Walter Hochschild spent his entire career with AMAX and its predecessor, the American Metal Co. Ltd. (Amco), and was largely responsible for AMAX's product diversification and expansion of operations to distant lands.
Following his graduation from Yale in 1920, Walter joined Amco. By 1950, he was named President of the Company and, in 1960, Board Chairman. Under his guidance, the Company grew dramatically and diversified. Early in his career, Amco provided backing to Climax Molybdenum Co. and, with the onset of World War II, Climax represented the largest single source of molybdenum - an important strategic material. In 1930, through negotiations with Selection Trust involving two of the world's largest copper mines in Africa, Roan Antelope and Mufulira, Amco gained a majority holding in a group of producers of a second major strategic metal - copper. This move extended Amco's foreign holdings and provided a substantial portion of its revenue until 1970.
During the postwar era, Amco further expanded its holdings. It's subsidiary, Southwest Potash, developed a potash mine in New Mexico; Amco entered the petroleum business for the first time; and further expanded in Canada with the development of base metal/silver mines in New Brunswick.
The merger between Amco and Climax Molybdenum in 1957, created American Metal Climax, Inc. known universally as AMAX. The company subsequently merged with Cyprus Mines to form Cyprus-Amax, which in turn was acquirred by Phelps Dodge. Walter Hochschild was elected vice chairman and C.E.O. With his election as Board Chairman in 1960, the 60's became a decade of great expansion in which AMAX earned the distinction of being the world's most diversified energy and minerals company. Under his direction, the Company developed a nitrate of potash and chlorine plant in Mississippi, expanding into the tungsten market, and developed a lead-zinc orebody in 1963. AMAX doubled its fuel reserves and, in 1962, AMAX Petroleum Corporation was formed and carried out extensive exploration in the North Sea and Dutch North Sea. Hochschild led the Company into the aluminum business in 1962, which became AMAX's fastest growing division. He set a high priority on research and development and, as the decade closed, AMAX's sales were at twice their 1960 level and earnings were up 68%.
Through his 45 years of dedicated service, Walter Hochschild contributed enormously to the success of AMAX and to the mining industry as we know it today.