Iacocca led Ford Motor Company during the pinnacle of the American auto industry during the 1960’s, and he saved Chrysler Motors from bankruptcy during the 1970’s.
Born to immigrant parents in Pennsylvania, Lee Iacocca majored in engineering at Lehigh University, then earned a graduate degree at Princeton. In 1946, he began work at
By the 1970’s, Iacocca found his situation at Ford precarious because of frequent clashes with Henry Ford II. In 1978, Ford convinced the corporate board to fire Iacocca. The former Ford employee took a job as head of
In a controversial move, Iacocca went to the federal government and negotiated an $800 million loan. The request touched off a political firestorm. Opponents blasted it as corporate welfare at a time when services for the poor and unemployed were being slashed. Iacocca succeeded in arranging the loan in 1979 and subsequently turned Chrysler around and repaid the loan by 1983.
Iacocca retired from Chrysler in 1992. In retirement, he remained a corporate celebrity, a role emulated by many but matched by very few executives.
Chrysler bailout of 1979
Ford Motor Company