F. Ross Johnson, former CEO of RJR Nabisco, dies at 85

Markets Associated Press

F. Ross Johnson, the former RJR Nabisco CEO depicted as the epitome of corporate greed in the bestselling book and movie "Barbarians at the Gate," has died. He was 85.

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The Aycock-Riverside Funeral and Cremation Center in Jupiter, Florida, said Johnson died Thursday.

Johnson became CEO of RJR Nabisco in 1986, a consumer goods giant making both Oreo cookies and Camel cigarettes.

In October 1988, Johnson and a group of investors proposed taking Atlanta-based RJR Nabisco private, which started a month-long fierce bidding war. The private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts eventually won the bidding war, paying nearly $25 billion for RJR Nabisco.

The bidding war, as well as Johnson's notoriously opulent lifestyle, was later dramatized in the bestselling book "Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco."