Allen Jacobson 2011
Allen F. Jacobson
BS '47, Chemical Engineering
After graduating from Iowa State, Allen F. Jacobson went to work in 3M’s Scotch tape laboratory and remained with the company his entire professional career, rising through 3M’s ranks and retiring as chairman of the board and chief executive officer in 1991.
Jacobson’s steady advancement through tape manufacturing assignments eventually led to him becoming vice president for 3M’s Industrial Tape Division. In the early 1970s, he was given responsibility for the company’s Canadian operations and then European operations before becoming group vice president and later sector executive vice president. Elected a 3M board member in 1983, he became president of U.S. operations in 1984 and was named to the top position at 3M in 1986.
During his tenure as CEO, Jacobson grew revenue at 3M from $8.6 billion to $13 billion and income from $779 million to $1.3 billion. Concurrently, he increased spending on research and development by more than 40 percent to over $800 million, which represented 6.5 percent of the company’s sales. His accomplishments put him on the cover of the March 1988 issue of Fortune magazine, which saluted 3M’s commitment to innovation. He also chaired the board of the U.S. Council for International Business, was named the 1992 American Manager of the Year by the National Management Association, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Jacobson’s outstanding professional career was accompanied by extraordinary service and leadership to every community of which he has been a member. He served as a director of the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and chaired the United Way of St. Paul campaign. His life-long association with the Boy Scouts of America led to him being named an Honorary Life Member.
Jacobson resides in Naples, Fla. He is a member of the Order of the Knoll Campanile Society and President’s Circle.