Riley P. Bechtel ('74), Chairman of the Board, Bechtel Corp.


Riley P. Bechtel is chairman of the board and a director of Bechtel Group, Inc.

Riley joined Bechtel in 1966, working summers in various field construction and other jobs while attending school.  He graduated from UC Davis in 1974 (BA, Political Science & Psychology).  After receiving a combined JD/MBA degree from Stanford University’s School of Law and Graduate School of Business in 1979, he joined the law firm of Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges as an associate attorney.  Rejoining Bechtel in 1981, he became a contract coordinator and then piping superintendent at the Belle River Power Plant in Michigan.  Two years later, he served as area superintendent at the Badak LNG Plant in Indonesia, with responsibility for all construction activity in one of the two main process areas of the plant.  He then moved to New Zealand, where he served as general field superintendent on the New Zealand Gas-to-Gasoline project.  In early 1985, Riley moved to London where he served as a business development representative, pursuing projects in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and Africa.  He became assistant manager of operations for the London Division in late1985, division technical manager in 1986, and general manager in late 1986.

Riley was named a director of Bechtel in August 1987 and executive vice president three months later.  In March 1989, he was elected president and chief operating officer of Bechtel.  He became president and chief executive officer in June 1990, and chairman and chief executive officer in January 1996.  In February 2014, he stepped down as Bechtel’s chief executive officer and continues to serve as its chairman of the board.

Riley is married to the former Susan Elizabeth Peters, and they have three grown children and one grandchild.

Riley is a:

  • director of Fremont Investors, Inc., a member of Fremont Group, L.L.C. Board of Advisors and of Fremont Group Governance and Compensation Committee;
  • associate member of the American Society of Corporate Executives;
  • graduate member of The Business Council;
  • member of the National Petroleum Council;
  • member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council;
  • member of The Thacher School Board of Trustees;
  • member of Theranos, Inc. Board of Directors;
  • member of UC Davis Board of Advisors;
  • member of the Indian School of Business Governing Board;
  • member of The Conservation Fund’s Corporate Council;
  • Honorary Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers;
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and
  • Honorary Lifetime Member of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

Riley was a:

  • director of Ocean Exploration Trust (2011-2015);
  • member of the Business Roundtable (1993-2014);
  • director of The Conservation Fund and a member of its Governance Committee (2003-2008);
  • trustee of the JASON Foundation for Education (1996-2005);
  • director of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (1995-2004) and its Audit and Compensation and Development Committees;
  • member of J.P. Morgan’s International Council (2004-2011);
  • member of the President’s Export Council (2003-2004);
  • member of the Stanford Law School Dean's Advisory Council;
  • member of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (1990-1992);
  • member of the National Forum on Non-point Source Pollution (1994-1996); and
  • member of the Board of Trustees of the Thacher School, Ojai, CA (1988-1998).