The Fall Of A Timber Baron

Harry A. Merlo never thought it would end like this. Late one Friday in July, the 70-year-old chief executive of Louisiana-Pacific Corp. was summoned to a meeting of the Portland (Ore.) lumber company's board. Assembled was a somber-looking collection of close friends, including famed test pilot Chuck Yeager and loyal business associates dating back 20 years. The meeting was brief: Directors asked Merlo and his top two lieutenants to resign immediately. "It was a complete surprise to him," says one Merlo associate present. "Harry was devastated."

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