John G. Searle, 76, former president, board chairman, and chief executive Saturday at his winter home in Hobe Sound, Fla.
He was president of Seacle when the drug company introduced the first successful oral contraceptive, Enovid, in the United States in 1960.
Mr. Searle joined the company, founded by his grandfather in 1883, in 1927 as a buyer.
He became vice president in 1931 and in 1936 succeeded his father, Claude Howard Searle, as president.
He served as president until 1966 when he became chairman of the board, a post he held until he retired in 1971.
As chief executive officer from 1936 to 1970, Mr. Searle saw the Searle Co. become one of the largest pharmaceutical concerns in the country, in addition to becoming a manufacturer of hospital products and diagnostic equipment.
He was born in Sabula, Iowa and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan.
He belonged to a number of organizations. He was past president of both the American Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and the American Drug Manufacturers Association.
Mr. Searle had been a member of the board of trusters of Northwestern University for more than 20 years and had served as president of the board from 1964 to 1970.
He is survived by his wife, Frances, of the homes; a daughter, Suzanne Dixon; two sons, Daniel and William; and nine grandchildren.