Cecil J. “Pete” Silas retired in 1994 as chairman and chief executive officer of Phillips Petroleum Company which is involved in petroleum exploration and production, refining and marketing, and in the manufacture, distribution, and export of a wide variety of chemicals. He was elected chairman and chief executive officer in 1985 after serving for three years as president and chief operating officer. He began his Phillips career in 1953 as a plastics engineer in the chemicals department and progressed through the company’s ranks during his long and distinguished career.
Mr. Silas served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Phi Delta Theta Educational Foundation from 1995 through 2003 and was named a Trustee Emeritus in 2004. He served as chairman of “The Living Bond” campaign, the Foundation’s comprehensive $5 million capital fund-raising campaign. Silas also served as chairman of a $400 million capital campaign for his alma mater, Georgia Tech.
Silas is past chairman of the board of the American Petroleum Institute and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. He served on the board of The Atlantic Council; the Frank Phillips Foundation; and the Reader’s Digest Lila Wallace and DeWitt Wallace Foundations. He also served as a member of the board of trustees of the Georgia Tech Foundation.
Pete and his wife, Theo, were instrumental in the creation of the the Price Tower Arts Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Silas served as chairman of the board of National Junior Achievement and is past chairman and a current member of the board of the National Boys & Girls Clubs of America. He also served on the board of directors of The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., and Halliburton Company. In addition, Silas was a member of The Council on Foreign Relations and The Business Council.
A former member of the Phillips 66ers basketball team, Silas played on the U.S. team that won the Pan-American games at Mexico City in 1955.
In 1976, the Norwegian government awarded Mr. Silas the Royal Norwegian St. Olav’s Order in the degree of Commander, recognizing his contribution to the development of Norway’s energy and allied industries. It is one of the highest awards bestowed by Norway.
Silas was a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. He was awarded the American Petroleum Institute Gold Medal Award in 1995. Silas held an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma.