The Life and Legacy of S. Curtis Johnson

S. Curtis Johnson, the great-great-grandson of Samuel Curtis Johnson, the founder of S.C. Johnson & Son, a global leader in household and industrial cleaning products, is a figure shrouded in both success and scandal. Once a prominent figure in the business world, Johnson’s life took a dramatic turn when he was convicted of sexual assault in 2014.

Early Life and Business Acumen

Born into a family of wealth and privilege, Johnson attended Cornell University and Harvard Business School before embarking on a successful business career. He joined S.C. Johnson & Son in 1978 and rose through the ranks to become chairman and CEO of Diversey, Inc., a subsidiary of S.C. Johnson & Son. Under Johnson’s leadership, Diversey grew into a global leader in cleaning and hygiene solutions.

A Fall from Grace

In 2011, Johnson was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting his stepdaughter over a period of three years, starting when she was 12 years old. Following a three-year legal battle, Johnson pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges in 2014 and was sentenced to four months in jail and a $6,000 fine. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender.

The Aftermath and Ongoing Impact

Johnson’s conviction sent shockwaves through the business world and shattered his public image. He was forced to resign from his position at Diversey and stepped down from numerous corporate boards. The scandal also tarnished the reputation of S.C. Johnson & Son, leading to calls for boycotts of the company’s products.

A Complex Legacy

Despite his conviction, Johnson remains a wealthy man with a net worth estimated at $460 million. However, his legacy is now forever intertwined with his criminal history. He serves as a stark reminder that even the most successful individuals can fall from grace when they engage in illegal and immoral behavior.


The life of S. Curtis Johnson is a cautionary tale about the consequences of one’s actions. His story highlights the importance of personal integrity and the need to hold those in positions of power accountable for their behavior. While Johnson’s business acumen is undeniable, his criminal conviction casts a dark shadow over his legacy.