When Wood was elected president in 1972 of Eli Lilly at age 45, the company was known mainly for producing antibiotics, a herbicide, and insulin derived from animal sources. By the time he retired in 1991, the company had become the nation’s seventh largest pharmaceutical manufacturer. Profits had increased sevenfold to $1.13 billion.
Born in Brazil, Indiana, Wood graduated from Shortridge High School and attended DePauw University, according to the 1972 Indianapolis Star article that announced his appointment as president. He attended DePauw University but amid World War II transferred to Purdue to earn a bachelor of science degree in engineering.
Still, he always considered himself a DePauw graduate and served as a university trustee for that school. After Purdue, Wood earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and in 1950 started at Eli Lilly as a financial assistant. He worked for Lilly in Argentina and then Mexico before becoming vice president of industrial relations.more » « less