of his from Michigan were 
coming out to serve in the administration of the university. One 
was Charlie Hitch, who was going to be president of the university. 
The other was Roger Heyns, who was going to be chancellor. 1 Would 
Vernon please introduce them to some of his friends? So, Vernon and 
Marion had a small cocktail party where we met the Hitches and the 
Heynses, and we hit it off with both of them very well, but somehow 
or other the chemistry with the Heynses was most unusual. So, soon 
Evie and I gave a little gathering for the four of them to get 
introduced into the community. This was right during the Free 
Speech Movement. 

Lage: Or just the aftermath of that and the ensuing turmoil. 

Haas: Roger was taking a terrible beating in the press. I was a little 
presumptuous because I didn't know how busy he was or what his 
interests were. We have this wonderful cabin up in Oregon in a 
remote area. He was taking such a bombasting from the press and 
from the students, so I thought it would be doing him a favor to 
relieve the pressure for a few days. Wouldn't it be great if he 
could just get away for two or three days and not see a newspaper 
and be in this beautiful wilderness area? So, we took a chance and 
invited them up. They accepted. We had a weekend of just cooking 
our own meals and taking hikes and getting close to nature. It just 
started that way. In all fairness, I don't think Roger cares that 
much about the athletic program anymore, but we go to all the 
football games together, and it's kind of a nice habit to be in, and 
we enjoy going together. 

Lage: Well, that's great. So, you were able to give some support during 
that time when Heyns and the university were facing a lot of 
criticism. 

ft 

Haas: Yes, I'd say to Roger, "Well, how is it going?" He said, "Well, the 
alumni say they're behind me, and they are. They're way behind." 
[laughter] 



Roger W. Heyns, Berkeley Chancellor, 1965-1971: The University in a 
Turbulent Society, Regional Oral History Office, University of California, 
Berkeley, 1986. 



193 

Lage: Yes, he had a lot of educating to do. 

Haas: Yes, he was a hero, I think, in his quiet way. He kept 

communications open between some groups that got pretty excitable, 
and he doesn't get the full credit for a lot of things that happened 
afterwards that were, in my opinion, the result of his calmness and 
maturity in dealing with these issues. 

Lage: And then he had the faculty to deal with, too, especially since he 
came from outside the university. 

Haas: Oh, yes. Then he had a minor heart attack. I remember going to see 
him, and I brought him a dart board with the pictures of all the 
Regents on it. 

Lage: [laughter] That's wonderful. 

Haas: And a Playboy magazine which he couldn't show to his wife. 

[laughter] So those things just kind of develop, and we're good 
friends. 

Lage: That's really nice. I think it's interesting, you know, to see what 
role you took during that turbulent time as an important Cal 
alumnus . 

Haas: I was offended and angry and upset. 

Lage: Did you ever make any contact with Regents? 

Haas: No. 

Lage: Did you have friends on the Regents? 

Haas: Oh, yes. I had a lot of friends I knew on the Regents. No, it's 
not my style to butt in when I don't have all the facts. 



The Berkeley Medal. 1991 



Lage: Well, that's what we're trying to get an idea of here. Now, you've 
won many awards from the university, and they will all be noted 
here. I would think the Berkeley Medal might have been especially 
gratifying. 

Haas: Very exciting and a complete surprise. 



194 

Lage: That was in 1991. That's really the highest honor that's given by 
the campus . 

Haas: Yes, it is. I guess they don't give honorary degrees anymore 

because some people object to them. But I'm told that this is kind 
of a replacement for it. What more can you ask than that? I was 
very thrilled. 



The Haas School of Business 



Lage: Now, what about the business school connection? I mean, aside from 
the fact that your father's name has been given to itthe Walter A. 
Haas School of Business. 

Haas: Well, I'm getting a lot of credit for the business school, and I 

don't deserve it. The idea of building a new home for the business 
school, which was spread between several buildings, came from Gene 
Trefethen and [Earl] Budd Cheit. They were the ones who first 
presented the idea of naming it after Dad. Dad had made a small 
contribution to an employment center, I believe, some time before, 
so they were aware of his interest. It was a natural partnership, 
because Dad was recognized as a leading progressive businessman, and 
he had many ties with and an affection for the university. 

They spoke primarily to Peter and myself, and convinced us of 
the need. We then spoke with Rhoda. The Walter and Elise Haas Fund 
provided the bulk of the funding, my brother and I gave substantial 
amounts, and my sister also generously participated. The official 
opening ceremonies are scheduled in two months, and the project is 
now fully funded after struggling for the last $9 million for some 
time. Credit for this final spurt should be given to Budd Cheit. 

It's very nice. It's being finished, and it looks magnificent. 
I think it's a little too big for that site, but everybody says to 
me, "When it's landscaped it'll be fine." But the important thing 
is that it's a wonderful school which has never received the 
national recognition it needs because it's been located in several 
different areas on the campus. 

It is our hope that this new building will bring the school the 
national ranking we think it deserves. We expect it will teach the 
need for ethical behavior and excellence in business practice. It's 
something to be proud of. 

Lage: You mentioned the building, and I know that was very controversial 
on campus and in the community when they tore down Cowell Hospital 



195 

and decided to build the business school on its site. Is that 
something that you got pressure about? 

Haas: Yes, yes. It bothered me a lot because people would write, and you 
get the impression that many were looking for a cause and would get 
involved in any campaign against the administration or existing 
authority. We kept very well informed as to who was objecting and 
why and were asked to intercede with the university. In all 
fairness, it wasn't our decision to build the school, to design the 
school, or to put it where it is. That was done by people who are 
close to the situation and are supported by the chancellor. So, we 
basically did not get involved. 

Lage: You didn't put your two cents worth in about location. 

Haas: No. Again, it's just typical of other things we've talked about. 
They're the ones that know all the ramifications. It was 
distressing; obviously, you are trying to do something and be 
generous and give something that the university feels is of great 
need, and then you have bad publicity and seem to be unappreciated. 
That's a good way to kill philanthropy, or generosity. 

Lage: It is, isn't it. [laughter] Well, it seems to have subsided by 
now. People need time to get used to new things. 

Haas: I think so. I think it has. 

Lage: Another question, a more frivolous one. How does the family feel 

about seeing its name all over on Haas business school t-shirts and 
sweatshirts? 

Haas: No problem. Actually, my ten-year-old grandson, who is named 

Walter, made one of these t-shirts a major request from Santa Glaus 
this past Christmas. 

Lage: Have you gotten to know Chancellor Tien? 

Haas: Yes. I was going to say, almost to the degree you can know him. He 
doesn't sit still long enough for someone to get to know him. I 
think he's doing a fantastic job. Everybody, whether it's the 
basketball coach, or a professor, or a student, seems to think that 
he is a tremendous asset to the university. 

Lage: Maybe it's good he doesn't sit still. 

Haas: He doesn't sit still. He has an incredible amount of energy. He's 
involved in every facet of the university. Nothing is too small for 
his personal attention. I'm amazed how the man can do it. 



196 

Lage: And he relates to students, too. 

Haas: Relates to students. That's very important. He'll fly back from 
the Orient, have two hours sleep, and be out there giving the 
football team a pep talk. And he cares. He's down on the sideline. 
This year at the Big Game, he had the Stanford president as his 
guest. Of course, the poor Stanford president isn't very well known 
compared to Bill Walsh on their campus. Chancellor Tien went down 
on the field to talk to the team, which he does, and somebody asked 
Gerhard [Casper] why he didn't go down. He said, "Oh, I couldn't do 
that." [laughter] Tien went down and cheered them on. 



Football and Golf: All in Good Fun 



Lage: Yes, that's wonderful. Is there anything else you want to remark on 
about the university connection? 

Haas: Just a couple of stories I'd like to tell. 
Lage: Please do. 

Haas: Two of the most famous football players in Cal history were Roy 

Riegals [All-American center, 1929] and Benny Lorn, with Roy being 
known as "Wrong Way Riegals". 

It happened in a Rose Bowl in 1929 when someone blocked a kick 
and Roy picked up the fumbled ball and in his confusion got turned 
around. In those days one could run with a fumble. He started 
running towards his own goal line with Benny in hot pursuit in front 
of 90,000 people and the national [radio] audience, but finally just 
before the goal line Ben caught Roy and turned him around. Before 
he could run upfield he was tackled on about the three- or four-yard 
line. Roy was the center, and unfortunately on the next play a kick 
was blocked and in the end Cal lost the game 8 to 7; the blocked 
kick turned out to be decisive. 

The Big C had an annual golf tournament, and I had a regular 
foursome which included Ben and Roy as well as George Wolfman, who 
was the baseball coach. We would play at the Claremont Country 
Club, and someone would go down before lunch to register the players 
and the sport in which they won their letter so at the end some 
prizes could be given out for various sports, etc. When I 
registered our group I mentioned Roy Riegals and Ben Lorn, and the 
young Big C man taking down their names was puzzled. He had never 
heard of them. This was hard for me to believe, but I guess we 



197 

finally came to grips with the fact that time was passing by and new 
heroes were becoming known. 

In another tournament I happened to be playing golf with the 
dean of students, a highly regarded ex- football player who was 
taking the place of George Wolfman, who was unable to join us that 
day. I was playing above my head and came to the eighteenth hole 
only needing a par 5 to shoot a 73, which would have been a record 
for me and would have won the tournament easily. 

This is a long hole with a creek almost going the length of it 
down the left side. Trying to play it safe I pushed my drive to the 
right, but unfortunately it landed under a tree where I couldn't get 
a decent swing. We were well separated from the other two fellows 
in our foursome, and my playing partner said, "Go ahead and kick it 
a couple of feet so you can have a swing, and nobody will ever know 
the difference." I was surprised that a man in his position would 
suggest something like that but couldn't bring myself to do it. I 
ended up with an 8 on the hole, and any chances for glory 
evaporated. It was an exciting time and an interesting experience. 

Lage: I can see that your connections with Cal sports have been important 
to you over the years. 

Haas: Yes. My enthusiasm for Cal sports has brought me a lot of pleasure. 
For example, I have had a large number of standing bets on the Big 
Game at even money with my Stanford friends that go back many years. 
When Pappy Waldorf was coaching, he had inordinate success in the 
Big Game, winning eight and tying one in ten years, I believe. In 
order to needle my friends on the Farm, I decided to take advantage 
of this unusual opportunity. 

I formed a fictitious organization, the "W. A. Haas, Jr. 
Football Foundation" and had stationery printed. The heading, in 
Victorian script, was "W. A. Haas, Jr. Football Foundation" and was 
printed in the form of a receipt. The date was blank and the name 
was blank but the printed message was that, "Your annual 
contribution has been received and is gratefully acknowledged." The 
name and date were then filled in, but the implication that this 
annual payment was a foregone conclusion had the desired effect. 

Since then, of course, the tide has turned, and I've paid off 
at least as often as they have, especially in recent years. Some of 
them have joined the spirit and have made me a member of Stanford's 
Buck of the Month Club with their winnings. This year, in one of 
the worst games I can remember, Cal won by a single point, but that 
single point is huge when it includes bragging rights for 364 more 
days. It's all harmless and all in good fun. 



198 



XI RECREATION AND RELAXATION 



Fishing and the Outdoors 1 



Lage: You've mentioned fishing trips and your ranches in Oregon and 
Montana. Tell me more about your outdoor life. 

Haas: Fishing and the outdoors have been a very important part of my life. 
As I have told you, it started when Dad took my brother and myself 
on pack trips into the Sierras. Strangely enough I got bitten by 
the bug but Peter was not at that time. I learned to fly fish under 
Prince Helf rich's tutelage and became reasonably efficient in 
outdoor camping as the years went by. Prince was a young man far 
ahead of his time. He paid his way through college by trapping and 
selling cascara bark. He was a true conservationist, operated one 
of the first tree farms, and testified before Congress on 
environmental issues. I was fascinated by his outdoor adventures. 

What kind of a vacation can a family have when the oldest child 
is eight years older than the youngest? We ended up with skiing and 
camping trips into the Rocky Mountain area or the Sierras and that 
seemed to be the proper solution. Each child would bring a friend 
and we had some marvelous family vacations. I have always regretted 
that none of my children really got involved enough to take the 
initiative to continue to take such vacations with their families, 
but they do enjoy the ranches and the outdoors and certainly we all 
had some good times together. 

I think my fishing experiences can be divided into four general 
areas: steelhead on the Rogue River, fishing on the Boulder River 



'The following section was added by Mr. Haas during his review of the 
draft transcript. 



199 

which goes through our ranch in Montana, fishing for cutthroat trout 
at Silver Tip Lodge, and many marvelous experiences in Alaska. 

The Rogue River used to be one of the most famous fishing 
streams in the world. The steelhead were plentiful and Zane Grey 
enjoyed this kind of fishing and publicized it in his writings. 
When we first started fishing the Rogue we would take a four-day 
trip with guides down the river either camping out or staying at the 
lodges along the way. It is a beautiful part of southern Oregon as 
the Rogue Canyon cuts through the lower part of the Cascade 
Mountains. Fishing was extraordinary and although the Rogue River 
steelhead are generally smaller than steelhead in other rivers, they 
were reasonably plentiful during the early years. Subsequently, 
because of being over-fished and probably because of netting at the 
mouth of the river and other fish-killing devices in the ocean, the 
catches deteriorated beyond belief. Actually, two of the last three 
years I never even got a strike in several days of fishing. 

But we enjoyed our trips down the river so much that I bought 
Zane Grey's old mining claim in 1953. Bob Ingram, a friend, called 
me one day and told me he knew I always liked the Rogue and there 
was a piece of property available. I said that I had no interest in 
buying a fishing lodge but I asked where it was. He indicated that 
it was down near the mouth of the river. I said offhandedly if I 
were going to buy, the only piece of property I would be interested 
in was Zane Grey's because we had camped out there on numerous 
occasions, but I knew that that was not for sale. 

Well, a couple of months later Bob called and said, "Do you 
still want it?" I had no idea what he was talking about. He said 
the Zane Grey property had become available. I said that I was 
going to New York the next morning and would let him know in a 
couple of weeks when I came back. He said that there was no chance 
that they would hold it for us so I had to make up my mind that day. 
I tried to get in touch with Evie but I couldn't locate her. Then I 
seemed to be weakening because I said, well, I might be interested 
if they had water, because I knew that the river water was 
undrinkable. He called back and said that the sellers indicated 
that Zane Grey found water so I had to find water! 

Well, I finally took the plunge and said, "Go ahead and buy 
it." Believe me, that night I gave Evie a very strong drink and 
told her what a foolish thing I had done. She was angry and said, 
"You can take your friends up there all you want, but don't expect 
me to get involved in any way." Well, over the years we camped out 
there and she became increasingly interested. We built a one-room 
cabin which she furnished and, of course, it is now one of her 
favorite fishing spots. 



200 



I use it more for R&R than for fishing. For three years in a 
row after participating in the World Series, where I survived mostly 
on coffee, sleeping pills, and booze, I would call someone like Kirk 
Smith and we would go up for three or four days to unwind and 
recharge the batteries. We have had some great times at Winkle Bar. 

My second area is our ranch in Montana which we named Beaver 
Meadows . It ' s on the Boulder River and we got it under fortunate 
circumstances . 

Because of Evie's authorship I got a letter from someone in New 
York indicating that there was a dude ranch in financial difficulty. 
The writer was trying to get a group of twenty fishermen together to 
build a lodge and pay cash for the fishing rights in the summertime. 
The dude ranch would use the cash flow to stay afloat. I indicated 
some interest but heard nothing further. 

A couple of years later, we were traveling in Montana at Mose 
Teller's, and Evie suggested that we take a look at this fishing 
lodge that I had heard about a couple of years back. We flew our 
plane to Livingston and there we were met by John Bailey, who is a 
native of the area, a superb fisherman who runs a very well-known 
tackle shop. He indicated that the dude ranch was a disaster and 
the cattle ranch was an economic bust but that the Boulder was one 
of the best free-flowing small fishing streams in the state of 
Montana. We drove over on the West Boulder Road and fell in love 
with the place. It is a magnificently beautiful piece of property 
that is at the end of the Boulder Valley and is just gorgeous big 
sky country. 

Roy did an outstanding job of negotiating, and we ended up with 
the valley portion of the ranch which included the river. 
Subsequently, we acquired more property around this area to protect 
ourselves from potentially undesirable neighbors. 

Now it is ideal, and Evie and I spend five to six weeks during 
July and August up there. Betsy's and Wally's families truly enjoy 
it and join us for as much time as they can, which I hope will 
increase as time goes by. Actually, it is more of a family 
recreation area than a fishing headquarters, but the fishing for 
rainbows and German brown is very good if you have some experience 
as a fisherman. We have installed a couple of ponds which we stock 
so that the kids and inexperienced guests can catch trout to eat or 
take home. 

Not far from our ranch is Silver Tip Lodge, a private lodge 
owned by a consortium from New York. We ran into it unexpectedly 
when we were hiking with classmates from the abandoned mining town 
of Independence into Yellowstone Park. It was a great camping 



201 

experience, but on the last day we saw this magnificent lodge and 
inquired if it was open to the public. It was not, but we 
subsequently got to know Ralph Davidson, who is a part owner, and he 
had a group he formed which takes over the accommodations for one 
week each year. 

It is a huge, old-fashioned, log building with comfortable 
accommodations and magnificent service. The interior has chintz- 
covered furniture and animal heads (purchased from Abercrombie & 
Fitch!). We are fortunate to have the connection with Ralph because 
this area probably has the greatest cutthroat fishing in the world. 

We fish Slough Creek, and we are high enough from the valley of 
Yellowstone Park so that there are very few fishermen in the area. 
The cutthroat run from fourteen to nineteen inches and are beautiful 
and gamey fish, although nothing has quite the spunk of a rainbow. 

We built up quite a tradition of friends and look forward to 
our week at Silver Tip every year. 

And finally, Alaska. Evie and I have fished in many parts of 
the world and throughout the Rocky Mountains and Canada, but without 
question, the greatest fishing we have ever encountered is in 
Alaska. I had been there a number of times, staying at different 
lodges and with either Dad or a group of friends, but we finally 
found Enchanted Lake Lodge, which had been built by Ed Seiler. At 
that time it could only accommodate four guests, but the fishing was 
magnificent. One would get up very early in the morning, put on his 
fishing gear, and fly out to some stream. We would fish all day, 
have a sandwich lunch, and then return home to the warmth and 
hospitality of the lodge. 

It was finally sold to Dick Matthews, who ran it with his sons 
and enlarged it to take care of sixteen guests. The secret to 
Alaska fishing is the guide, and Dick hired two of the best in the 
business. Believe it or not, there is one stream where the smallest 
trout will be a five-pound rainbow, and until we went to Alaska I 
had never caught a freshwater game fish that large. One day I 
caught a number, including two ten-pounders and one twelve-pounder, 
and even as I write this it is hard to believe. The last year I 
fished in Alaska happened to be the best, and we had superb fishing 
every day. In fact, one day I got too tired to fish because I had 
been fighting these huge trout almost all day long. I would stop 
and rest but then realize that I would never have fishing like this 
again in any other place, so I'd get up and almost wish I wouldn't 
get a bite. Year in and year out, Evie is Queen of Alaska. She 
fishes hard, in all kinds of weather, and very often is high rod. 



202 



The lodge people are extremely friendly and hospitable, and 
it's just a wonderful experience. 1 



San Francisco Clubs; Relaxing. Subtle Networking, and Thoughts on 
Restrictive Membership 



Lage: This would be a good time to talk about social clubs. On your vita 
here there are five of them. 

Haas: Well, I'm overclubbed. 

Lage: You're overclubbed? [laughter] 

Haas: Oh, yes. 

Lage: I'm interested in them individually but also in what role they play 
in your life and work. 

Haas: Well, they play an important role, at least in my generation, 
because they're a great place to have lunch and relax and play 
dominoes or bridge or read or whatever, during noontime, mostly. I 
enjoy them. The history of these clubs is that their membership is 
restricted both ethnically and religiously and-- 

Lage: Genderly. 

Haas: Genderly. I was looking for the right word. 

Lage: I think we made a new word there. 

Haas: There's no question it helps to be a member of a club. 

Lage: It helps in business? 

Haas: I think it does. I don't want to jump ahead, and I know this is an 
unpopular thing for me to say to you, but I think there is a place 
for a restricted membership social club if it's purely social. I 
don't see any reason why a group of men or women or Hottentots 
couldn't get together and say we'll have a club just for people that 
we're comfortable with. Nothing wrong with that. Where it gets 
tricky is when the business comes in. And there's no question- - 
although you're not supposed to conduct business and you're not 
supposed to take someone as a guest on an expense account- -that the 



'End of inserted section. 



203 

contacts you make are important. I belong to these clubs and the 
fact that I'm on a first-name basis with the president of the Bank 
of America or Standard Oil or whatever gives me an edge over you. 

Lage: And it is through the clubs that you got on the first-name basis? 

Haas: That's the way you do it. You have lunch, and you just sit at a big 
round table and after a few years, you forget the positions. So, to 
that degree, I don't know the answer to the issue of restricting 
membership because it's not completely equal. I don't want to argue 
this one. 

Lage: Now, I didn't come here to argue with you. 

Haas: No, I don't want to even give my views in too much detail, but my 

understanding is that in most of the clubs that have admitted women 
very few attend, and they haven't solved their economic problems. 

Lage: Has it been in the clubs that you met people like Rudolph Peterson, 
or some of the executives you asked to serve with the National 
Alliance of Businessmen? Would you have examples of contacts that 
might have affected your business or public-service life? 

Haas: Membership in these clubs is kind of like the old-boy network. 

Other members know each other and know me, and it's quite possible 
that appointments result from discussions that do not seem to be 
related at the time. 



The Family 



Haas: The first club I joined was the Family, where my father was a 
member. 

Lage: Now, what is the Family? 

Haas: That's an offshoot of the Bohemian Club. It's very similar, but 
much smaller. It has a redwood grove down in the Portola Valley, 
just as the Bohemian Club has its big grove near Monte Rio. It's 
devoted to friendship and entertainment, as is the Bohemian Club. 

Lage: So, it's very much modeled on the Bohemian Club. 

Haas: It's exactly the same. It happened, I think, after World War I, 

when some of the Bohemian members--! don't remember exactly how it 
happened- -made some disparaging remarks about Hearst papers and 
their purported yellow journalism, and there was a big furor and so 



204 

this group split off. I really should- -since I don't use it that 
much- -get out. But Dad was a member, and it was my first club, and 
I feel a loyalty. 

Lage: Did you use it more at one time? 

Haas: I used it a lot. I used it a great deal. 

Lage: Did you go to the camp? 

Haas: Yes, I did all that. 

Lage: Is there some reason why you have become less active in the Family? 

Haas: Well, I use the other clubs more. That's all. I can't be in more 
than one place. I'm not talking about the golf club, Lake Merced 
Golf Club and now more recently, I joined Menlo Country Club. That 
doesn't make any sense at my age except I know more people there, 
and it's closer to my home, and it's easier to get a golf game and 
everything. I play with fellows there that I enjoy a lot. At the 
other clubs, they have died off, or are too infirm to play any more. 



The Bohemian Club 



Haas: But anyhow, I guess the next big one was the Bohemian Club. That's 
a remarkable club, in the sense that in this day and age of tough 
economics, the waiting list for an individual is about twenty years 
or more. Many fathers urge their sons to put their names in even 
though they have no interest in the club because twenty years from 
now they might. That happened with Bob. I don't think Bob is a 
club type. But I urged him to do it, and he put his name in. All 
of the sudden it came up, and I think he's enjoying it more than I 
expected. But he's not a club type; none of my children care about 
clubs. 

These clubs are kind of like the dinosaur. They're about ready 
to be extinct. They can't make it economically if they continue on 
a discriminating basis. 

Lage: Do you think the younger generation objects to the discrimination 
more or they're just--? 

Haas: No, I think their lifestyle is different. I think they have lunch 
at their desk, or they're working out; they're not going out and 
spending two hours playing dominoes . The people who want to keep 
the club where it is are the old goats, my friends and me. 



205 

So, I had the Bohemian Club. There is kind of an interesting 
story to how I joined the Bohemian Club [in June 1972], because 
there's such a long waiting list. My friend Charlie Bulloti was 
president and asked if I'd like to be a guest at one of the weekends 
in the Bohemian Grove, which normally is closed to residents of the 
Bay Area. I think people all over the world look forward to that 
when they have the opportunity. I had never thought about it. I 
had a wonderful time. Charlie knew everybody, and we'd go to the 
shows, and then after the shows we'd wander around different camps 
and get to bed at two or three in the morning. He knew where 
everything was happening. Everywhere we went I seemed to know 
people, which was surprising to him and to me. 

When it was all over, he said, "Why don't you join the club?" 
I said, "Charlie, I can't wait twenty years." It hadn't occurred to 
me in my thinking, and he said, "Well, maybe we can get you 
preferential treatment." Well, it seemed like a good idea, and they 
did and I did. 

Lage: Now, you broke some barriers, there, too, didn't you? Hadn't they 
had a restricted membership? 

Haas: Well, the Bohemian Club initially didn't have that many barriers. 

Then they developed, not as much as at other clubs. But there were 
some there. 



The Pacific Union Club 

Haas: But the big one was the PU, Pacific Union Club, which did not have 
any Jewish members , and approached three of us , which I think was a 
sensitive thing to do because it's not easy to be the only 
representative. The three of us talked about it, and we joined 
[1974], and I'm glad we did because they promised that they'd open 
up the membership, which they have done. 

Lage: Did they have a long waiting list, too? 

Haas: No. 

Lage: It's not as hard to open up the membership, then. 

Haas: It's very strange because it's considered, in the pecking order, as 
the club that you wanted to belong to in the Bay Area. But no, it's 
not that hard to get into. 

Lage: Now, who are the three Jewish people that they invited? 



206 

Haas: Dick Guggenheim, Warren fieri, and myself. Dick died. Warren's up 
there and is a member still. 

Lage: And you became president of the Pacific Union Club [1988-1989]. 

Haas: Yes, I did, which is kind of a landmark. I didn't think I could 
refuse when they asked me. I'm glad I did. I enjoy the club. 

Lage: Did you encounter any insensitivity or prejudice? 

Haas: No, I didn't. Or maybe I was an ostrich. No, what happens is that, 
if they want you to be an officer, first you're elected to the board 
of directors. After the first year, if you're asked to stay on, 
you've got to be suspicious. Then the next year, you're asked if 
you want to be secretary or some other officer. Well, that really 
means you're on the escalator and automatically going to move up a 
step. At that time I recognized what was involved and spoke to a 
couple of the previous presidents and other officers I knew, and 
they claimed they had researched it pretty carefully. I've never 
encountered anything unpleasant or unexpected. 

Lage: I would hope not. You never know. I mean, you don't know why these 
restrictions have ever existed. 

Haas: I know. It doesn't make any sense, and less and less as we go on. 
But anyway, so I enjoyed that and I-- 

Lage: Do these clubs still have any restrictions against racial 

minorities, blacks or Asians? Or do they have minority members? 

Haas: They don't have written restrictions, but in effect they do not have 
open memberships . 

Lage: Well, it does make you wonder if they're going to be part of the 
dust bin of history. 

Haas: Exactly. And they should be. 

Lage: In the Bohemian Club, they have that saying, "Spiders weave not 
here." Do they stick to that pretty well? 

Haas: I think they do. I think they consciously do, but you're not going 
to get 2,000 guys not talking about some business thing over a big 
weekend. Consciously, they don't allow business entertaining. You 
can't do a business lunch. You can't be paid expenses if you take a 
potential customer. There's nothing very obvious, but sure. There 
have to be meetings and deals occasionally. There's probably a lot 
more that goes on, I think, than I realize. But I don't see 
anything going on. 



207 
The Bohemian Club Encampment 



Lage: Now, I'm going to ask this question as a real outsider, because I 
certainly am. But when you read about the Bohemian encampment, it 
sounds so silly. The mental picture of all these people . . . 

Haas: It is. Well, that's a very intelligent question, because when 

you're first up there, you're really excited having a beer with the 
likes of Henry Kissinger, and other national leaders. Then you go 
to your camp, and you have the lunches and then have this 
entertainment . 

Lage: Which is put on by the members themselves. 

Haas: By the members. Some of it's very good, and some of it's just 

amateurish. It gets to the point where the initial excitement wears 
off, and you go for the fun of being with your campmates and hearing 
some of the talks that are given. They have some very interesting 
talks by people from government or internationally known leaders. 
So, the contacts and the discussions are really interesting and 
worthwhile. 

Lage: But the theatrical productions are- 
Haas: They're major events and to some people they are terribly, terribly 
important. I shouldn't be so cynical, because I've not been a good 
member. I haven't carried a spear, and I haven't been a member that 
long, really, compared to most of my contemporaries, because I came 
in late. 

Lage: It's quite a mix of activities from having world leaders to amateur 
theatricals. 

Haas: Oh, it is. It is. Some of the shows are simply marvelous. I don't 
know who the current TV stars are but they'll get up there and have 
some of the biggest names in television. 

Lage: Oh, they will? 

Haas: Oh, yes, a variety show and wonderful music and singing. 

Lage: I didn't realize that they got some pros in. 

Haas: Oh, they're all pros; most of the entertainment is by pros. They 

have a variety show on a Friday night, I think, and it's really all 
pros. 

Lage: Is there anything else about the clubs that you have to comment on? 
Haas: No, I don't think so. 



208 



XII OWNING AND ENJOYING THE OAKLAND A'S, 1980-1995 

[Interview 10: December 8, 1994] ## 

Buying a Sports Team, for Family and Community 



Lage: Today, we are going to talk about the Oakland A's. And, of course, 
we are doing this in the context of the negotiations going on now to 
sell the team. 

Haas: Yes. It's kind of an emotional roller coaster. I suppose I should 
start with--a lot of people wonder why a conservative, predictable, 
staid businessman would be foolish enough to buy a baseball team. 

Lage: That was my first question. 

Haas: I would think so. I've had it asked many times. As a matter of 

fact, for my fiftieth reunion at Harvard Business School I was asked 
to give the talk to my fellow classmates. I was rather flattered 
because it was a distinguished class and I was chosen from among a 
large group of successful executives to make the address. But the 
reason they asked me, probably, was that at our stage in life, you 
were either retired fully, or you were still working, or you had 
taken on something new and different. Nobody had ever bought a 
baseball team. They asked me to say why I was so wise or so foolish 
as to buy a baseball team. I used that as the title of my talk. 

But really, one day, I guess sixteen years ago, Cornell Maier 
and Gene Trefethen, who were executives of Kaiser in Oakland, asked 
to see me. They said that the team was going to be moved by Charlie 
Finley to Denver, and they were trying to keep it in Oakland. 
Finley had agreed, if they found a decent ownership group. So they 
were trying to put together twenty partners to keep the team in 
Oakland and asked if I would be one of those limited partners. As a 
community service, I said sure and went home and discussed it with 
the family. Of course, my son [Walter J. Haas] and son-in-law [Roy 



209 

Eisenhardt] were ecstatic and excited. I didn't think much about 
it. 

Then, about a month later Gene and Cornell came back and said 
that Finley would not sell to a bunch of what he called no-names, 
but they had to have a leader, one person who, I guess, had roots in 
the community, or whatever his reason, and I was the guy. 

Lage: You mean he picked you, or they thought you were the most likely? 

Haas: No, he picked me. I didn't know him. But I said I couldn't 

possibly do it. I had responsibilities at Levi's. I said no and 
let it go. Of course, as you know, my family is all here, and we 
see a lot of each other. At one point, somebody asked whatever 
happened to the A's, and I told them I had turned the proposition 
down. They got all upset and said, "You can't do that. This is a 
wonderful opportunity." My son and son-in-law said, "Suppose we run 
the team?" Now, this, obviously, is over a period of several 
conversations . 

And I said something like, "You mean, all I have to do is drink 
beer and eat peanuts and second-guess you?" They said, "That's 
right." 

Lage: And put up the money. 

Haas: Yes, and put up the money. So, one thing led to another, including 
a lot of research and homework, and I bought the team. 

Lage: My goodness. 

Haas: Basically, I guess you could say, it's a community service. I 

didn't expect to make money, but I didn't plan on losing a lot of 
money, either. I didn't expect to be involved, really. 

Lage: But the family pressure was important, too. 

Haas: Well, it was crucial, and their great interest was also very 

important. The fact that my son and son-in-law would be involved 
and I'd have another excuse to communicate and keep in touch was 
very persuasive. 

Lage: Had they both been avid baseball fans? 

Haas: I think Roy was pretty much a baseball fan all his life. They were 
both, it turns out, at crossroads in their careers. They were busy 
but not enthusiastic about the future of their particular 
activities. So we got into baseball. 



210 
Rebuilding the Franchise 



Haas: I remember a few things. At the time, they called the Oakland 
Coliseum the Oakland Mausoleum. 

Lage: Because it was so empty? 

Haas: It was so empty. Their attendance was terrible. I think the year 
before we bought the team, the total annual attendance was under 
400,000. At our peak, we filled it up to almost 3 million (which 
broke the all-time attendance record for all Bay Area sports 
franchises). Then it's fallen off lately. 

They did a tremendous job. The team was really in shambles. ] 
think they only had four to six employees in the front office, 
total. No scouting system, no nothing. I mean, when we started 
selling tickets, they had to put extra phone lines in because they 
didn't have enough lines to take the calls that we were trying to 
generate. It was a marketing disaster but also a great marketing 
opportunity. 

Lage: What had been Finley's problem? 

Haas: He was a tightwad. He watched the pennies closely. 

Lage: He just didn't want to spend? 

Haas: No, he wouldn't take a telephone call, I believe, more than fifty 

miles away because he figured it did not represent a potential seat 
in the stands. 

Lage: But he had had a good team at one time. 

Haas: He'd had championship teams. I don't know what went through his 

mind. Anyway, it was certainly a golden opportunity to put in some 
intelligent marketing practices and sound business practices. I 
remember I went to Bob Reynolds , who was a part owner of the 
California Angels, whom I knew, and asked him whether or not I 
should make an investment like this . He could tell that I was 
probably going to. He said, "I'll just give you one piece of 
advice. Don't fall in love with your players." I did fall in love 
with a couple of them. But-- 

Lage: Just keep it on a business level with them? 
Haas: Yes. 



211 
Hiring Andy Dolich 

Haas: I remember Roy felt his first need was to get a director of 

marketing. He made a national search and had at the top of the list 
a young man named Andy Dolich, who was marketing director for, I 
believe, a soccer team in Washington. It wasn't a baseball team. 
Andy came out, and we all liked him. Roy offered him the job, and 
he said, "I want to check with my family." The next day he called 
Roy and said no, he didn't think he could accept. That was a 
surprise to us. We didn't expect that kind of an answer. 

About two days later, Andy called and said, "Roy, if you 
haven't filled the job, I'd like it." Well, Roy was very-- 
questioned him very carefully. He said, "You can't just give us a 
casual answer. This involves your future and your family and 
moving. What causes you to change your attitude?" 

He said, "Well, I was browsing through a bookstore in New York 
the other day. There was a book about Levi Strauss by Ed Cray." 1 
(Cray had done that book independently; we cooperated.) Andy said, 
"I read about those people, and I'd like to work for people like 
that." That was a wonderful story. 

Andy really made an absolutely tremendous success by 
introducing the theme of family entertainment to baseball. 
Unfortunately, he called me yesterday, and he's just accepted a job 
as president of the Golden State Warriors. He had fourteen years 
with us, and he's deserving of an opportunity. But he-- 

Lage: He really put his mark on the marketing of the A's. 

Haas: Yes, he did and it was a great choice for us. He did a marvelous 
job. So, those were the beginnings. 



Role of Wells Fargo Bank 

Haas: One of the first steps was, I had to borrow some money. So, we 

spoke to various banks. We finally chose Wells Fargo because they 
offered to help us with our community activities, which we thought 
we would make important in baseball. Of course, there were 
competitive interests from a financial point of view. Among the 
things they offered, they offered for free financial advice to the 



'Ed Cray, Levi's (Houghton Mifflin: Boston, 1978) 



212 

players, which I thought was an intriguing offer. It was very 
revealing that in all the years there's never been one player who 
took advantage of it. I think that probably the agents wouldn't let 
them. So, you live and learn. 

Lage: Well, I guess there are different levels of financial interest among 
the players. 

Haas: Yes. Anyway, that was kind of a naive thing but it was a learning 
experience. 

Lage: How did Wells Fargo help you with the community involvement? 

Haas: With publicity and sponsoring events and helping sell tickets. 

There are a lot of things you can do. I don't know how active they 
still are. 



Haas's Initial Lack of Involvement 



Haas: Then there's one other early incident I wanted to recall, really to 
show my lack of involvement . I'd been asked to go to Minneapolis to 
give a talk for the Five Percent Club (companies that donate 5 
percent of their pre-tax profits to charity) back there, which is an 
important branch of the business community. Evie and I went back, 
and when we walked into the lobby of the motel, there was our team, 
much to my surprise. I didn't even know they were playing in 
Minneapolis. Now that's how little involved I was. 

Lage: You didn't follow it day by day? 

Haas: I did not follow it at all. I really literally would read the 

sports page and go to the games once in a while, but the boys--I 
liked to call them the boys--were really running it, and they were 
developing a wonderful franchise. They get the credit. 

Lage: You didn't get involved in decisions like who to hire or 

Haas: No, I really didn't. 

Lage: And had you been a baseball fan yourself? 

Haas: Oh, a sports fan. I've always been a very avid sports fan. Now, of 
course, I'm a huge baseball fan because that lack of involvement has 
certainly changed. 

Lage: Had you thought about purchasing a sports team before? 



213 

Haas: Yes, I'd been approached, actually, for the 49ers when it looked 
like they might be for sale two or three times, to join with a 
group. I was interested. I was more interested in football than I 
was in baseball. But it never eventuated, and actually probably 
would have been a hell of a lot better investment. But I wouldn't 
say I would have had any more fun. 



Recalling Charlie Finley 



Haas: A couple of stories about Charlie Finley. Roy did all the 

negotiating, and they shook hands over the phone. We were all 
worried that the news was going to come out prematurely. Charlie 
came out here to make the announcement. It was going to be made on 
national TV on baseball's "Game of the Week." I was in Montana at 
the ranch, and I didn't even come down, which I should have. The 
boys said they ought to take him out to dinner, and they didn't 
quite know where to go because they didn't think the public would 
know them, but they might know Finley, and it would let the cat out 
of the bag. 

So they took him to Villa Taverna, which is a private club. It 
was very popular, but in the evening there were very few people 
dining there. Actually that evening, theirs was the only table in 
the restaurant that was occupied. I think to this day Finley thinks 
we bought out the whole restaurant so we could keep it quiet. 

Lage: [laughter] That must have impressed him if he was one who watched 
his pennies. 

Haas: That's right. Then I met Finley because I was on the board of 
United Airlines and we were meeting in Chicago. Somebody said, 
"Gee, you know, that's where Finley lives, and you bought the team. 
You ought to get together." So, I called him and asked if he'd have 
lunch with me. He said he would. I said, "Well, you've got to keep 
it quiet." 

Lage: This was before the announcement, also? 

Haas: Before the announcement, yes, just a few days before. I got a suite 
at the hotel, and I knew he liked Jack Daniel's bourbon, so I had a 
bottle, and I put it on the bar in the suite, and he walked in, very 
formal, very friendly. I said, "Fine, come on in. We'll have a 
drink and then we'll order lunch." He said, "Oh, no. We're going 
across the street to this little fish place I know, and my secretary 
is going to join us. She's never met anybody like you," whatever 
that meant. [laughter] "And she wants to meet you." I said, "No, 



214 

we're trying to keep this quiet." He says, "Oh don't worry; if it 
becomes public, I'll give you the team." 

Lage: Well, that was a good deal. 

Haas: It was silly, but of course he prevailed and over we went. That was 
a strange luncheon. It went on forever. I met this young lady, who 
never said a word. ThenI'm censoring this a little bit--anyway, 
I 

Lage: You're thinking other thoughts about that lunch. [laughter] 

Haas: Yes, I probably shouldn't say it. It went on and on and on and 

finally, we were the only people left, and I told Charlie that I had 
to go. I had a meeting in our sales office, and I was late for it 
already, which was not true. So, I had to excuse myself, and we 
started walking back. As we went by the hotel, he said, "Oh, my 
gosh, by the way, that bottle of Jack Daniel's. Why don't we go up 
and have a drink." I said, "Charlie, I've already sent you a case. 
Now leave that bottle there." So, then I had to go and buy him a 
case and send him a case of Jack Daniel's. 

Lage: That's a pretty good story. It might have been even better if you 
hadn't censored it. 

Haas: Yes, it would have been. 

Lage: Well, did you ever get a sense of why he said he wanted you to be 

the one to buy the team? Was it a financial thing? He thought you 
were the best credit risk? 

Haas: I guess the name was known in the community or something. I mean, 
the family goes back for several generations. 

Lage: I just wondered about Finley's interest in that kind of thing. 

Haas: I guess he thought perhaps it was maybe a little more reliable than 
people whose name he didn't recognize. 

Lage: Anyway, he didn't let on to you why. 

Haas: No. 

Lage: Why was there the need for secrecy? 

Haas: Just the need for coordination. We didn't want it leaked 

prematurely. Also so Charlie wouldn't shop our bid for the team to 
another buyer. 



215 
Billy Ball 

Lage: Okay, so here we have a team in disarray. 

Haas: Here we have a team in disarray. 

Lage: And was Billy Martin the manager when you took over? 

Haas: Billy Martin was the manager, and we played Billy Ball. They 

promoted it, and it was good. As a matter of fact, Billy was a 
Jekyll and Hyde. He was a wonderful manager, certainly in the early 
years, of a young ball club. I remember he came out with his 
girlfriend and her mother and her grandmother, and they lived in a 
house we provided in Blackhawk. This grandmother made chicken liver 
pate the way my grandmother should have made it. I loved it, and he 
found that out, and every once in a while he'd give me a jar of 
chicken liver pate. Well, I didn't quite know how to reciprocate. 

One time we were invited to a reception at his house with a lot 
of people. The grandmother asked him for a whisky sour. Well, he 
just threw together some rye and sugar and ice cubes. I liked to 
mix drinks, so I decided I'd make her a jar of whiskey sours, which 
I did. The team was doing very badly. We couldn't win a game. We 
couldn't get anybody out. We couldn't score runs. But before the 
game, I went in and gave him this jar of whiskey sours for his 
girlfriend's grandmother. He put it in the refrigerator in his 
office. 

Again, the game started out badly, and we were behind. All of 
a sudden, about the fifth inning, we erupted with about six runs, 
and everybody was elated and jumping and cheering. I get a call in 
the box from Billy. He says, "To heck with my grandmother. I gave 
the team the whiskey sours." [laughter] I don't know if you want 
to hear these little episodes. 

Lage: Yes, these are the stories that illustrate how it was. 

Haas: These really make it kind of fun. 

Lage: Was Billy already Finley's manager or was he hired by your staff? 

Haas: No, we inherited him. 

Lage: Any other stories about Billy Martin? You say he was Jekyll and 
Hyde. Was this his drinking or--? 

Haas: Yes, but I wasn't with the team on the road, and the boys didn't 

clue me in. But they finally had an episode which went too far, and 



216 



he had to be replaced. We had a series of managers who were all 
very competent baseball people. But sometimes you have people that 
are knowledgeable and good assistants but don't have the leadership, 



Hiring Tony La Russa, the Final Piece in the Jigsaw Puzzle 



Haas: Then we were fortunate enough to hire Tony La Russa. I remember one 
sports writer coming to me and telling me, "Well, now you've got the 
last piece in your jigsaw puzzle." It turned out to be that way. 
Tony is an absolutely great manager and a wonderful person. I 
admire him tremendously. I don't think I'd have enjoyed my 
involvement in baseball nearly as much if Tony weren't representing 
us because he represents us well. He has good standards. We have 
good conversation. 

Lage: Well, it seems like a mutual admiration society from what I've read 
in the paper. 

Haas: We've built up a relationship that is, I think, a little unusual. 
That's good. 

Lage: And he came on in '86. 

Haas: Yes, and that was the beginning of another turnaround. We had been 
gradually improving. I should say, during the early years, we 
didn't get much help from the press. We were losing money. We 
didn't have a lot of talent. Roy kept telling me that we should get 
out. He couldn't see any way that this could be a reasonable 
investment. I guess I was stubborn. It certainly wasn't a decision 
based on any facts. We decided to stay with it. 

Then we got some great young players from our farm system, had 
three Rookies of the Year in a row. All of a sudden, we were 
contenders and we won three American League Championships and one 
World's Championship. Those were heady times. At the time, we were 
recognized, I think, as the best team in baseball. In fact, they 
were talking about dynasty. 

It's marvelous to reflect back. I show those tapes once in a 
while, particularly now that we've had a long strike. The economics 
of baseball just made it impossible to keep that team together. I 
guess that's one of the reasons that I'm contemplating selling the 
team now. It was very exciting going to World Series. 

Lage: Then your interest picked up, it seems. 



217 
Haas: Oh, my. By then it was at a pretty high point, absolutely. 



In the Locker Room and Meeting Room; Transmitting a Tradition of 
Excellence 



Lage: How much involvement with the players did you have? 

Haas: Well, that's a good question, and it's a tricky subject because I 
enjoy going to the locker room and I enjoy chatting with them. I 
don't want to intrude on their privacy. I think I built a pretty 
good relationship with most of them, and especially with some of 
them. I did fall in love with a couple of the fellows. I have a 
very, very open and friendly relationship and a genuine enjoyment. 
I like to go down to the locker room, and I get the impression they 
like to see me there. I don't overdo it. In fact, they say, "You 
ought to come down more often." But I don't know how sincere they 
are. 

You don't realize that to the general public, just being able 

to see a Mark McGwire is a big, big event. Of course, I just go 

down and shake hands and chit-chat. We take for granted some things 
that you get with the ownership of a team. 

Lage: Right. It's part of the fun of owning a team. 

Haas: It is part of the fun. 

Lage: Would you be called on to give a little pep talk? 

Haas: No, that's really my son's job and the manager's job--I'm not 

involved with that. It's hard to know what to say, really, when 
you're down there. But just don't say the wrong thing. 

Lage: I recall reading that you did mention at one time in a locker-room 
talk the excellence of the Levi Strauss tradition. 

Haas: Yes, that's right. I should mention that because I think it made a 
big difference. I think in one case it did make a difference. It 
was in the early years, and I forget what year, but Minnesota had 
just won the World's Championship. We had a meeting in Arizona for 
all the trainers and coaches and I guess the operations people, 
you'd call them. I attended, and it was interesting to see how 
knowledgeable our people were about every player, not only in our 
team but in baseball. They knew if he moved well to the right or 
threw hard or was a good fielder. It was really quite remarkable. 



218 

They asked me to say something. I hadn't been prepared to say 
anything. But I remember saying that I was really used to 
excellence, and at Levi's we demanded excellence and nothing less. 
That's what I wanted for our team. I wanted the best scouting 
system. I wanted the best affirmative action program. I wanted the 
best managers, the best marketing, the best staff. That's what I 
was used to. I watched Carl Polad, the owner of the Minnesota 
Twins, get the World Series trophy, and I was really envious. Not 
just because he had that trophy but because that meant that he was, 
at that time, representing the best. That's what I wanted. 

Well, I didn't realize but I think it changed attitudes 
because, previous to that, winning wasn't as important a goal for 
some reason. I know Sandy Alderson, who is the best general manager 
in baseball, by the way, went out and started making some trades, 
some unbelievable trades for players, that eventually won us the 
world championship. I really like to think that what I said changed 
the motivation or changed the goals somewhat. 

Lage: Or the level of expectation. 

Haas: Yes, and I'm glad you reminded me of that because that was very 
important . 



The A's Management Team: Wally Haas, Roy Eisenhardt, Sandy Alderson 

Lage: And I'd like to hear your thoughts on the crossover between your 
business experience and the baseball experience. 

Haas: Well, things had worked here at Levi's, and they're working there. 
Actually, I think the A's have by far the best community relations 
program of anybody in baseball, bar none. Wally [Haas] started 
that. Along the way, I've got to give Wally huge credit for our 
success through the years. He doesn't get the publicity that Tony 
and Sandy do but in his quiet way, he's got a loyal group of 
employees, and they're motivated and they're competent. He's made 
some very, very tough decisions. I respect his judgment and his 
management. I'm very proud of what he's doing. 

Lage: And he was the impetus for the community relations program? 

Haas: Yes, he started that. That was his initial job when Roy was pretty 
much running the team. 

I'm afraid that by telling you just a bunch of stories, I'm 
not telling the history of the A's very well. We started as a 



219 

moribund franchise and ended up as one of the best respected 
organizations in baseball and are currently recognized for the 
quality of our people and our organization. I'm really proud of 
what they did. But I want to emphasize that, whereas with Levi's I 
was very much involved all the time and performed a leadership role 
in our success, with the A's, I am somewhat involved now but I had 
not been involved earlier. I should not get a lot of the credit I 
get for their success, but we are considered a model franchise. 

Lage: Well, you are being modest again, for sure. But you're telling me 
that you haven't been an active manager of the A's organization. 

Haas: No. 

Lage: Now, did Sandy Alderson come with a background in baseball? 
it 

Haas: Sandy was a lawyer in Roy's former law firm. Roy hired him to 

negotiate terms with players' agents. When you are dealing with 
agents, it's always better to have someone you can always go back to 
as the final authority. So we persuaded Sandy to do the 
negotiating. As Sandy got interested and was very effective, Roy 
gradually persuaded him to give up his law practice and come full 
time, which he did. He became the general manager and now he's 
president and COO [chief operating officer] . 

Lage: Here you have these three relatively young men without the baseball 
background. 

Haas: None. Yes, and at first, believe me, the other baseball owners 

tried to take advantage in trades and other situations. They might 
have had more baseball experience, but they didn't have more brains. 

Lage: Well, your management team must be quick studies. 
Haas : They were. 

I haven't said enough about my son-in-law, Roy Eisenhardt. I 
have great respect for his judgement and often go over to his house 
for a cup of coffee just to exchange ideas or get advice. Often 
this is on matters that do not affect him directly but he is highly 
intelligent and his perspective is extremely valuable. 

He truly is a renaissance man, with a great variety of skills 
and abilities. He can (and does) fix anything on our TV and is an 
experienced carpenter, plumber, electrician- -you name it. His 
interests are variedfrom politics to the sports pageand we have 
many interesting discussions. A very satisfactory son-in-law. 



220 



The Thrills and Satisfactions of Owning the A's 



Lage: What were some of the peak experiences of owning the A's? 

Haas: I just can't convey how exciting it is to be in a World Series and 
have a police escort to the airport and the crowds cheering. It's 
an emotional drain. After the series, I'd go up to Oregon and 
recharge the batteries. But it's an experience you can't ever 
duplicate. 

Lage: It was different from your Levi's experience. You had more, much 
more public exposure. 

Haas: Yes, and I don't particularly relish that. We've kept it to a 

minimum. 



A Sense of Community Service 



Haas: I guess one of my biggest satisfactions or joys is when I go to a 

game and see all the people there, all ages, families, backgrounds, 
having tailgates, throwing a ball, having a good time, and I realize 
that they wouldn't be there if we hadn't kept the team in Oakland. 
That is actually among the greatest satisfactions. Perhaps of all 
the moments that I enjoy, and I've had many, was that plaque you saw 
from the employees. 

Lage: Now, tell more about that. What was the occasion? 

Haas: Well, we had won the World Series. I was over at a meeting at the 

office at the Coliseum. Somebody said, "Come on outside. I want to 
show you something." They were all gathered there. They gave me 
this certificate of appreciation. I was so touched because I don't 
think I've ever seen one like it. It's on the wall of my office, 
and I have to confess I have one on the wall at home, too. 
[laughter] Each employee in the office pledged eight hours of 
volunteer work in the community in honor of our winning the 
championship . Nothing they could have done could have pleased me 
more or made me more proud. It was really a wonderful thing. 

Lage: And you had some players that gave a lot to the community as well. 

Haas: Yes, they have an annual Walter Haas, Jr., Community Service Award. 
Each year we give it to one of the players who has voluntarily 



221 

helped in the community on some project of his own. There are a lot 
of them now that are giving time or giving money for these causes. 
I'm very pleased that we've developed that. They don't all do it, 
but a lot of them do. 



Reggie Jackson and His Personal Jet 



Haas: One of my favorite stories in baseball had to do with Reggie 

Jackson. Reggie worked for us--we signed Reggie for the last year 
of his playing career. Before the season starts, we have kind of a 
road show that we put on. We take players and coaches to various 
nearby communities, Manteca and Modesto and Stockton or whatever, 
and go to the Rotary Club or whoever sponsors the event, and talk 
baseball and get people excited before the season starts and try to 
sell a few tickets. 

So I was in Hawaii one New Year's, and I got a call from the 
Fresno Booster's Club saying, "I know you always come down with 
somebody, but please bring Reggie Jackson. We'll pay him $5,000 for 
coming down to Fresno." I said, "I'll see what I can do," and I 
spoke to my son. He spoke to Reggie, and Reggie said, "Sure, I'll 
do it. But I don't want the $5,000." That was pretty impressive. 

Well, a couple of days before the event, I suddenly wondered 
how we were going to get Reggie to Fresno. I called around to some 
of my friends to see if I could get a corporate jet, and I couldn't. 
So we hired a twin engine plane. 

The day before he was supposed to go, Wally called Reggie and 
said, "We're all set; I'll meet you at Kaiser at such-and-such a 
time." Reggie said, "What are we going down in? In a jet?" Wally 
said, "No, it's a nice twin-engine turbo-prop. It only takes forty 
minutes, Reggie. What the heck?" 

He said, "You mean you don't have a jet?" He said, "No, 
there's a copilot and a pilot. It's a short flight." 

He said, "You mean your dad does not own a jet?" He said, "No, 
Dad doesn't own a jet." 

He said, "I don't believe that. The Oakland A's certainly own 
a jet?" Wally said, "No, the A's don't own a jet." 

He said, "Well, don't tell me that Levi Strauss doesn't own a 
jet?" Wally said, "No, as a matter of fact, Levi's doesn't own a 
jet." 



222 

There was a long pause, and Reggie said, "Well, I have a jet. 
Why don't you come with me?" [laughter] 

Lace: That tells a lot about baseball. 

Haas: Yes, it tells about baseball and the salary levels and a lot of 
things. But that was a fun story. 

Lage: That's wonderful. And what was Reggie like? 

Haas: Reggie was always good to me. Reggie and I had a good relationship. 
We saw a lot of each other at times. We'd have meals together. He 
had a lot of ideas . He was very anxious at the end to work as my 
personal assistant, and I'd have liked to have had him, because he 
was knowledgeable and he's fun and he knows baseball, but I was 
afraid that if he sat in the box as kind of an advisor, the manager 
would feel he was being second-guessed if he pulled a pitcher or 
made a move. So it didn't work. Later Reggie decided to go into 
the Hall of Fame as a Yankee instead of an A, so that kind of cooled 
off the relationship. 

Lage: But I remember you gave me a speech you made in presenting him to 
the Baseball Hall of Fame. Is that correct? 

Haas: No. It was to the local Bay Area Hall of Fame, but in the national, 
he went as a Yankee. He's a vice president of the Yankees, so there 
it is. 



The World Series, 1989 



Haas: I referred to my talk at Harvard Business School, and I remember how 
I concluded that talk- -during one of the World Series, I was asked 
to throw out the first pitch. It was certainly an absolutely 
incredible experience. 

Lage: Did you practice a bit? 

Haas: Yes, I did. It seems further than you think to throw from that 

mound to home plate. So I got my grandson, and we started at about 
forty feet and worked it up to sixty feet, six inches, and I think I 
threw a strike, but I'm not sure. 

But at Harvard Business School, I concluded my comments by 
saying how much fun I'd had at baseball and how much I enjoyed the 
Harvard experience. I said, "I had been asked to throw out the 
first pitch. There I was with 49,000 people in the stands and 



223 

something like 80 million people all over the world watching me. I 
threw out the first pitch." And I said, "And they didn't teach me 
that at Harvard." [laughter] So, that was a little fun. 

Lage: The World Series that the A's won was known as the Bay Bridge World 
Series [between the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants]. And 
of course, it was also the year of the big earthquake. Were you at 
Candlestick during that earthquake? 

Haas: We were at the game, yes. The earthquake was a terrible thing for 
the community. 

Lage: Once the games resumed, that cross-bay competition must have been a 
thrill. 

Haas: Yes, it was absolutely wonderful! There's a fascinating book here 
on that World Series. It has all the passes and tickets and 
newspaper accounts. Evie kept a diary and pictures. They're 
wonderful. 

Lage: Now, how has Evie fit in with all this? Was she a baseball fan? 

Haas: No. Evie's a wonderful wife, and she went along, and eventually she 
became interested. Now I have to fight her for the sports page in 
the morning. She enjoys entertaining friends in the box, and she 
gets a thrill when she goes up the same elevator with Dennis 
Eckersley in Toronto. She's really a superfan. If we sell the 
team, we're going to miss it, I'll say that. We're going to miss it 
a lot. 



Two Errant Foul Balls 



Lage: Your son indicates that things didn't start so auspiciously for 
Evie, though. Isn't there a story about a foul ball? 

Haas: Oh yes. On opening night, 1981, our very first game as owners, Tony 
Armas fouled off a pitch that came right through the open window of 
our box. I was ecstatic at this stroke of good fortune until I 
looked at my wife. The ball had been traveling at a very high 
velocity and hit her in the shin. She was in agony! Once that was 
behind us we went on to enjoy the game. It was only one of three 
balls that have been hit into our box in fourteen years, and the 
only one that hit anybody! 

Now, that reminds me of one of my own encounters with a foul 
ball. Just before the start of one of the seasons, I attended a 
Giants vs. A's game at Candlestick Park as part of the Bay Bridge 



224 



Series. I went down on the field and was standing apparently too 
close to the batting cage. A foul ball came screaming off Dave 
Henderson's bat and even though I was behind the screen, it was not 
strung tightly enough and I felt a heavy shock as the screen gave 
and the ball hit me in the face. I was incredibly fortunate that I 
didn't lose a tooth or an eye or otherwise get badly hurt. 

I put my hand up to my mouth instinctively and when I took it 
away it was crimson with blood. The ball had split my upper lip as 
if it had been cut by a knife. The trainer came rushing over and 
with another fellow helped me off the field. I put a towel to my 
face but I was still gushing blood. At the Giants' stadium I had to 
walk from the batting cage clear down to right field where the 
entrance to the Giants' dugout is located. 

They laid me on a table and I had the benefit of trainers and 
doctors from both the A's and the Giants. They felt I should get 
immediate attention from a specialist and I was very lucky. They 
found Dr. Roger Greenberg, who met me in his office that afternoon. 
Poor Wally had to drive me from the ballpark to the doctor's office 
while at the same time phoning Evie to meet us without trying to 
alarm her too much. 

The doctor was incredible: I expected to be permanently and 
badly scarred, but within two months, no one could see any 
indication that there had been any sort of wound on my upper lip. 

The following evening, which was the opening of baseball 
season, I had to give some awards to A's players for the previous 
year's accomplishments. I was in front of the TV cameras with a 
lump the size of an egg on my face, but the TV people covered it up 
pretty well. What could have been a terrible tragedy turned out to 
be just a good baseball story. 



The All-Star Game, 1987 



Lage: I'll bet you'll miss the team. Another of the good times must have 
been the All-Star Game in Oakland in July 1987. 

Haas: Yes. We went down to Houston the year before, because that's where 
they held the All-Star Game, and we wanted to see how they handled 
it. It's a big thing in the community. I remember that there were 
meetings and discussions, and Peter Ueberroth was the commissioner. 
He said to the Oakland group, "I want to see you fellows at midnight 
tonight. I want to talk about next year and see that you're 
properly prepared." 



225 

Well, Andy Dolich knocked Ueberroth off his seat, because he 
was going to tell us what had to be done, and he wanted to be sure 
that nothing went wrong. Andy had it all laid out already. He gave 
Peter baseball caps with 'All-Star Game in Oakland, 1987.' So that 
was fun. Actually, it was a long game, and everybody said it was 
boring. It was fun meeting all the good players. Again, my 
personal experience was just nothing but pleasant. They make it 
easy. 

Lage: And again, a big community event. 



The Economics of Baseball 



The Farm System 

Lage: Was the farm system an important part of the A's success? It had 
been moribund also when you purchased the team. 

Haas: We had no farm system, and it takes a while. It takes time. What 

happens in baseball, when you have success, you don't get high draft 
picks, which is supposed to even out the competition. So, in recent 
years, our farm system has not produced the same number of major 
league players as we got before because we haven't had high picks. 
Now, in the last couple of years, it's strengthening again, and 
we've got some wonderful young players, particularly pitchers that 
in a year or two are going to be heard from. 

Lage: So, dynasty building is really hard under the rules. 

Haas: Yes, under the economics of baseball. We were on the verge of a 
dynasty. Then we had to break up the team. 

Lage: That must have been hard emotionally. 

Haas: It is. It's very hard. Right now, we have some players we want, 
and we can't afford them. 



Implications of Rising Player Salaries 

Lage: Did you get involved in any of the difficult player personnel 

decisions over the years? I guess I was thinking specifically of 



226 

the decision to trade Dave Stewart, which must have been a difficult 
one. Did you have input on that one? 

Haas: Actually we did not trade Dave Stewart. He became a free agent and 
somewhat hurriedly signed with Toronto. 

We had a number of discussions regarding Dave because he is a 
special person, was a leader on our team, and very much involved 
with the community. I did participate in several dicsussions with 
Wally and Sandy, but in the end we lost him. 

Our normal procedure in making personnel decisions was to 
discuss a total budget in the early season. We want to be 
competitive, but you couldn't just go off the wall. We were 
competitive, because we had young players from the farm system. 
When I bought the team, we had the best outfield in baseball. We 
had Dwayne Murphy, we had Rickey Henderson, we had Tony Armas, and 
between the three of them, their total salaries were $100,000, about 
$35,000 each. That $100,000 today would be between $10 and $12 
million. 

Lage: That's an incredible comparison. Fourteen years. 

Haas: Yes, it is. And it's very relevant because, obviously, TV revenues 
and ticket prices haven't gone up that much. That's basically why 
I'm not able to compete with some of the bigger markets with larger 
television revenues. So we're considering selling the team. You 
can't compete, it's changed so much. The terrible strike is going 
on now, and I don't see any resolution to it. The owners want to 
change and have to change the system, and the players don't want to 
give up anything. I guess there will be resolution, but I don't 
quite know-- 

Lage: It's taking quite a while, it seems. 

Haas: It's not even any closer than it was before. 



Relations with the City of Oakland; Efforts to Keep the Team in 
Oakland 



Lage: What about relationships with the city of Oakland and the Oakland 
Coliseum? 

Haas: I don't get involved in that, really. 



227 

Lage: The one time it came up was over a loan that you applied for from 
the city. 

Haas: Oh, well, yes, we did that. We needed to borrow money. Really, 
some communities do an awful lot of things for the professional 
franchises that Oakland can't do; they just don't have the 
resources. I remember we talked to them about a loan and we got it, 
and we were kind of sorry we did, because although we never had any 
problems, they were always under the surface. So when that loan was 
due, we paid it off. Now we're borrowing more, but we do it through 
private resources. 

Lage: When you say problems, do you mean community relations problems? 

Haas: Yes, community relations: "Why are we lending money to a baseball 
team when we don't have enough police, or we have all these other 
social problems that demand attention?" That's a proper concern. 

Lage: But the team brings so much to the community. 

Haas: Yes, baseball is important in the community. That's why I bought 

the team: it helps economically, it helps the pride of a community. 
It's an extremelynearly vitalasset for Oakland. So I felt that 
it was an important thing to do to save the team, and now I think 
it's an important thing to keep it in Oakland. As you know, we've 
offered the team for sale at a bargain price if they keep it in 
Oakland. At the moment, there seem to be two legitimate offers, 
which frankly is two more than I expected. 

Lage: You weren't that confident about finding a local buyer? 

Haas: No, I wasn't sure with the uncertainty of baseball, but it looks 

like they're legitimate. That would, of course, please me no end, 
if not only was I able to keep it fifteen years ago, but also to 
keep the team in Oakland now for an indefinite period. 

Lage: What will happen if these two offers don't work out? 

Haas: Then we have the right to sell the team elsewhere, for probably a 
lot more money. There are always people who want to buy teams. I 
just hope it doesn't get to that. There's quite a lot of money 
involved. I'd rather keep it in Oakland. 

Lage: Time will tell. 



228 
The Giants and the A's; Natural Competitors 



Lage: What was the relationship between the A's and the Giants, yourself 
and Bob Lurie? 

Haas: I guess it's kind of like Macy's and Gimbel's. It's cordial, but--. 
We're competitors in the same market. I knew Bob Lurie; I saw him 
last night. Bob now is very friendly. For a while, he was a little 
distant, but that was a misunderstanding that I was not involved in. 
But obviously, you're competing for the same-- 

Lage: He wanted the team to leave Oakland, apparently. 

Haas: Oh, yes. He offered a million dollars if the team would leave the 
Bay Area, and he was absolutely amazed that we bought the team, and 
distressed. 

Lage: Is the competition over selling seats, or selling time on the TV? 

Haas: Both. It's a small market for two teams, and the Giants under new 
ownership a year ago got lightning in a bottle, and it was 
absolutely fantastic. This year their ownership is quite 
disillusioned, I think. 

Lage: Well, the strike. 

Haas: Yes, but before that, they were going to lose money, and they didn't 
expect that. So there's not much I can say. The relationship is 
cordial, but we're trying to compete. 



Some Final Thoughts on Life and Family 



Lage: Is there anything else that you would like to add? 

Haas: Not about the A's, except I'd like to just kind of conclude with a 
general statement, if I could. 

Lage: Of course. 

Haas: I've enjoyed these sessions, and it's caused me to look back with 
nostalgia on some interesting experiences. And then you look back 
on a long life and wonder if you've contributed anything, was it 
worth it, would anybody care? And I'm relatively satisfied that the 
leadership of Levi's from a tiny little company to a worldwide 
business that is respected certainly makes a difference to a lot of 



229 



people. My involvement with the A's, although less, was also 
bringing an institution that was in trouble to the heights, and 
recognition and respect. Even some of the community things: Season 
of Sharing, and the Guardsmen, and Hunters Point Boys' Club, were an 
excellent sort of leadership role that I think made a difference. 
So I'm pleased with that. 

I look at all the friends I have, how much they've meant to me, 
and hopefully I've meant to them. And finally my family: my wife, I 
can't say enough about her support and affection. My kids, all of 
them, have good values and are successful in their own right. Now 
the grandkids are coming along with the same set of values. I feel 
it's been worthwhile; I have a lot of pride and satisfaction in 
looking back. 

I have had a full and rewarding life. Reflecting on that which 
has become most meaningful in these later years, I turn more and 
more to my family. When he's in town, Bob comes into my office 
every day just to visit. He is under such pressures that these 
conversations are especially meaningful. Bob's wife, Colleen, is 
devoted to Bob and their daughter, Elise. I know how important it 
is to have a supportive and loving partner while managing the 
pressures of a multinational corporation. She's a great wife. And, 
at the same time, she is intensively focused on supporting the goals 
of their daughter, Elise, who wants to try out and someday compete 
in the Olympic Games in jumping horses. 

Wally never fails to phone, and often drops by our house at the 
end of a day. These are busy times for the A's, but I know that 
he's motivated not only to keep me current on the situation but also 
to see how I'm doing and to give me a cheer. Julie (Wally 's wife) 
is a sweetheartan artist, and always there. She makes me feel as 
if I really were her father. Consistently thoughtful, she'll send 
over goodies that she's cooked that she knows I enjoy, invites us on 
the spur of the moment to participate in family activities, and we 
have long talks and an easy and loving relationship. 

I don't really know how to express my love for Betsy, our only 
daughter. She's always around, always trying to be helpful, always 
with good ideas on family problems. Betsy is Evie's best friend. 
They're on the phone several times a day, but also do lots of things 
togetherthe Museum, shopping, movies, walking the dogs, you name 
it. She's probably the glue that will keep the family together and 
close in the years to come. She is inseparable from her children, a 
traditionalist over holidays, and generally full of energy and 
enthusiasmalways on the go. She is indefatigable, chauff curing 
her children (and their classmates) endlessly, arranging trips, 
monitoring the progress of the schools and generally adding joy 



230 

wherever she is. She continuously drops by unexpectedly and is 
always welcome . 

Roy is a brilliant renaissance man and a caring and attentive 
son-in-law. He established the foundation for the A's success, 
while Wally was absolutely the right person to expand the success of 
the A's when Roy took over the directorship of the California 
Academy of Sciences, where he again was successful in improving that 
situation. 

Aren't we lucky. 

Lage : You are fortunate, and you have a great deal to look back on with 
pride. I've enjoyed recording this oral history with you, and I 
hope that the experience has helped bring all these aspects of your 
life together. 

Haas: It has; it's been grand. 



Transcribers: Melanie Schow and Shannon Page 
Final Typist: Shannon Page 



231 



TAPE GUIDE- -Walter A. Haas, Jr. 

Interview 1: August 23, 1994 

Tape 1, Side A 1 

Tape 1, Side B 15 

Tape 2, Side A 25 

Interview 2: August 26, 1994 

Tape 3, Side A 27 

Tape 3, Side B 37 

Tape 4, Side A 49 

Interview 3: August 31, 1994 

Tape 5, Side A 52 

Tape 5, Side B 62 

Tape 6, Side A 72 

Interview 4: September 2, 1994 

Tape 7, Side A 76 

Tape 7, Side B 86 

Insert from Interview 7, Tape 13, Side A 98 

Insert from Interview 5, Tape 10, Side A 93 

Interview 5: September 9, 1994 

Tape 9, Side A 106 

Insert from Interview 6, Tape 11, Side A 115 

Insert from Interview 6, Tape 11, Side B 117 

Resume Tape 9, Side A 120 

Insert from Interview 4, Tape 8, Side A 127 

Resume Tape 9, Side A 129 

Tape 9, Side B 131 

Insert from Interview 4, Tape 8, Side A 134 

Insert from Interview 6, Tape 11, Side B 137 

Resume Tape 9, Side B 138 

Interview 6: October 25, 1994 

Tape 11, Side A 140 

Tape 12, Side A 145 

Interview 7: November 3, 1994 

Tape 13, Side A 156 

Tape 13, Side B 162 

Interview 8: November 22, 1994 

Tape 14, Side A 148 

Tape 14, Side B 173 



232 



Interview 9: November 30, 1994 

Tape 15, Side A 179 

Tape 15, Side B 192 

Interview 10: December 8, 1994 

Tape 16, Side A 208 

Tape 16, Side B 219 



233 



APPENDICES--Walter A. Haas, Jr. 

A. Biographical Data 234 

B. Interview with Rita Guiney, November 9, 1994 237 

C. There was Light autobiographical essay by Walter A. Haas, Jr. 265 

D. Letter from Mel Bacharach to Walter A. Haas, Jr., August 2, 

1994 on growth of Levi Strauss & Co. 273 

E. Haas Competition, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley: 

list of topics, 1980-1985; announcement to students 276 

F. San Francisco Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund Report, 1994 279 

G. Background on the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and Program 
Guidelines, 1995 283 



234 



Appendix A 



Bioeraphical Data 



WALTER A. HAAS. JR. 



DATE OF BIRTH: 



- January 24, 1916, San Francisco, California 



EDUCATION: 



Galileo High School 

University of California - 1937 (A.B.) 

Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration - 1939 

(M.B.A.) 



CAMPUS ACTIVITIES: 



Tennis Varsity 

Member, Big "C" Society 

Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity 



BUSINESS: 



- Honorary Chairman of the Board, Levi Strauss & Co. 



BUSINESS, EDUCATION AND 
CIVIC AFFILIATIONS: 

(Current) 



Owner, Oakland Athletics Baseball Company 
Trustee, The Business Enterprise Trust 
Advisory Council, Reading is Fundamental, Inc. 
Director, National Park Foundation 
Member, Presidio Council 



BUSINESS, EDUCATION AND 
CIVIC AFFILIATIONS: 

(Former) 



Director, BankAmerica Corporation and Bank of America 

Director, United Air Lines, Inc. /UAL Inc. 

Director, Pacific Telephone Company 

Member, Trilateral Commission 

Trustee, Ford Foundation 

Member, National Commission on Public Service 

Member, Executive Committee & Regional Chairman, National 

Alliance of Businessmen 

Member, Presidential Advisory Council for Minority Enterprise 
Member, Presidential Task Force on International Development 

(1970) 

Trustee, Committee for Economic Development 
Co-Chairman, Business Steering Committee, National Cambodia 

Crisis Committee 



BUSINESS, EDUCATION AND 
CIVIC AFFILIATIONS 

(Former, cont'd) 



235 

Member, SRI International Advisory Council 

Director, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce 

Director, Mount Zion Hospital 

Trustee, San Francisco Bay Area Council 

Director, Levi Strauss Foundation 

Director, National Urban League 

Director, Bay Area Urban League 

Director, Trustee, United Bay Area Crusade 

Board, Youth Tennis Foundation 

Member, Citizens Commission on Private Philanthropy and Public 

Needs 
Member, Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Board, University of 

California 

Member, National Center for Voluntary Action 
Director, GWG Ltd. 
Represented State Department (Agency for International 

Development) in Brazil to evaluate our projects of assistance to 

this country (1967) 

Trustee, San Francisco Bureau of Governmental Research 
Director, Hunters Point Boys' Club 
Director, San Francisco Boys' Club 

Councilor, University of California Alumni Association (1952-55) 
President, The Guardsmen (1952) 
President, Manufacturers and Wholesalers Association of San 

Francisco (1951) 
Director, Mauna Kea Properties 
Commissioner, San Francisco Parking Authority (1953) 

Member, Advisory Council, Stanford Graduate School of Business 
Member, Visiting Committee, Harvard Business School 



AWARDS: 



1991 - The Berkeley Medal, University of California 

1990 - Distinguished Citizen Award, Commonwealth Club of California 

1989 - American Academy of Achievement "Golden Plate Award" 

1988 - Honored by the World Affairs Council of Northern California 

1986 - Harvard Club of San Francisco "Distinguished Citizen Award" 

1985 - United Way of America "The Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award" 

1984 - Alumnus of the Year - University of California, Berkeley 

1983 - American Image Apparel Industry Hall of Fame Award, presented by 

Men's Fashion Association 

1983 - Honorary Degree - Doctor of Law - Wheaton College 
1982 - Chancellor's Award, University of California, Berkeley Foundation 
1979 - Harvard University, Graduate School of Business, Alumni 

Achievement Award 
1977 - Jefferson Award - American Institute for Public Service for 

"Outstanding Public Service Benefitting Local Communities" 
1976 - Financial World Magazine - CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE 

YEAR 
1976 - University of California - Alumnus Service Award 



AWARDS (cont'd) 



236 

1976 - Honorary Member, Phi Beta Kappa Society 

1970 - The Boys' and Young Men's Apparel Buyers' Association, Inc. "MAN 

OF THE YEAR" 
1969 - Harvard Business School Club of Northern California "STATESMAN 

OF THE YEAR" 

1953 - Time Magazine Selection "LEADERS OF TOMORROW" 
1951 - San Francisco Junior Chamber of Commerce "OUTSTANDING 

YOUNG MAN OF THE YEAR" 
1951 - Manufacturers and Wholesalers Association of San Francisco 

"DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT" 



MILITARY STATUS: - 52 months active duty, World War II, Rank of Major QMC 



MARITAL STATUS: 



- Married Evelyn Danzig in 1940 

Three Children: Robert Douglas 

Elizabeth Jane 
Walter Jerome 

Grandchildren: six 



CLUBS: 



- The Bohemian Club 

- The Family 

- Lake Merced Golf Club 

- Menlo Country Club 

- Pacific-Union Club 



RESIDENCE: 



2666 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94115 



237 



Regional Oral History Office 
The Bancroft Library 



University of California 
Berkeley, California 



Walter A. Haas, Jr., Oral History 



APPENDIX B 
INTERVIEW WITH RITA GUINEY 



An Interview Conducted by 

Ann Lage 

in 1994 



Copyright 1995 by The Regents of the University of California 



238 



TABLE OF CONTENTS--Rita Guiney 

INTERVIEW HISTORY 239 

Hired at Levi Strauss & Co., 1942: The Early Days 240 

Growth, and Opportunities for Advancement 241 

A Family Business with a Work Ethic 244 

Generational Differences, Growth, and Change at Levi Strauss & Co. 245 

Walter, a Visionary and Marketing Genius 247 

A Unique Relationship between Management and Employees 248 
An Informal Role as Omsbudsman 

The Fifth Generation 253 

Executive Offices in the Early Days 254 

Going Public, Moving to Embarcadero Center 255 
Mel Bacharach and Art Roth 

Toughness and Decisiveness, Two of Walter's Outstanding Qualities 258 

Maintaining a Family Atmosphere at Levi Strauss & Co. 261 

Passing on Family Values in a Complex Corporate World 262 



239 



INTERVIEW HISTORY- -Rita Guiney 



Rita Guiney came to work as a secretary for Levi Strauss & Co. in 
1942. She soon became an essential part of the company's executive 
offices, as executive assistant to both Walter and Peter Haas and 
eventually secretary to the board of directors and vice president of the 
company. Her unofficial roles as ombudsman, gatekeeper, and "part of the 
family" were as highly valued by Walter Haas as her efficient and 
gracious performance of her official duties. She retired in 1987 after 
forty-five years of service. 

We asked Rita Guiney to supplement Walter Haas's oral history with 
some of her recollections from her vantage point in the executive office. 
In this interview, conducted November 9, 1994, Ms. Guiney gives a picture 
of the personal warmth, sensitivity, and vision that Walter Haas brought 
to his leadership of the companyqualities which fostered a family 
feeling at Levi Strauss & Co. and engendered strong employee loyalties, 
as well as creating a highly successful business enterprise. 

Ms. Guiney kept the focus of the interview on Mr. Haas and the 
company, with the reminder that this was for "Walter's oral history," not 
her own. She reviewed her transcript with care, clarifying her words 
when necessary and omitting a few sections where she felt the interview 
may have strayed from its central purpose. 



Ann Lage 
Interviewer /Editor 



June 2, 1995 

Regional Oral History Office 

The Bancroft Library 

University of California, Berkeley 



240 



APPENDIX B- -INTERVIEW WITH RITA GUINEY 



[Date of Interview: November 9, 1994] ## 



Hired at Levi Strauss & Co.. 1942; The Early Days 



Lage: Now, you don't want to talk about yourself. I know that. 

Guiney: I don't feel that it's appropriate. This is Walter's oral history 
and I want to confine my remarks to him. 

Lage: I understand. But we should at least begin by having you tell how 
you came to Levi's and where you came from. 

Guiney: All right. Well, it was during the war, and jobs were plentiful. 
I had an offer of five jobs, actually, at that particular time. 
Levi's was one of them. They all paid the same, so I had the 
dilemma of which one do I take. And when I went home at the end 
of the day and talked it over with my parents, they immediately 
said, "Take Levi's. They're good to their people." 

Lage: They knew that at the time? 

Guiney: The company had that reputation. And that was it. It certainly 
wasn't the building. It was a very old, old building, at 98 
Battery Street. 

I reported to a Mr. Beronio, Dave Beronio, who was credit 
manager at the time. Well, he was vice president. He really was 
an important executive in the company. 

Lage: And what was your job? 

Guiney: Secretary. I did his dictation, and some clerical work with it. 
But I worked for him exclusively, and it was just a very small 
operation. It's so hard, when you look at the giant that Levi's 



241 



Lage: 
Guiney : 



Lage: 
Guiney : 



Lage: 

Guiney: 
Lage: 

Guiney: 



has become, to remember that we were a speck on the earth. If you 
said you worked for Levi Strauss, many people wouldn't recognize 
it. Of course, if you said you worked for Levi's, the pants, the 
name Levi's was immediately recognizable, but not the company. It 
was a very small operation. 



I wonder how your parents knew of it. 
world? 



Were they in the business 



No, no. They're from the old country, from Ireland. But the 
company had a good reputation. I think generally people know, 
have a pretty good idea, of what companies are good to work for 
even today. 

Well, they do. 

You know, McKesson and Hewlett-Packard are good and, well, there 
are several. It was no different in those days. But that's how I 
took the job, or why I took it, because of the recommendation. 
Quite honestly, I felt I'll stay a month and if I don't like it, 
you know. But here I am. 



Here you are . You must have liked it . 
Francisco originally? 

Oh, yes. 



Were you from San 



Now, I want to know where you went from there, 
course of your career? 



What was the 



All right, well, I worked for Mr. Beronio and then Walter and 
Peter came back into the firm [after World War II]. Peter spent 
most of the day, I think the first couple of years, out at the 
factory at 250 Valencia Street. But Walter came back and was here 
[at Battery Street] full time. I hadn't met either one of them. 
Walter asked me to take some dictation one day, which I did. And 
I can remember I was a nervous wreck. This was the boss's son, 
you know, and he was --he could not have been nicer. But it was a 
lot different, you know, than working in the credit department. 



Growth, and Opportunities for Advancement 



Guiney: So, it sort of started that way. There was no grandiose plan, not 
at all. I just started working for him and eventually for Peter 
doing more and more. Walter was personnel manager at the time. 
As he gained confidence in me, and I think he felt that I had an 



242 



Lage: 
Guiney: 

Lage: 

Guiney: 
Lage: 
Guiney : 



Lage: 
Guiney : 



instinct for situations and for people and such, he had me 
screening the people that he hired. That was a wonderful 
experience and I loved it. It brought some real variety to my 
job, as you can imagine. Really, it just--the company started to 
grow. It was very, very exciting. I just took on more 
responsibilities, keeping work away from them that I knew I could 
handle to free up their time. 

Of course, as we got bigger, many good things happened. I 
was executive assistant. Then I was also secretary to the board 
of directors. We had a wonderful board. That's after we had gone 
public, and it was a very exciting time. Then, eventually, I was 
made a vice president. 

It has been a good career for you. 

It was an exciting career, very gratifying, especially to see the 
company grow from almost zero. Believe me. We were so small. 

And what is your sense about that growth? I mean, I loved 
Walter's sense of chance and good fortune, which is part of the 
story, I'm sure. 

Absolutely, the opportunities that it presented to people. 
And yet not all companies seize those opportunities. 

No, they didn't. But that's what made the Haases, both Walter and 
Peter, unique. You know, when you think about themand I feel I 
want to say this about Peter even though this is Walter's oral 
history and I'll confine my remarks to himwe had great respect 
for the way that they handled themselves. They came into a firm 
with wonderful backgrounds, education and rearing, the whole 
thing. I don't think anyone could ever, ever say that he felt 
intimidated by them. They had a lovely manner and tremendous 
respect for the people who were here. They felt strongly about 
providing us with a good environment and the opportunity to move 
ahead, instead of bringing people in from the outside. 

They promoted from within. 

They absolutely promoted from within and gave everyone who had 
anything on the ball a chance. If you were ambitious and cared 
about the company, cared about getting ahead, they gave you the 
opportunity. That was really most admirable. 



Lage: When you were doing this personnel screeningthis goes way back 
and so it may be an unfair question- -but was there something 



243 



unique about the kinds of things you were supposed to be looking 
for? 

Guiney: No, not really. No, I wouldn't say there was. Just a feeling 

that the person could do the job and he or she was intelligent and 
maybe the right fit for the company, people who cared. It was 
really a gut reaction. 

Lage: Because I get the sense that choosing good people is one of 
Walter's fortes. 

Guiney: Oh, absolutely. Yes, I would say that. He has that marvelous 
instinct for people. 

Lage: I'm going to pose a question that really didn't come up till later 

in time, with the attention to women's issues. Looking at your 

own career, would you have been doing something different if you 
were a man, do you think? 

Guiney: Yes, very definitely. But in those days, Ann, no one ever thought 
about women's issues. That was the last thing on earth. We 
really just weren'tI'm sure that you find that difficult to 
understand today. As a historian, you know that it existed. 

Lage: Of course. You would have a very different interview, I think, 
[laughter] 

Guiney: Oh, I think so, too. But that never- - 
Lage: Didn't enter your mind. 
Guiney: Did not enter my mind. 

Lage: But I've read company literature where they're thinking about why 
don't they have more women in management positions, in the 
seventies, I believe. 

Guiney: Yes, that's right, when this issue really began to surface. 
Lage: But then you did become vice president, after all. 

Guiney: Yes, and that was wonderful. Walter was very interested in 
personnel, always, even long after he left it [the personnel 
manager position]. And I think that's one of the secrets of his 
success as well, that he was always in touch with personnel, the 
policies, what we were doing, what advancements were being made 
from within. I was fortunate enough to be there and see what was 
going on. 



244 



A Family Business with a Work Ethic 



Lage: Now, I know you have some thoughts about family businesses and how 
this one has succeeded and others haven't. Did you have a chance 
to observe Walter and Peter's relationship with the older 
generation, with their father and uncle? 

Guiney: Oh, yes, very respectful. 
Lage: Was it smooth? 

Guiney: Oh, very smooth. I don't mean every day it was smooth because 

Walter and Peter were both ambitious and wanted to get the company 
going. You know, really, when you think about what their father 
and Dan Koshland had experienced, life was so different then. And 
after the war things were changing rapidly. 

One of the things that really impressed me and impressed all 
the employees was their work ethic. I could not believe it. You 
know, in those days, Ann, some wealthy people who went into family 
businesses very often just put in time and maybe not every day. 
But they were here every single day from eight on to quitting 
time, or longer than that. I could never get over that. I was 
very young and I used to think, "This is amazing. Why would you 
want to work this hard when you don't have to?" 

Lage: Well, what was your answer? 

Guiney: It had to do with the way they were brought up. It was a work 
ethic and their sense of responsibility and the feelingWalter 
felt so strongly about his responsibility to the employees, their 
jobs, all the factory workers. They have great respect for the 
operators. They were always concerned when any kind of a crisis 
would arise that might curtail the operations and the factories 
because those women were so dependent on their salaries. That 
just has to be wonderful breeding, just a good background. That 
really impressed all of us. We all felt a responsibility to do a 
job because of their great feeling of responsibility as well. 

Lage: That's the way those things get passed on and become part of the 
company culture, it seems. 

Guiney: Yes it does. It is by example. But I think I mentioned to you 
about other companies, family-owned companies in San Francisco- - 
Fuller Paints and Folger Coffee were the big ones, and there were 
several others. Fuller Paints, I think it was Norton Simon 
Company which bought them years ago, I don't know, thirty, forty 
years ago. Then Folgers was bought out by Proctor & Gamble. 



245 



That's why you can't help but have respect for these men who hung 
in there and just made it grow. They are the largest apparel 
manufacturer in the world. 

Lage: And they seemed to really enjoy it. 

Guiney: Loved it. 

Lage: That might be the key as well as work ethic. 

Guiney: That's right, the challenge that it presented. They loved it, 
absolutely. It was just a very exciting time. I don't mean we 
didn't have problems along the way. Obviously, everyone does from 
time to time. But there waspeople loved Levi's. They really 
do. I think that might have been a slogan or something. But we 
were always very proud to be able to say that we worked here. 
Believe me when I tell you this, the reputation that the company 
had was just phenomenal. When you said you worked for Levi's, 
automatically people would say, "Well, I hear that's a great 
place." I heard it all through the years. 

You know, it's sort of a contagious feeling, the enthusiasm 
that we experienced. Naturally, when you're talking to friends 
and business associates, you convey these feelings and it just 
goes on and on. It was really quite wonderful as I look back on 
it. 



Generational Differences, Growth, and Change at Levi Strauss & Co. 



Lage: Now, we talked before we started recording about some of the 

things you wanted to get across. In general, some of them were 
qualities that you were afraid would not be reflected strongly 
enough in Walter's own remarks. Maybe we can talk about the 
qualities and then you can help by illustrating some of them. 
Now, that's the hard part, I know, but let's see. 

First of all, since I worked for Walter for so many years, I don't 
want--I don't know what the reaction might be if someone were to 
pick this up and read it ten years from now and think, "Well, why 
wouldn't she say it? She worked for him." That would do him such 
a disservice. I just want to make that clear. 

Lage: Let's start by going back to the question about the operation of 
the business as a family affair. Do you recall any way that the 
family jointly made decisions or any occasions when Peter and 



Guiney : 



246 



Walter had to kind of prod to get their father and uncle to move 
ahead? 

Guiney: Well, of course they had to prod. Absolutely. In fact, the 

growth of the company today would be beyond their comprehension, I 
think. And their father was a brilliant man and Dan Koshland 
equally great. They never, in their wildest thoughts, ever 
imagined that it would be as big as it has become. I remember, I 
think it was about in the 1960s--I'm not exactly certain Mr. 
Haas, Sr., said to me one day, "My children will take the company 
national and my grandchildren, international." And this was 
probably early sixties or late fifties or something. So this will 
give you an idea of how little they anticipated the growth 
happening as quickly as it did. 

Lage: But he did foresee big things, even though he had the timeline 
wrong . 

Guiney: Oh, absolutely. He was--I think both Walter and Peter had a 

wonderful relationship with the two men. I'm sure, initially, 
wanting to grow as fast as they did, that it was difficult because 
the elder men were more conservative. 

Lage: Less wanting to take risks? 

Guiney: They were men of their times. It was different, Walter and Peter 
coming back into the firm and seeing the changes that were taking 
place in the world. 

Lage: One thing Walter pointed out was recognizing the youth market, the 
baby boom. 

Guiney: That's right, right after the war. 
Lage: Right. 

Guiney: And the trend to casual living. That's when they developed the 

casual linefaded blue jeans, leisure wear, et cetera. Oh, yes, 
very definitely. 

Lage: Now, were things like this a result of the top executives talking 
together? 

Guiney: Yes, I think you know that Walter brought in Mel Bacharach and Art 
Roth, and it was just what the company needed- -more sophisticated 
men with marvelous educational backgrounds. They were both 
important executives at the time. When you think about it, it was 
done in such a decent way that the older executives stayed on, and 



247 



Lage: 
Guiney: 

Lage: 
Guiney : 

Lage: 
Guiney : 



the younger people, led by Walter and Peter, certainly, brought 
the company to even greater success. 

Did you see that happen? 



Oh, absolutely, 
story. 



That is really a significant part of the success 



That would be a touchy situation, bringing in the young college 
and business school grads. 

That's right. These were men who started, most of them started in 
the basement, you know, in the shipping department and then 
gradually worked their way up. 

Was there grumbling? Were you aware, in your position, that 
people grumbled about these young upstarts? 

Oh, both men, both Mel and Art, were good human beings. Of course 
it was difficult. I'm sure it was difficult for them, but they 
handled it well. They knew, anyway, that Walter wouldn't have 
tolerated their getting out of line. And of course they had 
arguments the way that anybody would in that position. But they 
were basically good people, and they were able to move ahead. 
Walter was very involved in pushing them forward. 



Walter, a Visionary and Marketing Genius 



Lage: There's a lot of vision there. Maybe that doesn't come out 
strongly enough in his oral history. 

Guiney: He is a real visionary and a marketing genius. 

Lage: Now, tell me more about that. That's something that we haven't 
captured thoroughly enough. 

Guiney: Absolute genius in this area, and everybody would say this. 
Lage: What do you mean by marketing genius? 

Guiney: He had a feeling for it. He is a very sophisticated man, as you 
know, and very aware of what is going on around him, involved in 
many phases of life, and very creative. He had an excellent grasp 
of economic conditions and was a strong proponent of free trade, 
dating back many years when the textile industry was cloaked in 
protectionism. 



248 



Lage: Can you think of marketing decisions? 

Guiney: Very creative. If somebody like Bill Day from the ad agency, whom 
he loved, would come with an idea, he would know; his instincts 
would be, "Let's try it." He wasn't afraid to try new things. I 
think it was always a challenge to him, and he has tremendous 
vitality and charisma. It all just works together if you have all 
of these qualities. He loves life. Very definitely he loves 
life. So, put them all together, the high intelligence, the 
awareness, certainly the vision- -number one the visionthe 
excitement of doing something new. Absolutely. 

Lage: He loved new things? 
Guiney: Absolutely loved new things. 

Lage: Now, when you say marketing, is this partly knowing a good ad 

campaign or is this knowing what's going to be a good new product? 

Guiney: Well, it would be a combination of both, you know. Ideas would 
bethat doesn't mean that every single decision was right. It 
never is for anybody. 

Lage: In fact, we had a whole session on wrong decisions, which I 
thought was significant in itself. 

Guiney: Absolutely. But he wasn't afraid to take chances when other 
people were. That's what moved this company forward. 

Lage: So, would he have to argue to take those chances? 

Guiney: Definitely. He certainly argued with his dad. But he did, and he 
usually won. 



A Unique Relationship between Management and Employees 



Guiney: Walter was very concerned about the employees, that they would get 
recognition. We were small at the time and as we grew, he really 
stayed on top of these things. It's amazing when you think back 
on it. But that's what made the company unique. It was very 
close. This is a very difficult thing to maintain as you grow 
bigger. 

Lage: Did it reach a point, as the company grew, where the closeness 
couldn't be maintained? 



249 



Guiney : 



Lage: 
Guiney: 



Lage: 
Guiney : 



Lage: 
Guiney ; 



Lage: 
Guiney : 
Lage: 



No. Well, the bigger you get, the more difficult it is. 
Certainly Bob is doing a tremendous job in what he has 
accomplished. He's just a great CEO. But it's certainly harder 
if you're--! think, what are we todaya $6 billion company as 
compared with when we were getting up to a million; I remember how 
exciting that first million was. We got a big bonus, which we 
received from time to time. The bonus system was marvelous 
because a lot of firms, I'm going way back now, there weren't many 
firms that gave bonuses. But at Christmas we always got one and I 
was the envy of all my friends, and I loved it. 

You picked the right place to come to work, I'd say. 

You bet I did. Absolutely, my guardian angel was up there looking 
out for me. I had many advantages here that my friends didn't 
have. One worked at Standard Oil and another one at Shell, close 
friends, and they had good jobs. But I had an advantage. I had 
the edge, absolutely, in working here. Because of the 
relationships, too. The other companies were just so austere. 
You would never know management . This one friend of mine at 
Standard could not believeIn fact, this is kind of a silly story 
but she was at 220 Bush, I guess it was, and when the top 
executives would walk into the building elevator in the morning 
they had elevator operators in those daysthe door would 
automatically close. They wouldn't wait for anybody else. As I 
said, it's a silly story but 

It's reflective of a culture in the organization. 

Yes. All of us had such a good relationship with the Haases, and 
that's what made a difference. You had the greatest respect for 



them, but you also liked them as human beings, 
it. 

Well, it makes you work harder, I think. 



That's the key to 



Oh, absolutely. There wasn't that rarefied air that permeated 
executive offices that you heard about. And you did in those days 
and I'm sure it still exists, maybe not to the extent that it did 
years ago because there was, if you go way back, there was a 
barrier between management and the employees that definitely 
existed. But we didn't have it here. 

How long were you here? When did you actually come? 
I worked for Levi's for forty-five years. 
And you came in forty--? 



250 



Guiney : 
Lage: 

Guiney : 



Lage: 



Guiney: 



Guiney : 
Lage: 

Guiney: 
Lage: 
Guiney : 
Lage: 
Guiney : 

Lage: 
Guiney: 



Forty-two. 

Forty- two. So you retired in '87. You really were here for the 
period of dramatic growth. 

As I told you, we were a speck on the earth. I don't know what 
the sales were at that time, probably, because we jobbed, you 
know, linens and men's furnishings and, I'm not sure, maybe $6 
million total with everything (possibly $1 million in jeans 
sales). So, to go from that to--I'm trying to remember what the-- 
well, of course, we're 6 billion today. But I think it may have 
hit two and a half billion when Walter left his position as CEO. 

You have told me how the two brothers related and had their 
spheres. Would you describe that? Maybe their different styles 
and their roles? 

I think Walter was perfect for his areas of responsibility- 
marketing and planning (I discussed this earlier) --and Peter with 
his great affinity for finance and operations. Peter was very 
interested in production and toured the plants all of the time. 
He spent the first couple of years at Valencia Street and got to 
know that face of the business extremely well. So, his expertise 
was very beneficial as we grew bigger. 

II 

They are different personalities, each with his own particular 
strengths and a tremendous capacity for hard work. 

Do you think that ' s why it worked out to have two brothers working 
in tandem? 

Yes I do. I'm sure that was a contributing factor. 

And you worked for both of them. 

Yes, for many, many years. 

Was that difficult, to be responsible to both? 

Oh, at times, maybe, if the work load got heavy. Then eventually 
I got an assistant. Personalitywise it wasn't difficult for me. 

But you never felt like you had to serve two masters? 
Oh, of course you do. 



251 



Lage: And sort of keep a confidence for one and then something else for 
another? 



An Informal Role as Ombudsman 



Guiney: I never had any problem keeping confidence because that's the way 
I was brought up, that what goes on in the house stays in the 
house. Your word is your bond and all of those things. I was 
given very good values. So that was never a problem for me. They 
didn't talk about each other. There was none of that pettiness. 
They're really fine men. As I said, the only problem I might have 
in that respect would be if the work load got heavy for both of 
them. But you solve those problems. That was certainly routine 
stuff that you took care of. 

Lage: Mr. Haas mentioned to me that one of your great values to him was 
in alerting him when someone was dissatisfied or had a problem. 

Guiney: Yes, I had a pretty good relationship with the employees. They 
used to call me at home a great deal and confide in me and ask 
advice from time to time. I thought I had that responsibility to 
them [Walter and Peter] , to let them know when a situation was 
getting critical or if somebody was in need of financial help. 

That ' s one of the things that I look back on with the 
greatest satisfaction. When the employees, especially the ladies 
in the factories, had an emergencyit could have been the death 
of someone close or illness in the familythey had no place to go 
for financial assistance. Walter and Peter established a fund. 
They used to call it the slush fund because there was really 
nothing formal about it except that money was there. 

The manager of the plant would call me and say this is what 
has happened. We need five hundred or we need a thousand dollars 
and not repayable, certainly. They would never be in a position 
to. And they had it within twenty-four hours. It was a lot of 
money in those days. I can't tell you how gratifying that was, to 
have had an opportunity to assist in that work because these 
operators are just wonderful people. They work so hard, and they 
care, and they're loyal beyond belief. 

Lage: And they don't have a big safety net. 

Guiney: Absolutely not. And this has continued, and now the fund is 
established. 



252 



Lage: 
Guiney : 



Lage: 
Guiney; 



Lage: 
Guiney : 



Lage: 
Guiney : 

Lage: 

Guiney : 
Lage: 
Guiney : 

Lage: 
Guiney : 



It's not a slush fund anymore. 

It is no longer a slush fund. No, it has a name. But that went 
on for years and years, and the Haases get full credit for this 
one. It's one of the nicer stories. I think I was able to be of 
help there, I mean, as far as the employees confiding in me. 

Then you'd be in the position of not really being able to break a 
confidence but still wanting to alert the Haases. 

I think I was able to do it. I remember when they started hiring 
minorities. You know there's always one who tries to make life 
difficult, it seems to me. One day this woman called me and was 
very upset because this new employee, a minority, had been given a 
promotion that she felt that she was entitled to. She was wrong. 
She wasn't entitled to it, because she wasn't as good, you know. 
She was afraid to say anything because she didn't want to 
jeopardize her position. So, that's just a little incident, but I 
was able to work it out with her boss. 

But work it out in what way? You say she wasn't really qualified. 

No, she wasn't. But there were other things that she could do. 
Her boss, who happened to be a good friend of mine, wanted to 
avoid an "incident." By giving her a little more recognition, she 
was satisfied. 

I see. 

Oh, there were so many things. I can't remember them now. But I 
do think that this relationship helped them. 

Were these employees that you knew or would people just know of 
you and know that they could call? 

Well, both. Most of them I knew. 
You were an ombudsman in some ways . 

Well, Walter often called me an ombudsman and that was an 
important part of my job. It really was. Even though there was 
nothing in writing about it, you know it's one of the 

It's not your job description. 

No, it wasn't, but I felt very strongly about my responsibilities 
to them in this regard. 



253 



The Fifth Generation 



Lage: He also said that you were good at being an ombudsman with his 
kids. 

Guiney: [laughter] Wonderful children, just the best kids ever. 

Lage: He said they checked the situation out with you before they'd 
approach him for a loan or something. 

Guiney: They were great fun, very well brought up and again, like their 
parents, totally unaffected, and warm. 

Lage: Did he bring them around to the office? 
Guiney: Oh, all the time. 

Lage: And were you surprised when Bob came into the business? It sounds 
like it kind of surprised people. 

Guiney: Not really. It did surprise his father, because he never put 
pressure on him. But he was very close to his dad, and I just 
felt that he would some day. I don't know if I even voiced it. 
But this is a unique family, you know, and here it's the fifth 
generation, which is unique in itself. I don't know how often 
this existed in the United States, really. 

Lage: Probably not too often, at least in active management. 

Guiney: That's what I mean. 

Lage: And the company offered the challenges. 

Guiney: That's right. Absolutely. 

Lage: A different kind of company might not have attracted the younger 
generations. 

Guiney: Oh, definitely. You know, because the company had the reputation 
that it did, as I told you, they were able to attract all through 
the years the very best from the graduate schools. 

Lage: Now, every now and then you hearI'm being the devil's advocate-- 
you hear criticisms. Apparently there were people, former 
employees, out picketing here the other day. And I understand 
that Levi's is no longer listed in the book on the hundred best 
places to work in the U.S. 



254 



Guiney: Some of the discontent relates to layoffs. As I said earlier, the 
world is changing, going into the technology that exists today and 
the company has to compete. 

Lage: Like the robots in the factories that I read about this morning? 

Guiney: Yes. It is a matter of survival for companies today. They 

couldn't make any other decision but the one that they made and 
survive . 



Executive Offices in the Early Days 



Lage: How were Peter and Walter's offices set up, in the early days? I 
mean the physical layout. 

Guiney: Well, if you could have seen- - there ' s no way that you could ever 
imagine what crummy little offices they had. [laughter] 

Lage: Tell me. 

Guiney: When they came back to the company after the war, we were on the 
first floor at 98 Battery Street. The shipping department was in 
the basement, and the entire inventory was stocked on the upper 
floors if you can imagine it. To this day I look back and 
wonder, was it real? Anyway, they built two cubicles for Walter 
and Peter just inside the front door across from Mr. Beronio's 
desk. The cubicles had glass tops and were so small that a desk 
and two small chairs barely fit. There were only two private 
offices, for Walter, Sr., and Dan Koshland. 

Lage: So the cubicles were in the open area. 

Guiney: Yes, and they were in that space for yearsWalter heading 

personnel and Peter in charge of production. They did have the 
title of vice president, but certainly no visible signs of their 
status. Just unbelievable space. 

Lage: It didn't give them much privacy to do personnel interviews or 
handle problems. 

Guiney: No, it didn't. If they wanted to talk confidentially, they would 
go into their dad's office or somewhere else. But, oh no, because 
it was a swinging door and people were back and forth. It was 
when you think about their positionshorrendous. Everybody was 
amazed, especially their friends coming in, from their beautiful 
offices. And they were two-by-fours. I mean it. 



255 



Lage: Now, how did that change over the years? 

Guiney: In 1957, Howard Friedman came--I am sure Walter must have talked 
about him, the architect who married Dan Koshland's daughter, 
Phyllis, a wonderful human being and an excellent architect. 

We were moving up in the world. Obviously, with the growth 
of the company they had to make room for the new employees as they 
came along. So, in 1957 our offices went from the first floor to 
the fifth floor at 98 Battery Street, all floors having been 
converted into office space. At that time, they added a penthouse 
where they put the cafeteria and the offices for their dad and Mr. 
Koshland and Argonaut Securities , which handled their private 
investments. So then Walter and Peter and I had a little section 
on the fifth floor. It was really very nice. The offices were 
considerably larger with a lovely view. 

Lage: And your desk was outside both of their offices. 

Guiney: Yes. We were there until 1973 when we moved to Embarcadero 
Center. 

Lage: So Peter and Walter had those same offices until 1973. 

Guiney: Oh, yes, they stayed in those offices. Believe me, they weren't 

elaborate, but they were in comparison to what they had had on the 
first floor. 

Lage: Were you ever a go-between between them? 

Guiney: What do you mean? 

Lage: Well, would one say, "Tell--" 

Guiney: No. They were really next to each other, and they were very easy, 
very relaxed. No, not at all. 



Going Public, Moving to Embarcadero Center 



Lage: Let's talk about the big decision to go public [in 1971]. Would 
you have any insight into how that came about and what Walter's 
role was? 

Guiney: Well, Walter's the one who would give you all of that. 
Lage: I know, but you might be able to fill in a little bit. 



256 



Guiney: I was on the sidelines watching it take place. The growth was 

phenomenal. They wanted to expand, and so they had to go public. 
I think it was a difficult decision for them, especially the 
father. This is a man who coveted privacy. But it was something 
that they knew they had to do. We had mixed feelings with it, 
great excitement and being on the New York Stock Exchange, 
certainly financial reward for all of us but at the same time 
giving up that privacy. We felt it would never be the same, but 
it stayed the same for a long time. It was really quite 
wonderful. 

But also, I don't have to tell you, it was a headache keeping 
up with the analysts and being under constant review by them. 
It's so much better now that it's private again. But they were 
exciting times. It provided the wherewithal to greatly expand. 
That's what it was all about. But I don't know how much 
information Walter gave you on that. 

Lage: He did. But I just thought you may have a different light on it 

or on the conflicts in the family, you know the personal conflicts 
regarding the decision. 

Guiney: Nothing more than what he told you that I would know. There 

weren't big battles or anything like that. Certainly there were 
questions and concerns which would be perfectly normal but nothing 
beyond that. 

Lage: Now, the move down to Embarcadero Center came just about that 
time. That seemed to be kind of a traumatic event. 

Guiney: We moved to the Embarcadero in 1973. We'd gone public in '71, and 
we needed space. We were just bursting at the seams. We thought 
that would be an exciting move for the company being in a 
skyscraper and all. But actually there were two banks of 
elevators so that if you wanted to go down to see somebody in 
personnel, for instancewe were on the twenty-eighth flooryou'd 
take an elevator and then get off at the sixteenth floor and then 
transfer to another bank of elevators. It was such a pain in the 
neck that you found yourself not doing it as often and maybe 
picking up the phone instead of having that personal contact. 
That's what was missing. 

Walter noticed that, and it was really upsetting him. That's 
when he decided that he was going to build a spot for everyone to 
be together. You know what happened then with Gerson Bakar, when 
he was on that camping trip. 



257 



Lage: It's such a beautiful headquarters now, and it is interesting how 
the architecture allows or disallows a certain kind of company 
culture . 

Guiney: Oh, absolutely. It's so marvelous in the warm weather to see the 
employees out in the park. They built that beautiful park and 
gave it to the city. And to see the employees enjoy to the 
fullest, and their families coming down here. And of course, the 
people in San Francisco just loving it. Frequently, on a weekend 
if you come by you'll see bridal parties taking photographs. 
Beautiful surroundings. It has worked out very well, really. 
There's great pride in it. 



Mel Bacharach and Art Roth 



Lage: You mentioned Mel Bacharach. 

Guiney: He was very important in the firm. He was a maverick, did some 
marvelous things, introduced Sta-Prest. 

Lage: Now, when you say he was a maverick, what do you mean? 

Guiney: He was always trying new thingseven orange, lemon and lime 
jeans, for instance. 

Lage: That was his idea? 

Guiney: Oh, yes indeed, it was hysterical. 

Lage: Yes, that must have set the old timers on their ears. 

Guiney: You can imagine the colors. Anyway, Mel was an excellent 

executive and made some very important contributions to the growth 
of Levi's. 

Lage: Sta-Prest. Do you have anything to add to the story of how that 
came about? 

Guiney: Well, I am sure Walter explained that to you- -that Koret had the 
patent on it or on a similar process, and Mel became very 
interested in the idea and went to Walter. I remember it cost a 
million dollars to build the equipment, which at that time was 
astronomical. Anyway, Walter gave him the go-ahead. 

Lage: Now that's an important thing. It seems illustrative of the 
willingness to take risk or have faith in your executives. 



258 



Guiney: 
Lage: 

Guiney: 



Lage: 

Guiney: 

Lage: 

Guiney : 



Oh, absolutely. 

And was certainly with the company for a long time, 
anyone else like that? 



Now, is there 



Well, Art Roth made some wonderful contributions. He was hired 
out of Stanford. Mel came from Berkeley. Art was in advertising 
for a number of years and did some exciting things. We were, as I 
said, we were so small and very cowboy. 

Yes, I've seen some of the ads emphasizing the cowboy look. 
Very cowboy-oriented. 

Would he have been one of the people who thought about attracting 
the youth market? 

Oh, yes. He and Mel worked with Walter with the idea of getting 
to the youth and producing garments for leisure wear. I remember 
we had faded blue denims, casual pants, and that was our first 
entrance into the casual market. That's when we made that giant 
step forward. 

Then Art went from advertising into sales and became very 
successful, and went back east. We were not known in the East at 
all. We were strictly western. Our first breakthrough in the 
eastern market came when we contracted with the J. A. Lamy 
Manufacturing Company to make Levi's--and also had their sales 
organization represent us. Cracking this market was a tremendous 
accomplishment. Art became regional manager and eventually the 
level of acceptance of Levi's products was astounding. 



Toughness and Decisiveness, Two of Walter's Outstanding Qualities 



Lage: Now, you mentioned that Mr. Haas is tough. 
Guiney: Yes. He was tough when he had to be tough. 

Lage: He doesn't come across as tough. He comes across as your ultimate 
nice guy. 

Guiney: He is an ultimate nice guy. 

Lage: Can you think of an instance that would illustrate this quality of 
toughness? 



259 



Guiney: Well, he'd be tough if an executive were to bring him a suggestion 
or a plan that he didn't approve of, that he really didn't believe 
in. That was it. He wasn't Mr. Nice Guy then. Unless he felt 
that it should be given a chance--now, that's something else 
again. But if he really didn't want something done, he was very 
emphatic about it. He was very strong. And certainly he did not 
suffer fools easily. 

Lage: Were decisions made in a group, or was it Peter and Walter, or 
would it be the top executives who made the key decisions? 

Guiney: Well, depending on the issue. 

Lage: Would you recall anything about the decision on Sta-Prest, for 

instance. Would that have been just Walter and Mel or would that 
have been discussed more broadly? 

Guiney: I believe Mel brought it to Walter. The decision was his and 

Peter's to go with it. But Mel reported directly to Walter. That 
was a top management decision. With that kind of an expenditure, 
it would have to be. Some people had wild ideas about what we 
should do and where we should be going. Top management made the 
decision on that. Absolutely. 

Lage: So, they listened. 

Guiney: Oh, definitely. Yes, and especially in Walter ' s--that was 

Walter's area so he was responsible as Peter was in finance and 
operations. They of course conferred with each other on major 
issues. 

## 

Lage: I know that Mr. Haas did a lot of work in the community. He 

talked about the National Alliance of Businessmen, in particular. 

Guiney: Oh, he was very committed to NAB and took great pride in their 
accomplishments, and was very involved in the community. 

Lage: Was that part of his work day at Levi Strauss? 

Guiney: Yes. I'm sure that, you know, there were certain things that went 
on at night. But most of it was during the day. And they were 
very involved. Well, that's part of their heritage, you know, 
their father, and their mother was, I believe, the first woman 
president of the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Museum of 
Modern Art. And of course, their father had a marvelous career as 
well with his directorships. Walter, I don't have to tell you, 
became a director of Pacific Bell, United Airlines, a trustee of 



260 



Lage: 
Guiney: 



Lage: 
Guiney i 



Lage: 
Guiney; 

Lage: 
Guiney : 



Lage: 
Guiney: 



Ford Foundation, and the Trilateral Commission. He was involved 
in numerous projects--! think his decisiveness made the enormous 
activity possible. 



Illustrate that if you can. 
decisiveness? 



In what way did he show his 



Well, you know, there are people who have a difficult time making 
decisions. Adlai Stevenson was supposed to be one. Walter did 
not. Something was presented to him and it needed a decision. 
After deliberating a sufficient amount of time, he would make that 
decision and move on. I think that's one of his real strong 
points. 

That's probably something very crucial to management style and 
success. And he would move on, you say? 

And move on to the next situation. Very definitely. He was 
strong. My concern with this oral history is that, because he's 
so modest, his strength might not always come through in his 
words . 

It helps if we have an instance to illustrate the abstract 
quality, you know. 

Well, we talked about Sta-Prest. He had to make a decision, yes 
or no. That's what I'm saying. It wasn't-- 

Some people would just fuss with it forever. 

Oh, that's very common. It's very common with executives. Not 
your top people as a general rule, but there are many intelligent 
people in business who have a difficult time doing so. But that 
was never a problem with him. That doesn't mean that he didn't 
worry. I'm sure he had his share of that. Anybody would at that 
level. But he--how can I say this? He would deliberate a certain 
amount of time. He would look at the problem or situation from 
every angle, make a decision and move on. I'm repeating myself 
but that's the way it was. Every major decision that was made 
comes into this category. Let's face it. Going public, expanding 
distribution, any new idea, our entry into the casual market, do 
we stay as we are, we're growing. Levi's jeans has always been 
tremendously successful and so, you know, what are you looking 
for? How far do you want to go? So all of these-- 

Was he an information gatherer? 

Oh, he wanted the information brought to him as concise as 
possible. 



261 

Lage: Tell me about that. 

Guiney: He just dreaded these reports that went on and on. He knew some 
people are given to-- 

Lage: Did he ever have you summarize a report? 

Guiney: No. Those reports were summarized when they came to him. But he 
would collect the information, absolutely, the pros and cons on 
whatever it was and then make a decision based on that. 

Lage: Did his managers feel free to come to him? 

Guiney: Absolutely, very accessible. Never a problem there. 

Lage: That's important. 



Maintaining a Family Atmosphere at Levi Strauss & Co. 



Guiney: Levi Strauss was a different atmosphere, you have to remember, 
too. It was family, unlike- - 

Lage: Did you feel that a great deal, the family nature of it? 

Guiney: Oh, absolutely. We all did and loved it. That's what made it 
special. 

Lage: Was it because the employees themselves were kind of enclosed in 
the family? 

Guiney: Well, we felt very close to management. You always felt you could 
go to them. You could go to Walter and Peter with any problem. 
They always had time for you. As we were getting bigger and 
bigger, and it was becoming more difficult, I was able to sort of 
zero in on what was important and what wasn't. 

Lage: Sure. So, were you a gatekeeper, in a sense? 

Guiney: You might call it that. 

Lage: That's a very delicate position. 

Let me just ask you one other thing that I'm wondering if we 
have shown. Did Walter have a delicacy with handling people? For 
instance, I'm sure there were times when one executive would feel 
overridden, or they didn't get promoted, or the outsider came up. 



262 



Did he have a way of making that person feel part of things, or 
how did he handle that? 

Guiney: He was very good with people always, and if somebody didn't get 
the promotion because he wasn't qualified, it hurt him a great 
deal. But he knew it. 

Lage : He knew he could do it . 

Guiney: Oh, absolutely. Very strong in that area. He did what he had to 
do. Never mistake that. He had a very nice way with them, but 
people knew that once he made a decision it was to stand. That 
doesn't mean that they couldn't go in and talk about it. They 
could discuss it. He would always listen, always listen. But his 
decision was final. 

Lage: Did he have a way of softening the blow? 

Guiney: Most of the time. I thought he handled those situations extremely 
well. And when you're dealing with personnel, it can be 
difficult. 

Lage: And long-time employees. 

Guiney: They really were good to long-time employees, as I look back on 
it. And people stayed here forever, as you can see. That's not 
going to happen anymore. I was listening to a psychologist talk 
the other evening. He said that people will change jobs three and 
four times--careers--three or four times in a lifetime, now. So, 
you won't have that any longer, which is sad in many respects. 



Passing on Family Values in a Complex Corporate World 



Guiney: The world is changing. Technology is changing everything so 

rapidly. Then, of course, they say in the future, people will be 
working at home maybe two or three days a week. 

Lage: Tied in by computer. I thought of this trend when you were saying 
how the Haases preferred to see people in person rather than pick 
up the phone. Now you communicate by e-mail. 

Guiney: That's it. So you can imagine how far it's gone and how much 
further it'll go. 

n 



263 



Lage: 
Guiney : 



Lage: 
Guiney : 

Lage: 
Guiney : 



Lage: 
Guiney : 



Lage: 
Guiney : 



Lage: 
Guiney: 



I think it's interesting, just briefly, to get your sense of how 
things are changing now, or staying the same. 

Oh, it's changing very rapidly. As I said, the technology itself 
is changing the whole world. Management is different today than 
it was years ago because it's by committees now, by teamwork. 
It's totally different. Years ago, Walter or Peter would make a 



decision, and that was it. 
today. 



But that's not true in all businesses 



Does Bob Haas operate that way? 

Well, yes, with his team. Bob definitely makes the final 
decision; it is his responsibility, but it's in conjunction with 
others. They even have it in factories now. You know, it's all 
team effort throughout the entire organization. 

They have it in schools. Kids are learning that in schools. 

Yes, it's a different world. But Bob's caring for people is still 
the same, caring to get them as many opportunities as possible and 
by exposing them to various programs to broaden their horizons, to 
enrich their lives, to be able to work more closely with the 
person next to you, who might have a different color skin or a 
totally different background, being able to appreciate that 
individual for what he or she is. 

It sounds like the values have traveled down, but the means are 
different. 

Absolutely. They have. The values have traveled all the way 
down, and it's rather amazing when you think of how the parents 
did it, having had all the exposures to wealth and prominence. 
But they were able to accomplish it. It's very evident when you 
know the children. And their children are being brought up the 
same way. 

Really. You see that, too. 

Yes. Really nice kids, totally unaffected. They're very involved 
with their children's lives, more so than earlier generations. I 
remember Walter saying that while they were growing up his parents 
were caring but not that involved. 

One thing I've enjoyed in Walter is that several times he had 
shown how his children influenced him. And it seems very sincere. 

Oh, very sincere. 



264 

Lage: He's a person who listens. 

Guiney: Very definitely. His family was always number one and they had a 
definite impact on him. I have often thought that no matter which 
category--"genes" or "jeans"--Walter has a remarkable record of 
achievements, having guided the cowboy's tailor from relative 
obscurity to international fame, and leaving him in good hands. 
I must say it was great fun for me to go along for the ride. 

Lage: Thank you for lending your insights to Walter's oral history. 



Transcriber: Melanie Schow 
Final Typist: Shannon Page 



265 

Appendix C 



UNIVERSITY Of CALIFORNIA, BERKKLEY 

4 



UEMJE1.EY PAVIS IIU'INL I.U.S AKCr.l.F.* NlVEWflDV. .MAN DIECO SAV HIANCL9OO | p(^-^|^fi)o| \ SANTA LARBAKA BANl'A CIXUX 

- 




OFFICE OF THE CHANCELLOR BEKKBi,F.Y, CALIFORNIA 94720 



June 22, 1993 



Mr. Walter A. Haas. Jr. 

2666 Broadway 

San Francisco, CA 941 1 5-1 147 

Dear Wally: 

The University of California celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1968, with the publication of a book 
called There Was Light. The book was edited by Irving Stone and contains 39 essays written by 
prominent Cal alumni about their university training, its effect on their life's work, and their 
thoughts upon entering the university. 

In celebration of the University of California's 125th anniversary, Mrs. Jean Stone, wife of the late 
Irving Stone, has generously offered to update the book. Accordingly, we would like to add new 
autobiographical essays written by alumni who represent a wide range of disciplines, interests, and 
backgrounds to reflect the enormous impact that Berkeley has had on the world. 

I would like you to consider writing one of the essays for publication in the new edition of There Was 
Light. Your name was selected following recommendations made by faculty, alumni, and other friends 
of the campus. 

The original edition contained reflections by such notable alumni as John Kenneth Galbraith, Glenn 
T. Seaborg, Jackie Jensen, Ralph Edwards, and Rube Goldberg. In updating the book, Mrs. Stone will 
retain some of the original essays and add about ten new pieces. 

Mrs. Stone has requested that essays be original and no longer than 3,500 words in length. A sample 
of one of the essays from the previous edition is attached for your information. She is willing to talk 
to you personally about your ideas and can be reached at (310) 274-0913. 

Essays should be completed by August 31, 1993 and sent to: Mary Keegan, University Relations 
2440 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94720; telephone (510) 643-6428. The essays will then be 
forwarded to Mrs. Stone who will edit the manuscripts. The book is scheduled to be published next 
year. 



266 



4 

"This book is a labor of love," Irving Stone wrote in the first edition's introduction. 1 hope you will 
look upon this request in that spirit. 

1 would appreciate knowing as soon as possible if you feel that you can participate in this exciting 
project, and I look forward to reading your essay! 

Sincerely, 




Chang-Lin Tien 
Chancellor 



Attachment 



267 



August 30, 1993 Autobiographical essay 

submitted for new edition of 
There was Light 

Having attended a small "progressive" grammar school where each student was allowed 
to advance at his or her own pace, I entered Galileo High School in San Francisco a couple of 
weeks before my twelfth birthday. I was unprepared for the educational and social pressures of a 
large public school and an easy target for the tough kids who were older, bigger, and wiser than 
I. It was a difficult period, but after losing one semester to illness and staying on after 
graduation to take courses in shop, I was able to enter Cal when my age was almost comparable 
to those of my classmates. 

- 

Nevertheless, because my life at home had been sheltered and because I was immature, I 
was initially overwhelmed by the size of the campus at Cal, the new responsibilities I was 
expected to take on and the new experiences I encountered all around me. 

My parents gave me an allowance to cover tuition, books, room and board, clothing, 
recreational activities, and charitable donations. It was my first experience with managing what 
were then (for me) large amounts of money, balancing a check book, and living within a budget. 
All of this while I was adjusting to being away from home for the first time and coping with the 
mysteries of a large and bewildering environment where I had to learn everything how to find 
my way around, shop in the A.S.U.C. store, do what was expected from me in R.O.T.C., use 
the library, and try to keep up with my studies and make the freshman tennis team. 

Yet despite these and other struggles, my four years at Cal were among the most 
important and happiest times of my life. During that period I grew in every way, made life-long 
friends, and developed an abiding pride and love for the University which I hold to this day. 

I continue to be amazed at the depth of the loyalty and commitment so many graduates 
have to what some consider a large and impersonal state University. Through the years I have 
searched for an answer from others who share the same feelings I do about Cal. Certainly there 
is pride in having attended one of the finest teaching institutions in the world in its outstanding 
faculty and curriculum and its adaptability to changing conditions. But there's something more 
important that binds me to the University though I have yet to figure out exactly what it is. 
Surely having been a part of the University family for four years is at the root of this feeling, but 
I still can't explain why it has created a tie that is so strong and unique. 

I'm not the first Haas to feel this way. Cal is a part of our family history. Both my 
grandfathers attended Cal though I'm not sure that either of them graduated. Dad was a 
distinguished alumnus; and our son, Bob, carried on and improved upon the tradition. He 
graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was valedictorian of his class. Then, our daughter Betsy showed 
great courage by going to Stanford. Later, she partly atoned for this traitorous act by graduating 
from Boalt Hall and also earning her teaching credential from Cal. She and I still have an annual 
bet of $1.00 on the Big Game, which at this writing appears to be a foolish wager on my part, 
albeit a sensible amount. My son, Wally, went to college elsewhere but is an enthusiastic 
supporter of the campus and its athletic programs. 

1 



268 



During my first two years I lived comfortably at Bowles Hall, and then I was invited to 
become a member of Alpha Delta Phi. As their first Jewish member, I hoped that by joining, I 
would help open the doors of other fraternities as well. Doing this has been something of a 
pattern in my life helping to broaden the membership policies of several private clubs. 

In my years at Cal, few of us challenged authority. We had been brought up to respect 
and follow the traditions and values of our elders so teachers, policemen, or people in 
positions of responsibility were not questioned. It was a time that was light years away from the 
student protests and activism that were the hallmark of my children's days in college. 

In 1934, at the height of the Depression, there was a general strike in San Francisco. 
Absolutely all services were closed down for the first and only time in the City's history. It was 
a major economic struggle; but many of us on the campus were indifferent, and unaware of the 
basic issues. We believed what we read in the local newspapers that this work interruption 
was caused by that communist, Harry Bridges, and his followers. 

A few of our more socially conscious classmates volunteered to help the thousands who 
were out of work. A close friend then, and a dear friend now, Jean Haven, skipped classes and 
spent hours in a soup kitchen to assist strikers. At that time, we couldn't understand her 
motivation. 

I remember certain professors with great fondness Ben Lehman in English, Robert 
Kerner in History, Ira B. Cross in Economics, and of course our Provost Monroe Deutsch was 
universally and affectionately admired by all the students. 

But classes were large and impersonal, and I didn't avail myself of the great opportunity 
to personally meet with my professors or get to know them socially. I was somewhat in awe of 
them and rather shy about taking the initiative which was my loss. I did get to know Scott 
Wilson, however, the resident manager of Bowles Hall; and Garff Wilson who worked in 
Administration and knew everybody in the university. 

My most meaningful experiences at Cal came in non-traditional ways, not through 
classroom learning. I had been an honor student in high school without having to study too hard. 
When I moved away from home and into the dorm, I quickly discovered how much I enjoyed the 
social life and extracurricular opportunities on the campus. I attended classes regularly, but 
didn't apply myself. My report card at the end of the first semester was about 50% Cs and 50% 
Bs which seemed okay to me. When my father saw my grades, much to my surprise, he blew 
his top. He said he wasn't going to spend his money on my education if I didn't want to receive 
one, and he would take me out of school if I didn't show improvement. Lesson learned. I 
raised my grades and managed to graduate as an Honor Student. 

One day a group of seniors visited me in my dormitory room telling me a great injustice 
was being done to a fine professor who was being disciplined. They assured me that the 
professor was an excellent teacher, admired by his students, and was being unjustly penalized for 
political reasons. They presented a petition for me to sign on his behalf, and I complied. 



269 



Some weeks later, I received a call asking me to come to President Robert Gordon 
Sproul's office. Knowing he was a good family friend, I thought he probably wanted to ask me 
about my first impressions of the campus as a freshman. He was most cordial in greeting me, 
and the visit began quite pleasantly. Then, he asked me to tell him my impressions of a 
particular Professor. I told him I wasn't in any of the man's classes and had never heard of him. 
When he showed me my name on the petition on behalf of this same man, I was mortified; and 
I've never signed anything of importance since, without reading it first. 

I also remember well an incident involving another close personal friend of my father's, 
Professor Henry Grady. Grady was a great teacher and later Under Secretary of State and author 
of our international free trade policy. I enrolled in one of his courses my sophomore year. 
When I took the final, I put a self-addressed card in the blue book we used for final exams. In 
those days, the reader would mail out the grade well in advance of official notification from the 
University. 

I thought it would be fun to tease my father by making him think I had failed the course, 
so I mailed another card to myself (with an F) knowing it would arrive at home before the real 
one could be received. My father was furious! "How could you embarrass me by flunking a 
course given by my best friend?" he asked. He railed and ranted and was so upset that I truly 
regretted what I had done. 

But of course the joke ended up on me, because I began to wonder about how I had really 
done on that damned test. Would I end up with an F or a D, which would only make my father 
angry all over again? I fretted and fumed and worried for about two weeks and blamed myself 
for a stupid and uncaring prank. You can imagine the relief I felt when the official card arrived 
with a B in the course, but I don't think Dad ever fully forgave me. 

During my sophomore year I decided to try out for the Daily Cal. Without any 
journalistic aptitude, it seemed my best chance would be to secure a position on the business side 
of our student paper. My first assignment was to try to get ads. It seemed to me my best 
prospects were the landladies with available rooms near the campus. I had expected the work to 
be tedious, but it proved to be depressing as well. I found myself soliciting from people in 
obvious economic need; yet, I wasn't sure that the ads would produce results. I was 
uncomfortable whenever I succeeded in making a sale because I felt I might be taking badly 
needed money to no avail. I quit the paper after only a few weeks, but I have never forgotten 
that you can only sell if you believe in the product and can only succeed if you are comfortable 
with what you are doing. 

I was part of one other commercial venture while at Cal my investment, with four 
others from Bowles Hall (Bob Coop, Bob Millen, Stan Brunsten and Stan Blush), in a 1916 
Pierce Arrow Phaeton. It was beautiful and provided us transportation, as well as a lot of fun. 
We bought it for about $25.00, but it was hard to keep it operating especially to keep it in 
parts. This model was already 20 years old, and dealers had no inventory. We had to go to the 
junk yard to try to find replacement tires. 



270 



When we needed money for expenses, we'd bank a roulette game in one of our rooms. 
We rotated the "bank" among the five of us, while the other four would knock on dormitory 
doors to get enough players to assure that the odds favored the bank. 

We also used the car to conduct a limousine service, with driver and footman (equipped 
with blinders) available to other students who wanted to make an impression on their dates. This 
small business was successful for several months until the Pierce Arrow just broke down and 
couldn't be repaired any more. It was a sad day for the five of us when the car was hauled away 
to a junk yard. We were paid $50 for the aluminum in the chassis, however, the first capital 
gain for all of us! 

While my affection for the Pierce Arrow was only temporary, I was obsessed throughout 
my four years at Cal with trying to make my Big C in tennis. I was something of a jock, and 
tennis was my best sport. I had won a few minor club championships and even a junior city title 
in San Francisco, so I was reasonably confident about my prospects, not realizing how limited 
my exposure had been to real competition. 

I did manage to earn my freshman sweater by winning a doubles match against Stanford 
and proudly wore it throughout my sophomore year. 

But reality set in when I tried to make the varsity. There were several players with 
considerably more ability than I possessed. I kept training, practiced long hours year round, yet, 
here were fellows with whom I could barely compete. Having achieved practically everything I 
had aspired to in the years until then, it was a shattering experience. I had to learn that even if I 
worked very hard to reach future goals there was no assurance they would be attained! 

What a glorious time it was, however, as I struggled to be a member of the varsity squad, 
trying to become a participating member in intercollegiate matches. There was individual 
heartbreak and occasional triumph, and my mood was always tempered by the fortunes of the 
team with some of whom I still maintain occasional and happy communication. 

My heart was broken during my sophomore year when I was asked to play a practice 
match against a senior to determine who was going to make the travelling squad to go south to 
play U.S.C. and U.C.L.A. At the time, making the trip was the most important thing in my life. 
I won the crucial contest in straight sets and savored not only the great achievement, but the 
likelihood that I could be a member of the varsity group for the next two years. 

It's difficult to describe my deep disappointment when the next day our coach took me 
aside, put his arm around my shoulder and told me he had decided to take the fellow I had beaten 
instead! He explained that my rival was a senior, it was his last chance for such a trip and that I 
had two more years remaining in my career. It seemed like a very unfair decision to me, and I 
came close to quitting. I couldn't accept his decision, and it was a long time before I could 
rededicate myself wholeheartedly to the team and its success. Remarkably, the coach and I 
remained good friends throughout my remaining years at Cal and for many years thereafter. 



271 



There's also a happy ending to the story of my struggle to earn a varsity letter. I 
continued to be a marginal member of the squad, calling lines and matches, and occasionally 
getting to compete when the outcome was already decided. Our final match of the season was 
against Stanford; and when I learned I was going to play second doubles, I realized that the Big 
C was mine and that all the hard work and determination had paid off. Nobody in the history of 
the Big C Society could have been prouder or more grateful than I was at that moment! 

Actually we had a remarkably fine team, winning both the Pacific Coast Championship 
and the Intercollegiate Championship during both my sophomore and senior years. In a 1937 
edition of Life magazine, listing universities nationwide who were noted for excellence in 
different sports, Cal was recognized for having been preeminent in tennis. It made me proud 
even to have played a small role in earning that distinction for our University. 

I have always had a great interest in sports of all kinds. They help build character and 
help individuals cope with difficult situations. Some of my friends, however, have questioned 
this enthusiasm and judged it to be misplaced. 

I used to commute to work in San Francisco from the Peninsula, always sitting next to 
one of these people. On the train we'd each read our newspapers. He constantly criticized me 
for looking at the sports page first, saying that someone with my responsibilities should begin 
with the front or the financial page instead. I said that I didn't think it made a difference since 
by the time we got to our destination, I completed reading the entire paper. For some reason this 
didn't satisfy him. Then one day I came across a quotation which ended the discussion. It said, 
"The sports page is an account of man's triumphs while the front page is an account of man's 
failures." Perhaps that's why I'm so intrigued by sports. 

I continue my great interest in Cal sports to this day with seats in the press box to all 
the football games (with former Chancellor Roger Heyns) and season tickets with classmates to 
all the basketball games. We miss very few games; and except for the years I was in the service 
during World War II, I believe I have attended every Big Game since 1923, a 9-0 Cal win, when 
I was seven years old. 

It has been a joy to reflect back on my years at Cal and try to recapture the highlights of 
a happy growing and learning experience. There were struggles the first year and then increased 
maturity and confidence as the months passed. Senior Week and graduation suddenly came much 
too fast, and with them, a major wrench as we realized that shared experiences and pleasures 
would be no more. 

From Cal I went to Harvard Business School where I met Evelyn Danzig, who was 
attending nearby Wheaton. We were married 53 years ago and now have a wonderful family of 
children and grandchildren who make us proud. 



272 



After 52 months in the army during World War II, I joined the family business, Levi 
Strauss & Co., and participated in its phenomenal growth from a small western wholesaler and 
manufacturer to the largest apparel company in the world. I also sought to honor a family 
tradition of helping the company be a model employer and an exemplary corporate citizen. What 
we accomplished to improve the work life of our employees and to serve our communities are the 
proudest memories of my many years in business. 

For my second career I bought a professional baseball team the Oakland Athletics to 
keep them from moving to Denver. My son and son-in-law took what had been a troubled 
franchise and built it into one of the finest organizations in baseball winning our division four 
times, the American League three times, and the World Championship once in the past four 
years. 

Through the years I have also served on the boards of several major corporations, 
government commissions, and civic and philanthropic organizations. My twelve years as a 
Trustee of the Ford Foundation gave me an awareness of the world's problems and how difficult 
it is to really make a difference, even with large infusions of money. The experience that really 
changed my perspective, however, came when President Lyndon Johnson appointed me Regional 
Director and Executive Committee member of the newly formed National Alliance of Businesses 
in 1968. Our role was to find jobs for 500,000 virtually unemployable people those who had 
been to prison, had substance abuse problems, or poor education. We accomplished our goal 
through the unprecedented collaboration of business, labor, and government. This experience 
taught me that through dedication and ingenuity business can help solve major societal problems 
that until then I had thought were primarily the responsibility of government. I feel that many of 
society's present ills could be addressed successfully by using this formula again. 

I also have been fortunate to receive many honors and awards, but the ones I treasure 
most were being chosen Alumnus of the Year in 1984 and then being awarded the Berkeley 
Medal in 1991. 

I have been blessed with a wonderful family and a long, happy, and rewarding life for 
which I am extremely grateful. There is no doubt in my mind that my four years at Cal helped 
form the values and aspirations that helped make this possible. I suppose that's as close as I can 
get to explaining why my heart skips a beat every time I hear the Cal marching band strike up 
"Our Sturdy Golden Bear" and why I will always be a loving, loyal and grateful Cal alumnus. 



Walter A. Haas, Jr. 

1155 Battery St. 

San Francisco, C A 94111 



Appendix D 



Letter from Mel Bacharach on 
growth of Levi Strauss & Co. 



273 

VMB, INC. 

VENTURE CAPITAL 

MEL L. BACHARACH 

PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER 
TELEPHONE (415)456-4414 
FACSIMILE (415)456-1428 

August 2, 1994 

Walter A. Haas, Jr. 

Levi Strauss and Co. 

1155 Battery Street 

P.O. Box 7215 

San Francisco, CA 94120-6950 

Dear Wally: 

At the recent "A's" game you asked if we would drop you a line outlining our thoughts on why 
Levi Strauss and Co. grew so magnificently from the end of World War II until now. I 
apologize for the delay in responding but have found the response to be more difficult than I had 
first anticipated. At any rate, I am going to do two things. First I am enclosing a few letters 
that 1 have taken from my files. They may assist you by jarring your memory regarding 
decisions made many years ago. I would appreciate it if you could return them to me after you 
have a chance to review. 

Next, I am going to follow this paragraph with a short list of occurrences, decisions, etc., that 
I feel were instrumental in the development of the company. As you know, I joined the 
company in 1948 (the total volume of the company the year before was $12 million) and I was 
recalled by the Navy on March 1, 1951. For that reason some of the correspondence prior to 
1951 that I would have retained was lost during the moves that Vera and I had to make. My 
list is also limited to the period from 1948 to 1979 when I retired. 

1. You made a decision in 1948 (and convinced your father and uncle of its value) to start 
hiring college graduates and MBA graduates. I was fortunate enough to be one of the 
first two individuals to be employed under this program. Many of the current 
management group at Levi Strauss & Co. are products of that program including the 
current president. 

2. Levi Strauss had in place when I joined the firm an Employee Stock Purchase Program 
which I feel was an outstanding means of rewarding employees for the job they 
performed and helped build employee morale and loyalty. 

3. A decision-was made in 1949 to discontinue the "Jobbing Departments". This decision 
allowed the company to concentrate its resources, both financial and human, on 
developing the more profitable and important products which we manufactured ourselves. 
It was an outstanding move and took a lot of intestinal fortitude and foresight. 

4. William (Bill) Lagoria, with your encouragement and "pushing" administered a very 
aggressive policy of developing new sales territories and dividing old territories. This 
program maintained a steady sales growth throughout the 40's, 50's and 60's. 



274 



5. During the late 40's a decision was made to join forces with the Lee Weinberg Sales 
Organization and later to incorporate them into the Levi Strauss & Co. organization. 
This gave us a sizeable increase in our sales force and expedited our penetration into the 
mid-western and eastern sections of the United States. 

6. In conjunction with the above a contractual agreement was reached with the JA Lamy Co 
which provided us with much needed production in the mid-west for distribution in the 
market served by the Weinberg Sales Organization. In addition to the agreement with 
Lamy production units were purchased in El Paso, Texas and Wichita Falls, Texas which 
kept our production capabilities running parallel with the development of the marketing 
program. 

7. In the mid-50's your father, your uncle and you authorized an exploratory trip to Europe 
by Bill Lagoria, Art Roth, Max Katzburg, and myself. I feel that the results of that trip 
and the encouraging reports which we brought back led directly to the development of 
the International Division of the company. That transformed the company from a strictly 
domestic program to one of international scope. 

8. During this same time frame a decision was made to purchase GWG in Edmonton, 
Alberta, Canada. This was our first venture into the realm of a subsidiary company 
operating outside of the United States as well as operating production units outside of the 
48 contiguous states. It not only led to our domination of the Canadian market but also 
taught us many lessons which were invaluable in expanding the international program. 

9. Along about that time we purchased Overman Manufacturing Co. The purchase of 
Overman not only increased our production capacity for the mid-western and eastern 
markets but also provided the company with invaluable know-how in the production of 
products other than jeans. Their experience and knowledge in the production of casual 
sports wear and work pants (Tab Twills) provided us with the ability to produce a much 
wider range of products. 

10. In the mid-60's a decision was made to separate or split the jeans and casual 
merchandising programs. Again this allowed the company to concentrate on those 
products that had the greatest sales and profit potential. As these programs developed 
a secondary and very difficult decision was made to discontinue the Western Wear 
Department. The opposition to this decision was very strong but the decision was right. 

11. The separation of the jeans and casual or sportswear departments allowed us to develop 
two very strong product lines. Complementing the Levi's 501 's was the program of 
white Levi's and corduroy jeans. You won't remember this but I certainly do. As 
Casuals Merchandise Manager I developed and wanted to introduce a khaki jeans item 
which was subsequently known as white Levi's. Mac Gaffney objected to the 
introduction of the item by the Casuals Department and you and Martin Kulick decided 
(over my very strong objections) to allow the Jeans Department to introduce and market 
the product. It teed me off but I have to admit that it was the right decision. 



275 



12. The Casuals Department had progressed from the late 50's to the early 60's at a steady 
but unspectacular growth. In the mid-60's I came to you and asked for an authorization 
to spend a million dollars developing a permanent press program based on a patent which 
was held by Koret. Either I was a good salesman or you had a great deal of confidence 
in my ability or we were both naive as to the potential gamble, but at any rate, your 
decision to authorize the expenditure led to the development of the Sta-Prest program. 
I am of course, proud of what we accomplished by that program as I feel it is' one of the 
best marketing programs ever developed by a soft goods manufacturer. 

13. The aggressive pursuit of mechanical engineering programs and R&D to develop cost 
reducing, labor saving devices was, in my opinion, one of the very strong elements in 
the development of Levi Strauss and Co. I can still remember the lady with a sledge 
hammer at the Valencia Street factory spitting out, inserting and hitting the rivets in a 
monotonous, and I am sure exhausting day long effort. 

14. With the success of the Permanent Press Program we started Levi Strauss Hong Kong 
along with the Tang Family as our partners. Although the Permanent Press Program was 
not an outstanding success in the colony, it did give us a sound base for the development 
of the Levi Strauss & Co. program in the Far East. The subsequent purchase of the 
Tang Family's interest in Levi Strauss & Co., Hong Kong fit with the long term 
philosophy of the company and was an excellent strategic move. 

15. In the 70's you made a decision to accelerate the advertising and promotion of Levi's 
501 's in order to maintain the market position of that product. The success of that 
decision cannot be over emphasized. 

Wally, the above is far from a complete list of the leadership and decisions that you and Peter 
made or participated in during my 31 years with the company. However, I hope that it will 
assist you in putting together your own oral history of your time at the company. If I can be 
of any further help, please let me know. 



Sincerely 




P.S. I almost forgot the program that allowed us to penetrate and dominate the discount 
market in Fort Worth, Texas when we blitzed the market with 36,000 pair of Orange, Lemon 
and Lime Spikes (for $1.00 a pair). A triumph! 




276 



O 
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Appendix E 

Haas Competition 
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+ RESOURCES 


Readine Packet: 


To ease your research burden, reading 
materials and extensive bibliography will be 
available before winter break. Contestants 
can give presentations based on the reading 
packet alone, or they can combine this read 
ing with their own research. Copies are 
available for purchase at $5 each in the CRM 
Program Office, 571 Barrows. 

Panel Discussion: 


In February, a panel discussion on the 
topic will take place before the preliminary 
round and will include business school and 
other U.C. faculty, and corporate representa 
tives. This is the best opportunity for contes 
tants to exchange ideas and develop a focus 
on pertinent viewpoints of the broad subject. 
All students interested in competing are 
strongly encouraged to attend this meeting. 

Videotaoes of Prior Years' Sneakers: 


Limited copies of previous years' presen 
tations are available for viewing on a sign-up 
basis. Arrangements can be made in CRM 
Program Office, 571 Barrows, 643-5316, or 
S/F MBA Program Office, 642-1406. 

Communications Grouv (44 Barrows): 


The Haas School Communications Pro 
gram staff are available to assist contestants 
in improving the delivery of their presenta 
tions through individual coaching and 
constructive critiques of their videotaped 
speeches. Call the Communications Group, 
643-8005 to make an appointment. 



277 




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278 
HAAS COMPETITION TOPICS 



1980 Under what conditions, if any, should the federal government give assistance in the form of loans or loan 
guarantees to private corporations in financial trouble? 

1981 What restrictions, if any, are appropriate for corporations to place on the personal lifestyle and public expression of 
their directors, officers, and employees? 

1982 Given the sizable reductions in federal expenditures for human and social services and the arts, what responsibilities, 
if any, do corporations have to increase their support in these areas in order to respond to the needs of their own 
employees as well as to the needs of the larger community? 

1983 What are the social and ethical issues for managers, shareholders, and employees, raised by corporate mergers and 
acquisitions? 

1984 What are the responsibilities, if any, of business firms for ameliorating individual and community hardships resulting 
from lay-offs and plant closings? 

1985 Are top executives of American corporations overpaid? 

1986 What criteria should be used to make pension investment decisions? 

1987 Do U.S.-based multinational corporations have a responsibility to consider the impact of their global location 
decisions on the economy and the society of the U.S.? 

1988 What are the responsibilities of corporations and business schools for the ethical conduct of business? How well are 
corporations and business schools fulfilling these responsibilities? 

1989 What are the political, social, and economic consequences of increased foreign direct investment in the U.S.? 
What are the appropriate responses to this investment, both by American and foreign business managers? 

1990 What responsibility do companies have for safeguarding and preserving the future quality of the earth's physical 
environment? Should companies subscribe to a voluntary code of environmental conduct that will commit them to 
eliminating pollutants that damage the air, water or earth? How should companies respond to public demands for 
expanded environmental regulation at the local, national and international levels? What role should the private sector 
play in balancing the conservation of the earth's natural resources with the need for future economic growth? 

1991 What is the extent and limit of the responsibility of the managers of American companies for assisting their employ 
ees to balance their careers with their family responsibilities? What is the responsibility of companies for accommo 
dating the special needs of female employees who wish to pursue their careers while having babies and raising 
families? How should corporate managers handle the conflicts that arise when the request of parenting or care-taking 
employees for special treatment of distinctive career paths clash with other corporate interests, traditional personnel 
practices or the expectations of non-parenting employees? 

1992 What are the scope and limits of the corporation's right to impinge upon the privacy of employees in order to protect 
the interests of the firm? For example, to what extent and by what means should firms attempt to control such 
employee behaviors as drug, tobacco, and alcohol use both on and off the job? To what extent is it appropriate for 
firms to use genetic testing and HIV testing to reduce health care costs? 

1993 What can and should corporations do to improve the quality of education and training in the countries where they do 
business? Asses the relative importance and value of company initiatives in three areas: Employee training programs, 
direct involvement with the schools through donations or employee participation, & support of public policy changes. 

1994 How can business managers most responsibly manage corporate downsizing? What are the moral, social, and economic 
implications of corporate downsizing? 

1995 Should companies promote the acceptance of diversity in the workplace, and if so, how? 



279 
REDUCING HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS Appendix F 

UPDATE 

Organization: SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE SEASON OF SHARING FUND 

Grant Awarded: 1994, $50,000 

Note: The Haas Fund's 1994 grant to the Season of Sharing Fund was approved in October by Walter 
to provide a leadership grant to kick off the 1994 drive. 

The Season of Sharing Fund (SOS) is now entering its 9th year. It has truly become a community 
institution, serving as a vehicle both for individuals to assist their less fortunate neighbors, and as a 
unique pot of unrestricted dollars with which service agencies can respond to a client's emergency need. 
Although hi the course of our work we repeatedly hear from grantees how much of a difference small 
cash grants can make in the lives of families and individuals, few such sources exist. It is in sharing 
the cost with thousands of contributors that SOS can continue to serve this important purpose. 

Last year's SOS Fund exceeded $2 million, bringing the cumulative, eight-year total to $10 million. 
These funds were shared among nine counties, and as in previous years, most of the dollars went to 
meet housing and critical needs, with approximately 15% distributed to food banks (see attachment for 
analysis of distribution). In total, SOS funds assisted 2,500 families and individuals with housing, and 
500 people with critical needs. The food bank allocation paid for an estimated 428,000 meals. 

Attached is a list of foundation and corporate major donors to the campaign. A few other key points 
about SOS: 

Thus far, SOS has broken its previous year's fundraising record every year. This is especially 
significant hi the past two years when many major drives across the country have either 
decreased or remained at the same level. 

The number of donors to the 1993 drive increased, from 6,900 the previous year to 7,860. This 
is important, since the SOS Fund's strength is its broad-based support. 

This season, KRON-TV will be giving even more attention to SOS. KRON may feature a 
phone number to call for immediate credit card donations. 

The Chronicle's leadership is strongly supportive of SOS. Their support means a stronger 
program, and bodes well for the long-term future of SOS. They continue to express their 
genuine appreciation for Walter and the Fund's leadership role with SOS. 

Walter's letters to friends raise significant contributions to SOS, and the Fund's leadership gift 
has served as a benchmark for other major donors. 

Ira will brief the board further on SOS at the board meeting. Critical to this year's SOS Drive will 
be the length and consequences of the strike. 

Reviewed by: Melissa Bannett and Ira Hirschfield 
Attachments 



280 

THANK YOU 

We take this opportunity to thank all donors for their generous contributions to the Season of Sharing Fund, and to acknowledge 
major foundation and corporate donors. 

In addition. The Chronicle wishes to acknowledge the employees and voluntejers at community service agencies who coordinate 
distribution of Season of Sharing Funds to our neighbors who need assistance. The agencies cover their own costs incurred in the 
process of distributing Season of Sharing dollars. The people who staff the agencies work long hours throughout the year, and 
particularly during the holiday season, to help those less fortunate than themselves. 



Foundation and Corporate Donors 



$75,000 

An Anonymous Foundation 

$70,000 

The San Francisco Chronicle* 

$50,000 

Evelyn and Walter Haas. Jr. Fund 

$35,000 

Miriam and Peter Haas Fund 

$30,000 

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation 
The James Irvine Foundation 

$25,000 

Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund 
Waller & Elise Haas Fund 
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation 
RCM Capital Management 

Charitable Fund 
The San Francisco Foundation 

$20,000 

Marin Community Foundation 
Tlic Philanthropic Collaborative Inc. 

$15,000 

The Gap Foundation 
The Gruber Family Foundation 
The Luke D. Hancock Foundation 
Korcl Foundation 

$12,500 

The Herbst Foundation 

$10,000 

Apple Computer. Inc. 

Bank of America 

The Cal-Bay Mortgage Group 

DPS Group Limited 

Donald G. and Doris F. Fisher Fund 

Lockheed Missiles & Space Company. Inc. 

Laurence L. Moore Charitable Trust 

The Bernard Osher Foundation 

Toni and Arthur Rock Fund 

Charles Schwab 

$7,500 

The Application Group. Inc. 
Ford Land Company 
William D. Kimpton and 

Kimco Hotel Restaurant Management Co. 
The Morrison & Foerster Foundation 

$7,000 

The People of Kazan. McClain. 
Edises & Simon 

$0,000 

The People of O'Connor. Colin. 

Dillon & Barr 
USL Capital 
Timwood Foundation 



$5,000* 

Merrill Lynch & Employees 

APTCO. Inc. 

Columbia Foundation 

Cooper. White & Cooper 

The Crescent Porter Hale Foundation 

The Edwards Foundation 

Levi Strauss Foundation 

The Lurie Co. 

McKesson Foundation. Inc. 

Maxim Integrated Products 

John and Tina Mehan Fund 

New United Motor Manufacturing 

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. 

TakeCarc Health Plan 

Western Roofing Service/ 

Webster Restoration 
The Jin and Linda Zidell Fund of 

the Marin Community Foundation 

$3,500* 

Cow Hollow Foundation 

De Goff and Sherman. Attorneys 

Levine-Fricke 

$3,000 

Ellsworth Family Trust 

General Steamship International. Ltd. 

Walter S. Johnson Foundation 

Middle Passage Foundation 

Rutherford & Chekene 

The Search Firm and Professional 

Consulting Network 
Trans-Box Systems. Inc. 

$2,500* 

AMB Institutional Realty Advisors. Inc. 

Guy F. Atkinson Company 

The Bothin Foundation 

Dora Freednian Levit Fund for the People 

Frilzi California 

Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund 

Hillman Properties West. Inc. 

Lossing & Elstoii Equipment Partnership 

Portal Publications. Ltd. 

Seiler & Company 

$2,000 

William C Andreasen Trust 

The Mervyn L. Brenner Foundation. Inc. 

Chambers & Chambers. Inc. and Employees 

Danhakl. Inc. 

Data Safe 

Friedman Family Foundation 

Richard N. Goldman & Company 

HngstroniReally Company. Inc. 

The Human Technologies Group 

Harold & Gertrud Parker Family Trust 

J/J Petricciani Foundation 

Swinerton & Walberg Co. 

Ten Inverness Wav Bed and Breakfast 



$1,500* 

Gruber & McBaine Capital Management 
Pell Family Foundation 
Professional Messenger 
Kepro- Media. Inc. 

$1,000* 

Susan Adler Foundation 

Air Container Transport. Inc. 

Gcrson Bakar Foundation 

S.D. Bechtel. Jr. Foundation 

The Lowell Berry Foundation 

Linda and William N. Bucklin Family Fund 

Cahill Contractors, Inc. 

Calegari and Morris Accountants 

Career Consociales. Inc. 

Catellus Development Corporation 

CDS Distributing. Inc. 

Crosby Helmich Architects 

East Bay Community Foundation 

Foote. Cone & Belding/Impacl West 

Glanville Associates 

Hardison Komatsu Ivelich & Tucker 

I1MS Associates 

Ho Hum Construction 

Interpacific Group 

Zel R. Kahn & Sons. Inc. Philanthropic Fund 

Marine Chartering Co.. Inc. 

The Nan Tucker McEvoy Foundation 

The Mortgage Connection and Employees 

Penelope Straus More Family Foundation 

JP Morgan & Co. 

The Martin Karns Mum ford Trust 

National Coupon Redemption Service 

Nissen Family Charitable Trust 

Online Business Technology 

Peking Handicraft. Inc. 

Pier 39 Limited Partnership 

Plant Construction Co. Community Fund 

Bruce and Bonnie Potter Family Fund 

Quizix. Inc. 

Rayner Foundation 

Rochester Big & Tall Clothing 

Sade Development Co. 

Sanwa Bank California 

Adrienne & Norman Scholssberg Family Fund 

Shartsis. Friese & Ginsburg 

Rodney Strong Vineyards 

Alice Phelan Sullivan Corporation 

Primetime Publicity and Media Consulting 

Tricor International 

Trident Trading Co.. Inc. 

Vista Funding Co. 

Staff of Weinslein and Co. 

Contributors of Services 

Deloitte & Touche 

Northern California Grantmakers 

Wells Fargo Bank 

"Includes $40.000 in administrative fees paid 
directly to fiscal agents in each county. 



281 



San Francisco Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund 
Questions and Answers 



O. Wliat is the lustory of 
the Fund? 

A.. Although The Chronicle 
created the Season of Sharing Fund in 
1 986, it is essentially an extension of the 
Emergency Family Needs/Housing 
Assistance Fund that was administered 
'' by Northern California grantmakers in 
1983 and 1984. During those years. The 
Grantmakers distributed more than $2.9 
million. Since The Chronicle started the 
Fund, more than $10 million has been 
donated. All of those dollars have been 
used to provide critically needed items, 
housing and food to many thousands of 
in<!ividuals-and families over the years. 

(/ \\luit is the purpose 

ofUieFund? 

A.. Despite public and private 
efforts, thousands of San Francisco Bay 
Area families and individuals slip 
through social safety nets. Typically, 
these are low-income people (many of 
whom are working at minimum-wage) 
who have one-lime emergency needs that 
can't be met through other resources. 
Through a network of more than 120 
community service agencies, the San 
Francisco Chronicle Season of Sharing 
Fund provides assistance in a humane 
and effective manner. Its goal is to allevi 
ate human suffering and help strengthen 
the stability of the family in crisis. 

(A lion- does tltefund irork? 

A. The Chronicle and KRON-TV 
feature stories of people in need begin 
ning Thanksgiving Day and concluding 
New Year's Day. The Chronicle invites its 
more than 1.4 million readers to 
contribute to the Fund and KRON-TV 
(Channel 4) encourages its viewers to 
donate to the Season of Sharing Fund. 
Northern California Grantmakers 
administers the Fund in association with 
private and public community service 
agencies in the Bay Area. These agencies 
provide screening and referral services to 
individuals. Social service departments 
approve applications for critical needs, 
and fiscal agents in each county disburse 
grants in the form of third-party checks. 



O. WIio Is eligible for ' 
assistance? 

A. Elderly or handicapped individ 
uals and working poor families with 
children who reside in the counties of 
Alameda. Contra Costa, Marin. San 
Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, 
Solano or Sonoma. Season of Sharing 
funds are also distributed to food banks 
in the counties listed above and in the 
county of Napa. 

Q. Wltat is the method of 
assistance? 

A. Critical needs assistance is in the 
form of grants which are paid directly 
to the supplier of services by a fiscal 
agent in each county. Assistance is also 
provided through food box and brown 
bag programs. 

O. How are grants allocated to 
participating counties? 

A. 85% of the total funds donated 
are used for housing and critical needs; 
1 5% are used for emergency food 
services. Each county receives a base 
amount for housing and critical needs 
(currently $25,000) and a base amount 
for food programs (currently $5,000). 
The balance of the funds is distributed 
on a percentage basis, according to three 
areas of need: 1) Family and Children; 
2) Over 60; and 3) Handicapped 
Individuals. 

Q. Hoiv does The Clironicle 
support the Fund? 

A* The Chronicle begins the fund 
drive each year with a contribution of 
S30.000. The Chronicle also pays the 
fiscal agent in each county an administra 
tive fee of 2.5% of the total funds 
distributed for housing and critical needs 
assistance. In 1993-94, this figure was 
540,515. Chronicle reporters and photog 
raphers interview people in need who are 
then featured in the paper during the 
campaign. The newspaper publishes lists 
of contributors (who may make their 
contributions in memory of other per 
sons), stories of contributors, a running 
total of contributions to the Fund and a 



coupon advising readers how to 
contribute. Ads throughout the 
Chronicle, along with public service 
announcements and features on 
KRON-TV, further encourage readers to 
help their neighbors in need. At the 
conclusion of the campaign. The 
Chronicle publishes an accounting of 
how much was donated and how the 
contributions were distributed. 

(/ Is a percentage of funds 
raised allocated to cover 
administrative expenses? 

A. No. Every dollar contributed 
goes to the needy. All administrative 
expenses are paid for by The Chronicle, 
selected foundations, and by the 
community service agencies who 
distribute the funds in each county. 
Wells Fargo donates banking services, 
and Deloitte & Touch audits the fund 
pro bono. 

Q. Are contributions 
tax-deductible? 

A, Yes. The Season of Sharing 
Fund is a non-profit corporation exempt 
from income tax. It does have a 501C3 
number (provided upon request) 

Q. Are contributions accepted 
during the year? 

A. Yes. The account is open 
throughout the year and as funds 
accumulate, they are sent to participating 
counties during the year. Contributions 
can be sent at any time to: 

The Season of Sharing Fund 

Post Office Box 44740 
San Francisco, CA 94144 




TO?fc 

ST>--- 

2.< ' - 





sx; % 

54M: . 



* 



DISTRIBUTION OF 
SEASON OF SHARING DOLLARS 

For Critical Needs/Housing Assistance* 



Counlv 


1986-87 


1987-88 


1988-89 


1989-90 


1990-91 


1991-92 


1992-93 


1993-94 


Alamcila 


SI 22.700 


SI 44.600 


S22t.870 


S272.974 


S290.988 


S299.838 


S29I.182 


S3 15.536 


Contra CosU 


88.750 


103.000 


155.350 


169.651 


180.160 


185.322 


180.272 


196.680 


Ma riii 


37.750 


40.600 


51.070 


76.661 


80.415 


82.258 


80.455 


91.031 


San r'ranrisco 


114.300 


134.200 


207.190 


221.313 


235.574 


242.580 


235.727 


262.712 


San Malro 


78.125 


90.000 


133.625 


128.322 


135.828 


139.516 


135.901 


157.062 


Santa Cl.ira 


118.500 


139.400 


216.180 


252.310 


268.822 


276.935 


269.000 


"302.330 


Solano 


NA 


NA 


NA 


NA 


NA 


NA 


NA 


91.031 


Sonoma 


39.875 


43.200 


55.415 


86.997 


91.497 


93.710 


91.545 


104.238 


Totals 


S600.000 


S695.000 


SI. 0-14.000 


SI .208.228 


SI. 283.284 


SI. 320. 159 


SI. 309.092 


SI. 520.620 



*In addition. S483.000 was distributed for emergency housing and critical needs during the fund drives. 

For Food 



County 


1986-87 


1987-88 


1988-89 


1989-90 


1990-91 


1991-92 


1992-93 


1993-94 


Alaim-ila 


S 13.965 


S20.560 


S23.630 


S33.798 


S40.172 


S42.122 


$40.343 


S49.670 


Contra Costa 


10.385 


14.800 


17.150 


23.188 


27.214 


28.447 


27.322 


34.035 


Mai in 


4.865 


6.160 


7.430 


11.062 


14.398 


14.679 


18.021 


16.167 


San Francisco 


13.355 


19.120 


22.010 


26.220 


30.916 


34.307 


31.042 


34.035 


San Matro 


9.188 


13.000 


15.125 


20.157 


23.512 


24.538 


23.602 


27.334 


Santa Clara 


13.150 


19.840 


22.320 


33.798 


40.173 


42.122 


40.343 


54.136 


Sonoma 


5.092 


6.520 


7.835 


15.610 


19.809 


18.677 


18.021 


18.400 


Napa 


NA 


NA 


NA 


11.062 


16.108 


16.721 


16.161 


18.400 


Santa Cruz 


NA 


NA 


NA 


14.099 


NA 


NA 


NA 


NA 


Solano 


NA 


NA 


NA 


12.578 


17.818 


18.677 


16.161 


16.168 


TOTALS 


S70.000 


SI 00.000 


* 116.01 H> 


S20 1.572 


S230.120 


S240.290 


$231.016 


S268.3 15 



283 

EVELYN AND WALTER HAAS, JR. FUND 



ONE LOMBARD STREET. SUITE 305 SAN FRANCISCO. CALIFORNIA 41 1 1 
TELEPHONE: 415 .198-3744 FAX: 415 986-4T7V 



Appendix G 
Background on the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund 



Early History 

The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund was incorporated on March 30, 1953. The articles 
of incorporation were signed by the three original Trustees of the foundation: Walter A. 
Haas, Jr., President; Evelyn D. Haas, Vice President; and Peter E. Haas, Treasurer. On 
April 14, 1953, the foundation's by-laws were adopted. The foundation's early grants 
were made to local charities that typically represented or provided direct services to 
disadvantaged communities, to small arts organizations, and to educational and cultural 
institutions of personal interest to the Trustees. Grants generally ranged from $15 to 
$1,000. Meetings were held at the office of Levi Strauss & Company, then located at 98 
Battery Street. 

Foundation records include board meeting minutes dating back to January 15, 1960. The 
Trustees generally met on a monthly basis, except in the summer. Between $1,000-$2,000 
typically was granted at each meeting, although more sizeable grants were occasionally 
made to such major institutions as the Jewish Welfare Federation ($7,500), the San 
Francisco Museum of Modern Art ($4,500), and the United Way, then called the United 
Bay Area Crusade, ($2,800). Throughout the Fund's early period, Evelyn and Walter 
Haas slowly built up the endowment with periodic donations of stock. 

The 1970's 

The 1970's was a period of development and growth for the foundation, both 
organizationally and programmatically. In 1972, Evelyn and Walter's three children, 
Robert D. Haas, Elizabeth J. Haas, and Walter J. Haas joined the board. In becoming an 
associate member of the Council on Foundations in 1977, the Fund recognized its role as 
a member of a wider grantmaking community. That same year, attorneys Willard Ellis 
and Harold Levy became Secretary and Assistant Secretary of the Fund. In May of 1977, 
Walter J. Haas became the Fund's first Executive Director. In early 1978, the board 
agreed to expand its membership to three non-family members, and later in the year 
brought on Franklin (Dyke) Brown, Lewis H. Butler, and Cecil F. Poole. 



TRUSTEES 

II 'alter A. Haas, Jr., CHAIRMAN 
Ei'elyn D. Haas, \IC:F CHAIRMAN 
Walter J. Haas, SECRETARY/TREASURER 
Elizabeth Haas Eisenhardt 
Ruben D. Haas 
Ira S. Hirschfield, PRESIDENT 



284 



Programmatically, the foundation began to sharpen and define its grantmaking. The 
"Presidential Revolving Fund" was established to give the President authority both to 
renew "traditional annual gifts" as well as award small grants which were not of a "large 
or complicated nature." In addition, a $5,000 per annum Executive Director's 
Discretionary Fund was created to accommodate grants of up to $500. The Trustees 
began to make more substantial grants, typically in the $1,000-$ 10,000 range. In the mid- 
1970's, large gifts to key organizations included $25,000 (over five years) to the San 
Francisco Museum of Modern Art and $175,000 to the Jewish Welfare Federation. In 
1978, a $150,000 gift was made to On Lok Corporation, a community-based agency 
serving the elderly in San Francisco's Chinatown. 

Whereas in the past, grants were made almost exclusively for general support, 
grantmaking was now becoming more project oriented. Under Walter J. Haas' leadership, 
the board began to define specific funding areas. His father, Walter A. Haas, Jr., was 
particularly interested in assisting disadvantaged inner city communities and the people 
who lived within them. He expressed a special concern for the problems faced by San 
Francisco's Hispanic- Americans. In addition, his interest in corporate social responsibility 
produced two major grants in 1978 of $250,000 each (over five years) to the University 
of California at Berkeley and Stanford University for the development of programs in 
business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Mrs. Haas' profound regard for and 
interest in the arts, music, hospitals, and education led to funding in those areas. Other 
emerging concerns were in the elderly and in equal opportunity. 

A guiding principle behind the foundation's grantmaking was that rather than provide 
ongoing organizational support, the Fund would seek to maximize its grantmaking 
leverage whenever possible by providing seed funds for new projects. In 1978, the Fund 
published its first annual report. 

The 1980's 

During this decade, the foundation built upon the groundwork laid in the late 1970's to 
mature as a philanthropic organization that embodied the values of the Haas family. 
Board composition shifted and settled: James Gaither replaced Lewis Butler as a Trustee 
in 1981, and in 1983, the board was reduced to three members, Walter A. Haas, Jr., 
Evelyn D. Haas, and Walter J. Haas. The previous five Trustees became members of a 
newly created Advisory Trustee board. The foundation's first Conflict of Interest policy 
was adopted. 

The minutes from the early 1980's reflect much attention to refining the foundation's 
internal organization, and to defining and concentrating its funding areas. The foundation 
continued its longstanding interest in corporate social responsibility, in fine arts and 
cultural programs, in justice and equal opportunity, and in community and economic 
development, especially for Hispanic Americans. Other areas in which the Trustees were 
interested included youth, performing arts, children's services, and the newly emerging 
hospice movement. 



285 



As the quantity and size of the Fund's grants grew, now typically in the $10,000-$25,000 
range, the foundation experimented with various internal configurations that would best 
reflect its grantmaking. A concerted effort was made to separate grants that reflected the 
Trustees' traditional interests, often with organizations and institutions with which they 
had a personal involvement, from the community grantmaking of the foundation. A 
distinction was made between "ongoing grants" with community-based groups that served 
the San Francisco Bay Area, "traditional grants" which reflected the cultural and 
educational interests of the founders, and "innovative and unrestricted grants" reserved for 
activities of special interest. Working papers on issues of interest to the Trustees were 
prepared under Jim Marshall, Executive Director of the Fund from 1980-1983, to help 
refine the foundation's program interests. The President's Discretionary Fund became the 
vehicle for annual contributions, and the Executive Director's Discretionary Fund was 
increased to $25,000 annually for grants of up to $5,000 each. 

A number of Executive Directors served the foundation, beginning with Peter Almond in 
1979, Jim Marshall in 1980, Moira Caron in 1983, Ira Hirschfield in 1985, and Melissa 
Bannett in 1988. As discussed below, Ira Hirschfield returned in 1992. 

In the mid- 1 980' s, the foundation further sharpened its program focus by translating some 
of its longstanding concerns into guidelines which addressed the social problems of the 
day. A continuing interest in the urban poor expanded into the areas of hunger and 
homelessness. A general concern for the elderly was directed towards programs to 
promote independent living for older adults. The Fund also invested in Latino community 
development projects in San Francisco's Mission District, and maintained the founders' 
traditional interests in the arts, education, and corporate social responsibility. Grants in 
these latter three categories were generally initiated by the Trustees. 

The 1990's 

In 1990, the Fund became a beneficiary of a substantial bequest from the estate of Walter 
A. Haas, Jr.'s mother, Elise Haas. Between October 1991 and October 1992, the Fund 
received $120 million from this bequest. Thanks both to this extraordinary gift and to the 
enormous growth and success of Levi Strauss & Co., the Fund's assets at midyear 1995 
totaled more than $250 million. As a result, the foundation has increased its giving 
program significantly. In preparation for the transition to a larger foundation, Elizabeth 
Haas Eisenhardt and Robert D. Haas rejoined the Board of Trustees, and Ira S. Hirschfield 
both assumed executive leadership of the Fund and became a member of its board. In 
May 1993, the Fund released new program guidelines which reflect the direction of future 
grantmaking. Program areas include: strengthening children, youth, families and the 
elderly; strengthening neighborhoods and communities, reducing hunger and homelessness, 
encouraging volunteer service and philanthropy, and trustee initiated grants. The attached 
guidelines elaborate the Fund's objectives for each of these program areas. 



286 



Evelyn 

and 

Walter Haas, Jr. 
Fund 



1995 Program Guidelines 



287 



Program Guidelines 

The Board of Trustees that governs the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund includes the founders, 
Evelyn D. Haas and Walter A. Haas, Jr.; their three children, Robert D. Haas, Elizabeth Haas 
Eisenhardt, and Walter J. Haas; and the Fund President, Ira S. Hirschfield. The following are the 
Fund's areas of concentration for 1995: 

f Strengthening Children, Youth, Families, and the Elderly 
4 Strengthening Neighborhoods and Communities 

Reducing Hunger and Homelessness 

4 Encouraging Volunteer Service and Philanthropy 

Trustee-Initiated Grants 

These program areas reflect the Trustees' long-standing interests and emerging concerns, as well 
as evolving grantmaking strategies and priorities based on what we leam about the impact of our 
work, and the shifting needs of our target communities. In our grantmaking, we seek to: 

Support prevention and early intervention strategies. 

Promote self-help and self-sufficiency. 

Acknowledge and build on the strengths of individuals, families, and communities. 

Enhance equality of opportunity. 

Support organizations with effective leaders who: 
Practice ethical and prudent governance and management. 

Are committed to finding out if their work achieves its intended outcomes. 

Are willing to change agency practices as a result of what they learn. 

Respect and reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the communities they serve. 

Work with other community groups and with leaders from business, government, labor, and 

philanthropy to tackle tough problems. 
Encourage strong volunteer participation within their programs. . 

In all program areas, the Fund also seeks opportunities to award grants that are likely to leverage 
significant change or improvements, build leadership and institutional capacity, and achieve 
lasting results. 



288 



Strengthening Children, Youth, Families, and the Elderly 

Changes in family structure have eroded traditional supports for the young and the elderly. In 
order to reweave the community and home safety net, especially in low-income neighborhoods, 
the Fund supports programs that nurture the young to become healthy, productive, caring adults, 
and enhance elders' well-being and encourage their self-sufficiency. 

Youth development The Fund has a strong interest in ensuring that youth have opportunities 
to enhance their personal development during nonschool hours through activities that include 
recreation, sports, education, and community service. We favor culturally sensitive programs that 
help young people learn and practice skills they need to become successful adults, that provide 
guidance from a sustained relationship with a caring adult, and that allow youth to contribute 
meaningfully to the program and their community. 

Family support To strengthen families' ability to nurture their young, we seek to develop and 
enhance community-based prevention programs that enable parents to play active roles in their 
child's development, and foster cooperation between home and school to improve student 
achievement. We favor programs that are driven by family concerns and interests, build on family 
skills and talents, and broker a variety of resources to help parents raise children. 

Comprehensive services and systems reform We also fund school-linked and 
community-based approaches that coordinate and leverage resources to effect enduring, systemic 
improvements in services for healthy child and youth development. Of special interest are 
comprehensive strategies that emerge from communitywide planning and problem-solving to 
improve neighborhoods and communities on behalf of children and their families. 

In each of these areas, we give priority to grant requests for strategies that are likely to affect 
significant numbers of low-income children and families in under-served neighborhoods, especially 
efforts that can be sustained over time. We also will consider providing limited support for 
advocacy or policy work that advances the Fund's local program objectives. 

Elder services and support The Fund seeks to enhance the quality of life for the elderly by 
strengthening a continuum of independent living services. We support programs that enable frail 
elders with limited incomes to live independently in their own homes and communities and avoid 
premature institutionalization. 



289 



We have strong interest in promoting access to culturally appropriate services and improving 
coordination among service providers through case management and agency collaboration. This 
includes linkages to health services and community resources such as churches and social groups. 
Our funding focuses on strengthening community-based prevention programs, especially adult day 
health, in-home support services, and support to caregivers of frail elders or those with dementia. 
Limited funding is available for local, consumer-driven advocacy work and policy grants that 
advance the Fund's program objectives. 

1 995 activities In addition to the above emphases, this year we are assessing our grantmaking 
for the elderly; working to create a Youth Sports Initiative; and promoting the development of 
Beacon Schools - school sites open evenings and year-round for youth and family activities. 



Strengthening Neighborhoods and Communities 

The Fund seeks to help poor residents use their community's unique strengths to stabilize and 
improve neighborhood conditions, as well as to expand their life opportunities. We support 
community-based initiatives that address multiple issues, benefit entire neighborhoods, and 
leverage new financial and technical resources for them. Given the complexity and 
interrelationships of neighborhood problems, we favor comprehensive, collaborative approaches. 

Community development We support efforts that build local ownership in programs by 
involving families, youth, and other stakeholders in problem-solving, community planning, and 
implementing solutions. To facilitate such participation, the Fund provides limited funding for 
activities that enhance the knowledge, skills, and leadership abilities of residents and community- 
based organizations. 

Housing To help stabilize neighborhood conditions and the lives of poor families, including 
the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless, the Fund supports efforts to preserve and 
increase communities' affordable housing stock. For development projects, we give funding 
priority to organizations (also known as intermediaries) that help nonprofit developers build 
housing projects. The Fund occasionally makes exceptions for projects that are integral to a larger 
community plan or that address a specific Fund priority. Capacity-building grants also are 
provided to a limited number of nonprofit housing developers that have strong community 
governance. Currently, the Fund does not provide program-related investments. 



290 



Organizations eligible for funding under the Strengthening Neighborhoods and Communities 
Program include nonprofit community development corporations and other nonprofit agencies that 
help to stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods. We give priority to organizations with good track 
records, although we will consider proposals from new organizations that fill a strategic gap in 
their communities. 

1995 activities This year we are considering increasing our program emphasis in neighborhood 
safety. If we decide to fund such programs, we will likely accept grant proposals by invitation 
only. 



Reducing Hunger and Homelessness 

The prevalence of hunger and homelessness - particularly among at-risk youth and families with 
children - continues to be a major concern of the Fund. Although ameliorating both problems 
requires a combination of strategies ranging from emergency assistance to subsidized housing and 
support services, we prefer to focus on early detection and prevention initiatives that help people 
achieve self-sufficiency. We also believe that efforts linked to broader community goals and local 
service networks are likely to achieve more enduring outcomes. 

The Fund seeks to work with programs employing collaborative, comprehensive approaches and 
that have clearly articulated outcomes. The Fund is unlikely, however, to consider proposals for 
ongoing support services for people with chronic disabilities. 

Hunger Under an evolving food program, the Fund will support demonstration initiatives that 
increase access to nutritious, high-quality food in poor communities. Grants will be made to a 
range of nonprofit organizations, including food banks, regional collaboratives, and grass-roots 
organizations. Limited support will be provided for emergency food programs and policy work 
that enhance the Fund's local-level objectives. 

Homelessness Our primary emphasis is on preventing homelessness in at-risk populations, 
though we will consider funding programs that seek specific outcomes for those who already are 
homeless. Our aim, in both cases, is to support programs that stabilize people's lives and help to 
make them self-sufficient. While limited support is available for emergency housing and related 
support services, we prefer to fund programs that work to eliminate the cycle of homelessness 



291 



and help people make the transition into and remain in permanent, affordable housing. In funding 
emergency programs, we consider how well they are linked to larger community efforts and 
support networks. 

For funding guidelines on housing construction, refer to the previous section on Strengthening 
Neighborhoods and Communities. 

1995 activities We are evaluating and revising our homelessness grantmaking in 1995. We are 
also developing a multiyear initiative to increase Food Security, focusing on the food and 
nutrition needs of a wide range of residents living in low-income communities. 



Encouraging Volunteer Service and Philanthropy 

Building on the rich benevolent and charitable traditions in this country, and the long-term 
commitment of the Fund's founders as community volunteers and philanthropists, the Haas, Jr. 
Fund seeks to promote civic responsibility through volunteerism and philanthropy. In both areas 
we support efforts to build capacity, increase coordination, and initiate collaborative ventures. 

Volunteerism The Fund encourages programs that help people of all ages become involved 
as volunteers. We are especially interested in collaborative efforts that will create a strong 
community base to expand and sustain community service. We will continue to support programs 
that strengthen capacity and coordination among volunteer centers, and will consider funding to 
help colleges and universities become a fulcrum for community service among students, staff, and 
faculty. The Fund also encourages the improved governance and development of nonprofit boards 
that reflect the cultural and ethnic communities they serve. 

Philanthropy The Fund seeks opportunities to motivate the charitable impulses of individuals 
who have the financial means to become more involved in their community and in philanthropy. 

1995 activities This year we are exploring an initiative to strengthen the leadership, 
governance and management of nonprofit organizations in San Francisco and Alameda counties. 



292 



Trustee-Initiated Grants 

The Trustees value the many cornerstone institutions that contribute to the quality of community 
life. Grants to these arts, cultural, and educational organizations are initiated only by the Trustees. 
The Fund also may initiate special projects on corporate social responsibility, corporate ethics, 
and other issues outside the focus areas described in the guidelines. This enables us to remain 
open to changing community needs, challenges, and opportunities. 



Additional Grantmaking Criteria 

Geographic area served Support is directed primarily to organizations in San Francisco and 
Alameda counties. The Fund occasionally initiates support for programs in other Bay Area 
communities, or for state, regional, or national efforts that directly relate to the Fund's program 
objectives. Exceptions to these criteria are awards initiated by Trustees. 

Grant size Grants generally range from $5,000 to $75,000 a year, depending on the scale of 
the organization, amount of other funding received, financial management capacity, and the 
Fund's history with the organization. Challenge or matching grants, as well as multiyear awards, 
will be considered. 

Types of grants The Fund will consider grants for start-up of new projects; pilot or 
demonstration programs; planning, management, or technical assistance needs; general support; 
evaluation; advocacy; occasional policy work in program areas of interest; and limited equipment 
purchases. 

Areas not supported by the Fund The Fund will not make grants for capital or 
endowment campaigns (unless Trustee initiated), major equipment, basic research, conferences, 
publications, films or videos, deficit or emergency funding, scholarships, direct mail campaigns, 
fund-raising events, annual appeals, or aid to individuals. Exceptions may be made for requests 
that are a component of a larger effort in which the Fund is engaged, or for an organization with 
a well-established relationship with the Fund. 



INDEX--Walter A. Haas, Jr. 



293 



Abercrombie and Fitch, 60, 201 
Adams, Ansel, 24-25 
Adams, Virginia, 25 
Agency for International 

Development, 174-175 
Alaska, fishing in, 2-3, 199, 

201-202 

Alderson, Sandy, 3, 218-220 
Allison, Stub, 36 
Armas, Tony, 223, 226 
Atherton, California, 8, 10, 13, 

24, 26, 27 
Austin, Paul, 159 

Babbitt, Bruce, 187 

Bacharach, Mel, 65, 80, 90, 99- 

100, 124, 130, 246-247, 257-259, 

273-275 (letter from) 
Bailey, John, 200 
Bakar, Gerson, 120-122 
Bank of America, 171-174, 203 
BankAmerica Corporation, 171-174 
baseball, major league: economics 

of, 225-226; strike, 1994- 

1995, 226, 228. See also 

Oakland Athletics; San Francisco 

Giants. 

basketball, 190-191, 211 
Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration 

project, 178 
Beebe, Leo, 165-166 
Bender, Albert, 24 
Berkeley Tennis Club, 33 
Berl, Warren, 206 
Beronio, Dave, 55, 70-71, 79, 

240, 241 

Beronio, Fred, 55 
Binder, Bill, 182 
Black, Shirley Temple, 23 
Blue Bell, 60, 131. See also 

Wrangler, 
boards of directors, role of, 

171-174 

Bohemian Club, 203-207 
Bornstein, Charles, 137-138 
Bozeman, Todd, 190-191 



Brando, Marlon, 84 

Brann, Frank, 101-102 

Brown, Franklin M. and Kate, 31 

Brunsten, Stan, 31 

Budge, Don, 32 

Bufano, Beniamino, 24 

Bulloti, Charlie, 205 

Bundy, Mary, 115-116 

Bundy, McGeorge, 115, 177-178 

Bush, George Herbert Walker, 3, 

186 
business ethics. See Levi Strauss 

& Co., social responsibility. 

California Academy of Sciences, 

230 

California Tennis Club, 10, 15 
Cambodia Crisis Committee, 153 
Campanelli, Lou, 190-191 
camping and pack trips, 19-21, 

32, 39, 69, 120, 124, 198-201 
Carter, Jimmy, 151-153 
Carter, Rosalynn, 153 
Casey, William, 176 
Casper, Gerhard, 196 
cello lessons, 22 
Cheit, Earl F. "Budd", 129, 194 
chicken business, 8, 13 
child rearing, 16, 46-47, 87-88 
Cohn, Harry, 100 
Combs, Ed, 101-102, 103, 107 
community service, 16, 208-209, 

211-212, 218-221, 226. See 

also Levi Strauss & Co. 
Cone Mills, North Carolina, 59-60 
Coop, Bob and Jean, 31, 37 
corporate social responsibility. 

See Levi Strauss & Co. 
Cronin, Dick, 65, 69-70, 79, 98 
Crosby, Bing, 84 
Cross, Ira B., 33 
Cullman, Joseph, 114-115 
Curtis, Ann, 182 

Daly, George, 133, 140-141 



294 



Danzig, Jerome and Helen, 44-46, 

49 

Davidson, Ralph, 200-201 
Day, Bill, 69 
Dean, James, 84 
denim, 59-60, 157 
Dole, Robert, 187 
Dolich, Andy, 211, 225 
Doriot, Georges, 47-48 
Dribben, Saul, 59-60 

Eckersley, Dennis, 223 

Ecole Internationale, Switzerland, 

21-22 
Eisenhardt, Betsy Haas (daughter), 

27, 47, 170, 188a, 200, 229-230 
Eisenhardt, Jesse (grandson), 47, 

229 
Eisenhardt, Roy (son-in-law), 3, 

209, 211, 212, 213, 215, 216, 

218-220, 230 
Eisenhardt, Sarah (granddaughter), 

27 

Ellis, James Reed, 178-179 
Emporium, 79-80, 91, 93-94 

Family Club, 110, 203-204 
family-owned businesses, 244-245. 

See also Levi Strauss & Co. 
Federal Reserve Board, 18 
Fenster, Leslie, 79 
Finklestein, Ed, 145-146 
Finley, Charlie, 208-210, 213- 

214, 215 

Fisher, Don, 143-144, 148 
Fisher, Doris, 144 
fishing, 1-2, 19-21, 39, 121, 

198-202 

Five Percent Club, 212 
Fleishhacker, Alan, 13, 17 
Flipper, Cassandra, 127 
Ford Foundation, 2; trustee of, 

39, 114, 115, 159, 177-179 
Ford, Henry, 114, 159, 166 
Ford Motor Company, 113, 114, 

159, 166 

Fortune 500, 96-97, 142 
Frank, Joe, 81-82 



Free Speech Movement . See 
University of California, 
Berkeley. 

Friedman, Howard, 64, 101, 255 

Friedman, Phyllis Koshland, 64, 
101 

Galileo High School, 9, 17 

Gap, The, 143-144 

Geballe, Sissy, 64 

Geballe, Ted, 64 

Glasgow, Paul, 89-90, 97, 100, 

161 

Gnaizda, Bob, 127 
Godsoe, Jerry, 131 
Goldberg, Herschel, 159-160 
Golden State Warriors, 211 
Goldman, Rhoda Haas (sister), 8, 

15-17, 23-24, 78, 194 
Goldman, Richard (brother-in-law), 

24, 114-115 

golf, 95, 196-197, 204 
Goodin, Marion Sproul, 31-32, 35, 

39, 192 
Goodin, Vernon, 30-32, 37, 39, 

192 
Goodwin, Mary Jo and Willard, 32, 

37, 39 

Goya, Donna, 168 
Graham, Katherine, 174 
Great Western Garment Company, 

130-132 

Gredis, Nat, 82 
Greenberg, Roger, 224 
Grey, Zane, 199 
Groebl, Oscar, 132 
Grohman, Robert, 134-135, 146 
Grunbaum, Milton, 54-56, 156 
Guardsmen, the, 5, 182-184, 185, 

229 

Guggenheim, Dick, 206 
Guiney, Rita, 4, 70-71, 103-104, 

120, 237-264 (interview with) 

Haas, Bill (cousin), 27 

Haas, Charles (cousin), 27 

Haas, Charlotte (granddaughter), 
27 



295 



Haas, Colleen (daughter-in-law), 
229 

Haas, Elise (granddaughter), 27, 
229 

Haas, Elise Stern (mother), 6-12, 
16, 20-26, 29, 38, 45, 87 

Haas, Evelyn Danzig (wife), 1-3, 
7, 15, 20, 27-28, 30, 39, 42- 
47, 49, 50-51, 53, 57, 63, 85, 
93-94, 113, 137-138, 152-153, 
179, 182, 183, 186, 188-188c, 
192, 199-202, 212, 223, 224, 229 

Haas, Fannie Koshland 

(grandmother), 7, 22-23, 46 

Haas, Julie (daughter-in-law), 
27, 47, 229 

Haas, Peter (brother), 3, 8, 13- 
15, 16, 17, 19-20, 21-24, 26, 
35, 45, 52, 54, 57, 63-67, 70, 
75, 76, 78, 82, 86-87, 92, 97, 
102, 106, 109-110, 112-113, 115, 
121, 134-135, 156-157, 189, 194, 
198, 241, 242, 250, 251, 254, 
259 

Haas, Peter, Jr. (nephew), 76 

Haas, Robert D. (son), 2, 3, 27, 
47, 51, 63, 76-77, 86, 88, 121, 
122-123, 128-129, 134, 143, 145, 
146, 148-149, 150-151, 154, 157, 
169-170, 175-176, 177, 188a, 
204, 229, 253, 263 

Haas, Simone (granddaughter), 27 

Haas, Walter A., Sr. (father), 6- 
12, 16, 19-26, 32, 38, 41, 45, 
50, 53-55, 57, 59-60, 63-69, 74, 
75, 76, 78, 82, 86-88, 106, 110, 
131, 154, 156, 188, 194, 198, 
201 

Haas, Walter A, III (grandson), 
27, 195 

Haas, Walter J. (son), 3, 33, 47, 
170, 188a, 200, 209, 212, 213, 
215, 217-220, 221-222, 224, 229- 
230 

Haas, Evelyn and Walter, Jr., 
Fund, 28-29, 181, 188-188c, 
283-292 

Haas, Walter and Elise, Fund, 194 



Haas, Walter A., School of 

Business. See University of 
California, Haas School of 
Business. 

Haas Competition, 169, 276-278 

Harris, Tom, 160, 161, 185 

Harvard University, Business 

School, 31, 36, 40-44, 47-50, 
53, 56-57, 71, 76, 122, 208, 
222-223 

Hastie, Paul, 127 

Helfrich, Prince, 3-4, 19-20, 
113, 198 

Heller, Clarence, family of, 27 

Heller, Elinor, 10 

Hellman and Friedman, 148-151 

Hellman, Warren, 108, 148-149 

Henderson, Alex, 182 

Henderson, Dave, 224 

Henderson, Rickey, 226 

Hesburgh, Theodore M. , 153 

Hewitt, William A., 31, 40, 176 

Hewlett-Packard, 166 

Heyns, Roger, 30-31, 35, 189, 
191-193 

Killer, Stanley, 62 

Hirschfield, Ira, 28-29, 180-182 

Hitch, Charles, 30, 192 

Hood & Strong, 114-115 

Hoover, Herbert, 18 

Hunters Point Boys' Club, 5, 184- 
185, 229 

Ingram, Bob, 199 
Iris Securities, 78 

Jackson, Reggie, 221-222 

Jacobs, Helen, 32 

Jacoby and Co., 82 

Jewish heritage, 5, 15-16, 26, 

37-38, 52, 159, 205-206 
Johnson, Lyndon B., 3, 153-154, 

158-159, 170 
Jones, Jim, 127 

Kaiser Industries, 208 
Kendall, Don, 159 
Kern, Bob, 100 
Kinsey, Howard, 15 



296 



Kirkpatrick, Lane, 153 
Koret of California, 90-92, 143 
Koshland, Bob, Jr. (cousin), 19 
Koshland, Bob, Sr. (cousin), 19 
Koshland, Bunny [Marian E.], 64 
Koshland, Daniel, Jr. (cousin), 

64 
Koshland, Daniel, Sr. (uncle), 

59, 63-64, 66-68, 75, 78, 82, 

86, 101, 110, 156, 188 
Koshland family, 64, 78 
Kuchel, Tom, 25-26 

Lagoria, Bill, 65, 70, 79, 130 

Lake Merced Golf Club, 204 

Lamy, J.A., Manufacturing Company, 

82-83 

Lane, Bill, 186 
La Russa, Tony, 3, 216, 218 
Lee, H. D., Company, 95-96, 131 
Lehman, Ben, 33 
Lehman Bros., 108-110 
Leon Livingston Advertising, 69 
Levi Strauss & Co., 3, 4, 5, 38, 
48-49, 52-59, 63-170, 173, 185, 
209, 211, 217-218, 219, 220, 
228-229; accounting, 114-115, 
140-141; advertising, 59, 65, 
66, 68-69, 80-81, 85, 98-99, 
104-105; Battery Street, 54-55, 
58-59, 120; Blackstone, 
Virginia, plant, 89-90, 97, 
100; board of directors, 56, 
65, 71, 76, 90, 92, 92, 100, 
106, 114-118, 129, 148-149, 153; 
bonuses, 55, 124, 156; 
buildings, 64, 101, 120-122, 
254-257; communications, 
internal, 120-122; community 
affairs, 29, 96, 121-122, 126, 
131-132, 146, 156, 157-170, 179- 
182; community involvement 
teams, 160-163; company 
picnics, 98; competitors, 95- 
96; 141-142; customer relations, 
70-72, 79-80, 82, 118-119, 143- 
146, 156; Department of Product 
Integrity, 92-93; 
diversification, 143; Dockers, 



86, 91, 100, 142; employee 
discounts, 93; employee stock 
purchase, 77-78, 109-110, 113, 
151; Eutaw, Alabama, 164-165; 
expansion, 57, 64-69, 80, 83- 
84, 87, 90-93, 96, 98-99, 101- 
103, 108-109, 130-143, 146, 
273-275; family buy back of 
stock (1985), 77, 112, 148- 
151; fine art collection, 71, 
103-104; healthy work 
environment, 91; hiring of 
minorities, 72-73, 88-89, 108- 
109, 116, 124-127, 158-159; 
insurance, 24, 114-115, 138; 
labor relations, 55, 89, 97, 

98, 104, 124-125, 146, 162; 
lawsuits, 118-120, 126-127, 
139, 173; layoffs, 124, 146, 
157; Levi's Plaza, 120-122; 
management, 106-107, 117-118, 
122-123, 125-127, 132-135, 140- 
143, 147-148, 151, 154-156, 
163, 167-170, 245-251, 257-261; 
marketing, 66-67, 79-84, 91, 
94-96, 99, 119, 133, 141, 144- 
146, 168, 247-248; Olympic team 
uniforms, 151-153; personnel 
practices, 55, 64-65, 72-74, 
88-89, 93, 96-99, 101-102, 124, 

128, 132-134, 140-141, 146, 
154-161, 168, 242-244, 251-253, 
261-262; prices, 59-60, 81, 
118-120, 126, 130-140; public 
offering of stock, 77-78, 90, 
97, 107-115, 133, 148, 150-151, 
168; research and development, 
91-92; salaries, 56, 88; sales 
practices, 81-84, 94-95, 98- 

99, 118-120, 124, 143-146, 155; 
San Jose factory, 68; sewing 
machine operations, 56, 88, 
92, 124-125, 152-153, 164; 
shareholders, 77-79, 113, 124, 

129, 139, 148-151, 163; social 
responsibility, 5, 67, 88-90, 
105, 107-109, 115-116, 124-127, 
154-170, 179-182, 251-253; Sta- 
Prest, 90-92, 257, 259; 



297 



Levi Strauss & Co. (cont.) 

Valencia Street factory, 54, 
55, 57-58, 68, 92, 124-125, 131- 
132; Western Wear Department, 
79; Wichita Falls factory, 68; 
women in management, 71-72, 
116, 127, 141, 147-148, 168, 243 

Levi Strauss Foundation, 162 

Levi Strauss International, 94- 
95, 101-102, 110-112, 114, 130- 
141, 163, 175-176; Australia, 
134; Belgium, 133, 137-139; 
Canada, 130-132; Europe, 130, 
132-136, 140-141, 163; France, 
132, 137-138; Hong Kong, 135- 
136; Philippines, 163 

Levi's jeans or garments, 63, 
66-67, 70-72, 79-81, 83-86, 93- 
94, 99, 112, 113-114, 118-119, 
128, 129, 132, 133, 135-136, 
141-146, 157; as college 
uniform, 34-35, 113-114; brand 
name, 52-53; copper rivet on, 
19, 79; counterfeiting of, 86, 
135-136; European sales of, 63, 

85, 135-136; price of, 59-60, 
81; product integrity, 92-93, 
132-136; trademark, 53, 79, 85- 

86, 135-137, 138-139; women's, 
79, 141-142 

Life. 80 

Lisberger, Dan, 40 
Lorn, Benny, 196 
Loss, Lois, 72-73 
Lucier, Chris, 79 
Lurie, Bob, 228 

Macy's, 145-146, 228 
Maier, Cornell, 208-209 
Marble, Alice, 10 
Marcus, Stanley, 108 
Marshall Fields, 83 
Martin, Billy, 215-216 
Matthews, Dick, 201 
McGregor Sportswear, 60 
McGwire, Mark, 217 
McKee, Earl, 19 
McKinsey and Company, 123 
McLellan, Marie "Nana", 6, 8 



McNamara, Margie, 39, 179 
McNamara, Robert S., 28, 30, 38- 

40, 147, 159, 177-179, 192 
Menlo Circus Club, 10 
Menlo Country Club, 204 
Menuhin, Yehudi, 23 
Meyer, Eugene (uncle), 18 
Miller, Arjay, 90, 114-115, 118, 

159 
Montana, ranch in, 4, 20, 198- 

201, 213 

Monteaux, Pierre, 22 
Moskowitz, Milton, 165 
Mullinnix, Larry, 4 
Murphy, Dwayne, 226 

National Alliance of Businessmen, 

154, 157-161, 166, 170, 203, 

259 

National Park Foundation, 185-188 
National Park Service, budget of, 

186-188 

National Urban League, 179 
Neiman Marcus, 108 
New York Times, 43, 180 
Newell, Pete, 189-191 
Nixon, Richard, 126, 158-159, 

176-177 

Oakland Athletics, 2, 3, 5, 27, 

33, 200, 208-230; marketing, 

210-212, 221-222; strike, 226, 

228 
Oakland, city of, 163-164, 208- 

209, 220, 224-225, 226-228 
Oakland Coliseum, 210, 220, 226 
Olympic games, 1980 and 1984, 

151-153 
Oregon, fishing in, 3-4, 19-20, 

25, 198-201, 220 
Osborne, Margaret, 10-11 
outdoor recreation. See camping 

and pack trips; fishing; golf; 

squash; tennis. 

Pacific Telephone, 171, 173, 174 
Pacific Union Club, 5, 205-206 
Peace Corps, 2, 122 
Pelosi, Nancy, 187 



298 



Penney, J.C. Co. Inc., 144-146 
Peters, Rebecca, 4 
Peterson, Rudolph, 176-177, 203 
philanthropy, 16, 28-29, 67, 129, 

165-167, 179-182, 194-196, 212. 

See also Guardsman; Season of 

Sharing; foundations by name. 
Phillips, Julius, 112-113 
Pike, Jack, 83 
Poindexter, Lonnie, 164 
Polad, Carl, 218 
Preiskill, Barbara, 115 
Presidential Task Force on 

International Development, 176- 

177 

Presidio Council, 187-188 
Presidio Open Air School, 8-9, 11 
Pruitt, Bill, 4 
Public Advocates, 126-127 

racial discrimination, 202-206 
racial integration in employment, 

72-73, 88-90, 97, 100, 108-109 
Republican politics, 12, 25-26, 

100, 153-154, 186-188 
Reynolds, Bob, 210 
Riegals, Roy, 196 
Rivera, Diego, 23-24 
Rockefeller, David, 29, 175-176 
Rockefeller Family Fund, 29 
Rogers, William, 176 
Roos, Robert, 61-62 
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 12 
Roth, Art, 65, 98-99, 246-247, 

258 
Russell, Madeleine Haas (cousin), 

27, 78 

San Francisco 49ers, 213 

San Francisco Boys' Club, 5, 184- 

185 
San Francisco Chronicle, 5, 179- 

182, 188. See also Season of 

Sharing. 
San Francisco; earthquake of 1989, 

223; growing up in, 6-17. See 

also community service. 
San Francisco Giants, 222-224, 

228 



San Francisco Museum of Modern 

Art, 2, 229 

San Francisco Symphony, 22 
Sanguinetti, Alfred V., 92-93 
Savage, Al, 19 
Schneider, Herman, 132 
Schulz, George, 147 
Schwabacher, Albert, 13, 17, 182 
Sears Roebuck and Co., 144-146 
Season of Sharing Fund, 5, 179- 

182, 185, 229 
Seiler, Ed, 201 
Sinton, Bob, 17, 19 
Sinton, Stanley, 19 
Smith, Kirk, 200 
social clubs, philosophy on, 202- 

203 
social responsibility, 16. See 

also Levi Strauss & Co. 
Sproul, Robert Gordon, 31, 35 
squash, 12, 49-50 
Stafford, Sonny, 82 
Stanford University, 26, 41, 65, 

74, 76, 98, 134, 169, 182, 191, 

196, 197 

Stern Grove, 24 
Stern, Rosalie Meyer 

(grandmother), 7, 8, 10, 13, 

15, 18, 23-25, 46 
Stern, Sigmund (grandfather), 54- 

55, 156 

Stewart, Dave, 225-226 
Stowe, Tom, 32-33 
Strauss, Levi, 81-82, 128-129, 

156 

Sulzberger, Marion, 43 
Swain, John, 182 

Tang family, 135-136 

Taylor, Bill, 74 

Teller, Mose, 200 

tennis, 10-12, 15, 22, 27, 32-33, 

36, 37, 39-40, 42, 49, 111. 

See also University of 

California. 
Thieriot, Dick, 180 
Thigpen, Pete, 132-134, 141 
Thomas, Franklin, 178 
Tien, Chang-Lin, 195-196, 265-266 



299 



Time, 108, 168 

travel, 2-3, 183; to Europe with 
parents in 1939, 21-22, 45, 52 
Trefethen, Eugene, 194, 208-209 
Trilateral Commission, 2, 175-176 
Tunney , Gene , 1 2 
lusher, Pauline, 134 
lusher, Tom, 134 

Ueberroth, Peter, 224-225 
United Airlines, 171-174, 213 
United Bay Area Crusade, 188 
United States budget, testifying 

on, 147 
University of California, 

Berkeley, 64, 101, 122, 134, 
165, 189-198; Alpha Delta Phi, 
31, 37, 39; alumni support for, 
35-36, 189-198, 272; and the 
legislature, 35-36; athletics, 
5, 30, 36, 73-74, 129, 182, 189- 
192, 195-197, 271; Berkeley 
Medal, 193-194; Bowles Hall, 
31-32; Cowell Hospital, 194- 
195; Free Speech Movement, 192- 
193; Haas School of Business, 
129, 134, 165-166, 169, 194-196; 
investments, 165; playing 
tennis at, 32-33, 36, 37, 49, 
270-271; scholarships, 156; 
Stern Hall, 23; teaching at 
business school, 127-129, 148; 
undergraduate years at, 14, 30- 
40, 267-271 
University of Michigan, 30, 35, 

192 
University of Tennessee, 129 

VanKerKen, Henry, 132 
Villa Taverna, 213 
Villaponda, Mr., 22 
Volcker, Paul, 176 

Waldorf, Pappy, 197 
Walsh, Bill, 191, 196 
Washington, Booker T. , 72-73 
Washington Post. 174 
Weinberg, Lee, 83-84 
Wells Fargo Bank, 211-212 



Westdahl, Phil, 182 

Wheaton College, 44 

White House, the, 3, 18, 152-153 

Wills, Helen, 32 

Wolf, Abraham, 46 

Wolfman, George, 196-197 

World Series, 1989, 216-218, 220, 

222-223 
World War II, 50-51, 60-63, 132; 

army service in, 1, 45, 50-51, 

60-63, 159-160 
Wrangler, 60, 68-69, 95-96 

Younger, Evelle, 119 
Zellerbach, Bill, 5, 184-185 



ANN LAGE 



B.A., and M.A. , in History, University of California, 

Berkeley. 

Postgraduate studies, University of California, 
Berkeley, American history and education. 

Chairman, Sierra Club History Committee, 1978-1986; oral 

history coordinator, 1974-present; Chairman, Sierra Club 
Library Committee, 1993-present. 

Interviewer /Editor, Regional Oral History Office, in the 
fields of natural resources and the 
environment, university history, California 
political history, 1976-present. 

Principal Editor, assistant office head, Regional Oral History 
Office, 1994-present. 



13373 



U. C. BERKELEY LIBRARIES 




C0535flM5SE