By - Christopher Knowlton

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Gin rummy ace Richard Morrow, chairman of Amoco, just chose a new, high-stakes game: mergers and acquisitions. He has bid for Dome Petroleum, the troubled Canadian oil company. If Morrow wins, he will have bolstered Amoco's reserves and stepped cleanly from the shadow of his predecessor, John E. Swearingen -- Amoco's legendary leader for 23 years. A square-faced man with wavy silver hair, Morrow, 61, is dour and meticulous, an executive whose personal caution and conservatism perfectly match Amoco's own. Says Sara Lee Chairman John H. Bryan Jr., who serves on the board: ''This is a company that dots the i's and crosses the t's. Dick is a product of the company, so you won't see him shoot from the hip.'' After growing up in Ohio and spending 3 1/2 years in the Navy, Morrow earned a degree in petroleum engineering from Ohio State and went to work for Amoco. He put in tours of duty at company outposts in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Denver, and broke into the big time in 1970 with a job at Chicago headquarters as executive vice president of the chemical division. There he won a reputation as a good listener and delegator who never made mistakes. ''Dick just seemed to be born to the purple,'' says Blaine J. Yarrington, a retired executive who watched Morrow's steady rise and, along with many others in Amoco's top circle, lost money to him in gin rummy. ''He's a benign handler of power.'' Morrow, whose first wife died of cancer, subsequently married Janet Malone, 55, a member of Chicago's Ethics Board, a watchdog on city affairs. They split their time between a downtown apartment and a colonial in suburban Glenview. Morrow likes to hunt and fish and, of course, to play cards. His game may be gin, but the face, and manner, are strictly poker.