The Wall Street Journal - 07.09.2019 - 08.09.2019

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The company was founded in
1951 by Ruben Rausing, a Swede
who studied economics at Colum-
bia University. Using a packaging
concept originated by Erik Wallen-
berg, Tetra Pak devised machinery
to fill long tubes of paperboard
with fluid and pinch the material
into individual sealed containers.
Originally resembling little pyra-
mids, or tetrahedrons, the contain-
ers evolved into a box shape.


ans Rausing, Ruben’s sec-
ond son, was born March
25, 1926, in Gothenburg,
Sweden. He studied economics,
statistics and Russian at Lund Uni-
versity, where he graduated in

  1. He and his older brother,
    Gad, joined their father’s business.
    Hans Rausing became chief execu-
    tive of the company in the early
    He met Märit Norrby, a lecturer
    in medieval German at Lund Uni-
    versity. They married in 1958,
    within three months of meeting.
    The Rausings were patient in
    building up the company, which
    was unprofitable for more than
    two decades. In the 1950s, Hans
    Rausing led bold expansions into
    undeveloped markets in the Soviet

Union and Japan.
Hans Rausing moved his family
to Britain in 1982, benefiting from
lower taxes, and built a single-
story home on an estate in East
Sussex. The architect, John
Outram, described the home as
“built like a factory and finished
like a palace.” Mr. Rausing created
refuges for deer and other wildlife
near his home.
In 1991, Tetra Pak acquired Alfa-
Laval AB, a Swedish maker of dairy
and food-processing equipment,
creating what is now known as
Tetra Laval Group. Hans Rausing
stepped down as chairman in 1993.
Two years later, he sold his share
of the company to his older
The drug addiction of Mr. Raus-
ing’s son, Hans Kristian, tormented
the family for years. In 2012, Hans
Kristian’s wife, Eva, who had her
own long history of drug addic-
tion, died in the couple’s town-
house in London’s Chelsea neigh-
borhood. Her body was discovered
two months after her death.
The family’s struggle to rescue
Hans Kristian from addiction was
the subject of “Mayhem,” a 2017
memoir by one of his sisters,
Sigrid Rausing.
She also described happier
times in her childhood at the fam-
ily’s summer house, where her fa-
ther burned the trash at night in a
rusted barrel. He and his children
watched the garbage burn at night,
“glowing fragments of newspaper
whirling up in the heat,” Sigrid
Rausing wrote.
“Sometimes I was afraid of the
dark. My father, standing with me
by the fire, told me that dark was
simply the absence of light. And
such was his authority that I be-
lieved him.”
Mr. Rausing’s survivors include
his wife, three children and seven

 Read a collection of in-depth

1926 — 2019

‘Greta Garbo of Business’

Led Packaging Empire


ans Rausing expanded Tetra
Pak, a small Swedish pack-
aging company founded by
his father, into a global company
whose brick-shaped paperboard
cartons made it possible to store
milk, juice, soup and other grocery
items for six months or more with-
out refrigeration. The world now
consumes more than 500 million
Tetra Pak containers a day.
Mr. Rausing, who died Aug. 30
at age 93, was less successful in
his quest to keep a low profile.
Wary of kidnapping and other
security threats to his family, he
was “the Greta Garbo of the busi-
ness world,” as he was once de-
scribed by a newspaper in Britain,
his home since the early 1980s. Yet
he couldn’t keep himself entirely
out of public view.
It didn’t help that he was 6-
foot-8, or that his family in 1994
surpassed the Queen of England
on the Sunday Times list of the
wealthiest people in Britain. Later
in his life, the heroin addiction of
his son, Hans Kristian, kept the
family name in tabloid headlines.
Forbes estimated Mr. Rausing’s
fortune at $12 billion. In a rare in-
terview with a British paper 18
years ago, he said he understood
machinery but not finances and
didn’t know how much money he
had. “Either you have 20 mis-
tresses covered with diamonds and
a Mercedes 500, or you achieve
something with your money,” he
said. “For me, it is a passion to try
to develop and create industry in
different ways.”
Tetra Pak’s containers are best
known in the U.S. for individual
servings of juice with straws that
puncture a foil seal. In Europe and
some other parts of the world,
they are popular for milk. They
also can be used for wine and ma-
ple syrup, among other things.
Their block shape allows for effi-
cient storage and transportation.


1942 — 2019

Climate Scenarios Drew

Economist’s Scrutiny


artin Weitzman, a Harvard
University economist, ex-
plored policy options for
some of the trickiest economic is-
sues of his time, including unem-
ployment and inflation in the
1970s and 1980s, and climate
change in the past two decades.
A pioneer of environmental
economics, Prof. Weitzman ar-
gued for considering the full
range of possible outcomes from
the buildup of heat-trapping car-
bon emissions. He pointed to a
high level of uncertainty over
how much global temperatures
might rise in coming decades.
If the temperature rise is near
the midpoint of the projected
range, the effects on human life
might be bearable, he said. But if
the temperature increase is closer

to the high end of that range,
“these are horrifying numbers,
they would alter everything on
Earth, every ecosystem, every per-
son,” he said in a video presenta-
tion posted online by Harvard.
To reduce the risk of a catas-
trophe, he suggested a uniform
global tax on carbon emissions.
In the 1980s, he argued for pay-
ing workers partly on the basis of
their companies’ profits. That way,
compensation would rise during
booms and fall during downturns,
allowing companies to lower costs
when demand was weak without
resorting to mass layoffs.
Prof. Weitzman died Aug. 27 in
what the Massachusetts medical
examiner determined was a sui-
cide. He was 77 years old.
—James R. Hagerty

1944 — 2019

Fund Founder Backed

Firms Run by Women


n the 1970s, when Patty
Abramson and two female
partners in a Washington,
D.C., public-relations firm sought
a line of credit, bankers kept im-
posing an irksome condition:
“Only if your husbands sign for
the loan.”
Out of Ms. Abramson’s exas-
peration sprang an idea. In 1997,
she co-founded the Women’s
Growth Capital Fund, a venture-
capital fund investing in compa-
nies owned by women. She raised
about $30 million and invested it
over the next five years or so in a
variety of companies. She was
still on the boards of some of
those companies years later.
The fund was small, and the
results mixed. But Ms. Abramson
showed there was an opportunity

to profit on companies run by
women. Her daughter Jenny
Abramson now is pursuing that
strategy as founder of Rethink
Impact, a venture-capital firm fo-
cused on female entrepreneurs
that has raised $112 million and
invested in 23 companies over the
past three years.
Twenty years after her mother
spotted an underserved market, it
remains largely overlooked, Jenny
Abramson says. Companies
founded solely by women re-
ceived only 2.3% of total capital
invested in venture-backed start-
ups in the U.S. in 2018, according
to the data service PitchBook.
Patty Abramson died of cancer
Aug. 24 at her summer home in
Nantucket, Mass. She was 74.
—James R. Hagerty



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