Thomas Carroll, Former IESC President and CEO, Dies at 90

17-Feb-2010 Categories: Press Releases

Thomas Sylvester Carroll, 90, retired CEO of Lever Brothers, president and CEO emeritus of the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) and resident of New Canaan, CT for over sixty years, passed away February 1st, 2010.

He was born October 1st, 1919 in Washington Heights, NY. A graduate of Catawba College in Salisbury, NC, Tom pursued graduate studies at MIT and received his MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1947. He served during WWII with the U.S. Army Air Corps, advancing to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 1947 Tom and Sidney G. Burke wed and together raised five sons.

Tom derived both personal and professional fulfillment overseeing the expansion of the IESC, which was founded in 1964 by David Rockefeller and Sol Linowitz as a "business person's Peace Corps," whose mission is to promote private enterprise in developing countries. During his tenure from 1981-1993 as president and CEO, the group experienced its greatest growth, to date, and tripled the number of projects undertaken by its volunteers worldwide.

Prior to leading the IESC, Tom served as president and CEO of Lever Brothers, from April 1967 until February 1980 when he announced his retirement. He continued as a director of the company and chairman of the finance committee of the board and as a director of Unilever, U.S. until 1983. Tom was trustee emeritus of the Museum of Modern Art, advising the museum in its economic development. He was also a trustee of Catawba College, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, director of Associates of Harvard Business School, former president of the Harvard Business School Association, chairman of the Grocery Manufacturers of America, member of the board of directors of American Airlines, Interpace Corporation and Associated Dry Goods Corporation. From 1964-1966 Tom served as Police Commissioner in New Canaan, and was an Honorary Deputy Fire Commissioner, NYFD. A lifelong athlete, Tom boxed in his youth and attended Catawba College on a football scholarship.

Tom was a tennis champion at both the New Canaan Field and the Country Club of New Canaan. As a member of the Racquet and Tennis Club, Tom was ranked third nationally in 1995-1996 in men's singles squash (75+) by the United States Squash Racquets Association. While raising his family he became an avid skier, returning to Alta, Utah annually from 1965-1999. He skied his last run in the shadow of Mount Baldy at seventy-nine.

In 1981, Tom Carroll and Caroline E. Wheelwright married; she predeceased him in 2005. One son, Thomas Jeremiah also predeceased him, in 1973. Tom will be deeply missed by his four sons: Jeffrey, James, Matthew and Charles; favorite daughters-in-law: Lynda, Nancy, and Penny; nine grandchildren: Elizabeth, Julia, Nicholas, Clara, Finn, Amanda, Thomas "TJ" Jeremiah, Liam and Dylan; and two stepchildren: George and Sophia Wheelwright. The son of Irish immigrants and the youngest of six fun loving siblings, Tom made the most of his opportunities and, in return, gave generously to many people, rich and poor, around the globe. Tom was and remains a preeminent example of his favorite saying, "it is better to be born lucky than rich".

A celebration of Tom's life will be held at 2pm on March 21st at the New Canaan Country Club. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that those so inclined send donations to either The Thomas S. Carroll Executive Symposium Endowment at Catawba College, Development Office, 2300 West Innes St., Salisbury, NC 28144, or International Executive Service Corp., 1900 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20036.

Share your condolences