James R. "Jim Bob" Moffett, the co-founder and former CEO of Freeport McMoRan, Inc., the Fortune 500 mining and exploration company once headquartered in New Orleans, where he became a business titan, died Friday January 8 2021 in his home in Austin Texas. He was 82. His son Bubba said Moffett died of COVID-19 complications.
Moffett stepped down as chairman of the company he co-founded in 2015. Now based in Phoenix, Freeport extracts copper, gold, and molybdenum from sites in North and South America and Indonesia. In 2019, the company's revenue totaled approximately $14 billion.
The company began in New Orleans as McMoRan Oil & Gas, founded in 1969 by Moffett and partners Ken McWilliams and Mack Rankin. Letters from their surnames combined to form the company’s name.
In 1981, the company merged with Freeport Minerals Co. to form Freeport-McMoRan. In 2007 the firm executed a $26 billion buyout of another mining company, Arizona-based Phelps Dodge Corp.
Chairman of the Board of the Company, and President Commissioner of PT Freeport Indonesia. Chief Executive Officer of the Company until 2003. Co-Chairman of the Board of McMoRan.
After high school, Moffett earned a football scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin, where he played for legendary Longhorn coach Darrell Royal. He majored in geology. Moffett came to Tulane University to get his master's degree and stayed in New Orleans.