Warren Anderson, who led Union Carbide during Bhopal disaster, dies at 92

Published Oct 31, 2014, 6:33 pm IST
Updated Mar 30, 2019, 5:43 pm IST
His death, which was not announced by his family, was confirmed from public records
Former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson (Photo: AP)
 Former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson (Photo: AP)

New York: The name might not be known, but the company he worked for became infamous for the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

Former Union Carbide chief Warren M. Anderson died on October 29 in Florida. He was 92.

As reported by the New York Times, Anderson’s family did not make his death public but it was confirmed from public records.

Anderson was heading Union Carbide, which is now a part of Dow Chemical, when the Bhopl gas tragedy occurred in December 1984. Official numbers by the Madhya Pradesh government confirmed 3,787 deaths as but the unofficial estimates said the death toll had exceeded 10,000.

Anderson was highly praised for visiting Bhopal four days after the incident. Although he was arrested immediately, he acquired bail and left the country. After this he never appeared in the court and was labelled a fugitive by the Indian court, while a judge in United States called him an "absconder".

In an interview to The New York Times, five months after the tragedy, Anderson said, “You wake up in the morning thinking, can it have occurred?” And then you know it has and you know it’s something you’re going to have to struggle with for a long time.”

After the Bhopal disaster, Anderson couldn’t sleep. At one point he holed up for a week at a hotel in Stamford. He and his wife, Lillian, spent evenings reading newspaper articles about the tragedy to each other. When they went to restaurants, he was afraid to be seen laughing because people “might not think it was appropriate,” as told to The New York Times.

Anderson started his career with Union Carbide and gradually climbed up the corporate ladder to become the Chief in the company.

A weekly newspaper of the Vero Beach island noted that a paperweight on Mr. Anderson’s desk quoted his favorite Chinese proverb, suggesting his preferred light-handed approach: “Leader is best when people barely know he exists.”



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