James Ling

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James "Jimmy" J. Ling (December 31, 1922 – December 17, 2004), from Hugo, Oklahoma, was a US businessman and former head of Ling-Temco-Vought corporation. While at its helm Ling used LTV funds to purchase a large number of corporations, and was one of the more famous of the 1960s conglomerate managers. As with other conglomerates such as ITT, Litton Industries, Teledyne, and Textron, higher interest rates and inflation destroyed LTV in the 1970s.

Ling was the son of a Catholic convert who murdered a fellow railroad worker and later entered a Carmelite monastery. Ling's mother died when he was young, and he lived for a time with an aunt. He failed to graduate from his Jesuit high school but became a master electrician after training at a US Navy school in Mississippi. In 1947 he founded his own Dallas electrical contracting business, Ling Electric Company, where he lived in the rear of the shop. After incorporating and taking his company public in 1955, Ling found innovative ways to market his stock, including door-to-door soliciting and selling from a booth at the State Fair of Texas.

In 1956 Ling bought L.M. Electronics and transformed it into the conglomerate Ling-Temco-Vought. He left the firm in 1975 after antitrust issues arose.

Ling formed several companies after his time at LTV, but none were as successful. Ling later recovered from Guillain-Barré syndrome, first diagnosed in 1981.


  • Ling: The Rise, Fall, and Return of a Texas Titan by Stanley H. Brown (1972)
  • DallasNews.com Obituary Archive - Published December 19, 2004

Further reading[edit]

  • Sobel, Robert (1984). The Rise and Fall of the Conglomerate Kings. New York: Stein and Day. ISBN 0-8128-2961-1.