John W. Jorgensen, recently retired president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles-based Earle M. Jorgensen Co., died here Friday. He was 64.
Jorgensen retired earlier this month after 42 years with the nationwide processor and distributor of steel and aluminum, founded in 1924 by his father, board Chairman Earle Jorgensen, who continues to head the firm.
The successful company attracted national attention during President Ronald Reagan's Administration when it gave $50,000 to William French Smith on his resignation from the company's board of directors shortly before he became attorney general. Ultimately, Smith returned the money, even though Justice Department investigators decided that it was a proper payment for past services rather than an unethical supplement to his government salary.
Both Smith and Earle Jorgensen were among Reagan's long-term Kitchen Cabinet of advisers.
John Jorgensen, a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, joined his father's company as a trainee in 1948 after graduation from Pomona College. During his career, he held the positions of executive assistant to the president, vice president, and president and chief executive officer.