Wrigley was born into one of America’s great business dynasties. His namesake great-grandfather, William Wrigley Jr., started William Wrigley Co. in 1891 as a manufacturer of soap but pivoted in 1893 to produce Wrigley’s chewing gum instead. The company was handed down through the generations, and Beau’s father ran it until the day he died, in March 1999. Beau, who started working at the company over his summer break when he was 13, was 35 years old when he became CEO and chairman the day after his father passed away.
He is credited with breathing life into a 100-year-old family business by helping replace its natural-gum formula with a more cost-effective synthetic base and expanding its reach by acquiring Life Savers and Altoids. In October 2008, Wrigley closed the deal of his lifetime—he took Wrigley Co. private by selling to Mars, Inc., another company owned by a family of billionaires.
Beau was the fourth generation member of the Wrigley family to lead the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, a global leader in confections founded in 1891. He began his career with the company in 1985 and, after serving in multiple roles, became the Chairman, President and CEO in 1999.
During his leadership, the Wrigley Company tripled in size and expanded its reach to consumers in 180 countries. In 2008, Wrigley was sold to privately-held and family-owned Mars, Incorporated. Currently, Beau is an investor in and advisor to several business interests spanning multiple industries. He is a Senior Advisor to BDT Capital Partners, a merchant bank that provides long-term capital and advisory services to entrepreneurs and family-owned companies, in addition to investing in a range of venture capital and private equity interests.
Beau is an active philanthropist, currently serving as a Trustee of Conservation International and Co-Chair of their Ocean Health Council. Inspired by his passion for ocean conservation and diving, Beau was the originator and provided the founding grant for the Ocean Health Index (OHI), the first comprehensive global measurement of ocean health that scientifically compares and combines all dimensions of ocean health – biological, physical, economic and social.
Beau is a 1985 graduate of Duke University with a B.A. in Economics and attended the Wharton School of Business Advanced Management Program in 1994. Additionally, he was in the 1997 inaugural class of the Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellowship Program.