John P. Harbin was born in Waxahachte, Texas in 1917. Harbin attended the University of Texas at Austin where he graduated from in 1939 with a BBA. He served as administrator for the Advisory Council of McCombs School of Business of the University of Texas at Austin, and was a member of the board of Citicorp, Circle K, and Lone Star Steel.
Harbin’s greatest impact came during the 1970s as the CEO of Halliburton, a multi-billion dollar oil services and construction company. During a difficult economic downturn in the US in the late 1970s Harbin was nevertheless able to post more than ten years of profits for Halliburton. During Harbin’s tenure as CEO for Halliburton revenues increased five times, from $1.4 billion in 1972 to $7.3 billion in 1982. Earnings also soared by about seven-fold from $66 million to close to $500 million. Due to Harbin Halliburton was positioned among the 50 best performers of all US firms for ten years in a row.