Richard H. Holton, pioneer professor

Dick Holton
Dick Holton
Richard Holton, a former dean of UC Berkeley's business school, high-ranking official in two White House administrations and pioneer in bringing Western-style management to China, died Oct. 24, 2005 at his Berkeley home after suffering from cancer and Parkinson's disease.

As both a marketing professor and government official during the consumer rights movement of the 1960s, he urged business to be more responsive to consumer needs and demands, said his longtime friend and colleague Fred Balderston, a professor emeritus at Berkeley's Haas School of Business. President John F. Kennedy appointed him assistant secretary of commerce in February 1963, and he remained in the post under President Lyndon Johnson until 1965.

Professor Holton's concern with consumer protection led Johnson to appoint him for a year as chairman of the President's Consumer Advisory Council. From 1968 to 1972, he was chairman of the Public Advisory Committee on Truth in Lending Regulations of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Professor Holton also played a role in China's historic transition to the more market-oriented economy that has driven China's spectacular economic growth of recent years. He was enlisted to head a program in Dalian to bring Western business ideas to Chinese managers as part of the broad economic reform movement that was being launched by Deng Xiaoping, China's leader at the time.