Peter Georgescu to appear on ‘Chautauqua People’

Peter Georgescu will be the next person featured on the new Access Channel 5 program called “Chautauqua People,” which debuted in July. The program will air at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. each day beginning on Aug. 24 with the last airing on Aug. 30.

Georgescu was born in Bucharest where his family was in the upper levels of Romanian society. His father was employed by Standard Oil of New Jersey during World War II while the Romanian government was under control of Ion Antonescu, supported by the Iron Guard fascist movement.

Georgescu and his brother Costa were sent from Bucharest to live with their grandparents in the village of Lipova as their father joined the resistance movement.

In 1941 his father was arrested by the fascists and imprisoned until the end of the war. Upon release in 1945, he resumed his work with Standard Oil. The family spent two very happy post-war years together.

However, while Georgescu’s parents were in the United States on a business trip, Stalin’s forces seized control of Romania as a vast Iron Curtain fell across Europe. Everyone knew that Georgescu’s father was unable to return home because he would have been immediately arrested and executed. Around age 10, Georgescu, his older brother, and grandmother were put into hard labor. The boys lived with their grandmother and were required to perform the worst of near-slave-labor jobs by the communist government when they should have been attending school. During this time his grandfather was executed in a communist prison.

Georgescu was reunited with his parents in 1954 at the age of 15 after President Eisenhower arranged for the boys’ freedom in return for some Russian spies held by the U.S. He arrived in this country and was greeted by his parents whom he hardly remembered.

He was accepted by the headmaster of Exeter academy despite having no knowledge of the English language and only a third-grade education. He mastered the language and academics necessary eventually to attend Princeton where he graduated cum laude. He subsequently earned an MBA from Stanford.

Instead of following his father and entering the oil industry, Georgescu joined Young and Rubicam, a marketing and communications company, where he remained for 40 years, retiring as chairman and Chief Executive Officer.