Terry Hatchett went to work for a Big Eight accounting firm right after leaving Texas A&M with his BBA in 1968. In the following years, Hatchett climbed the corporate ladder, starting as a CPA and moving to the upper echelons of management. With each promotion, he was entrusted with larger territories and budgets, eventually achieving the status of managing partner and COO of North America, responsible for $4.3 billion in revenue and 28,000 employees. The future looked bright for this Aggie, however, as he told students at Mays Business School recently, in 2002, his 34-year career “came to an abrupt end” when his firm, Arthur Andersen, was suddenly forced to surrender its license.

Hatchett shared interesting details and insights from his remarkable career journey as a guest lecturer on a recent campus visit. The business students in the classroom were attentive as Hatchett chronicled his career highlights from the past forty years, examining his challenges and adventures as a partner with Andersen.

Hatchett speaking to students
Terry Hatchett ’68 recently returned to College Station to share his business and life experiences with Mays students.

During his years with the firm, Hatchett had the opportunity to gain a global perspective, as he took positions in Barcelona, Shanghai, and Tokyo, as well as Dallas, Houston, and Chicago. “It was a wonderful career,” he said, citing Thailand as his favorite of all the places he’s lived and worked. (Hatchett boasts that he has 4.6 million frequent flier miles accumulated, most of which came from his three years as managing partner of the Asia Pacific region.) Hatchett encouraged students to consider job opportunities outside of Texas and to not be afraid of adventures abroad.

Hatchett says he intended to stay with Andersen until his retirement, however that turned out not to be an option. “When all of that happened, it was like I had been moving ahead at a hundred miles an hour and went to a full stop….so like any reasonable person, I went to a golf course and felt sorry for myself,” he joked. Hatchett said he felt it was important to move on without bitterness, so when a new opportunity arose, he took a position with the largest law firm in the world, London-based Clifford Chance. Hatchett served as the regional chief operating officer for the Americas from 2003-2007, helping the firm to become one of the most profitable in the world.

From all his years in business, Hatchett says that one of the most important lessons he’s learned is to focus on “the desired state” or the big picture. “What do you want to be when you get there? Don’t start worrying about tactics and roadblocks,” he told students. “The hardest thing for most American companies is to have a clear desired state.”

Hatchett is now retired, but has not stopped globe hopping. He and his wife of 39 years, Kathy, recently took a yearlong trip to some of the most interesting locations in the world, such as Egypt, China, and Galapagos. They now reside in Houston.

In 2005, Hatchett was honored with an Outstanding Alumni Award for Mays Business School. Formerly, he has served on the board of advisors of Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business, taught a class at Rice University for ten years, and was a member of the Andersen Worldwide Board and the Andersen Global Leadership team.