Richard E. Cross
Career at AMC
Richard E. Cross was a "quiet, analytical attorney" who served as legal counsel for American Motors Corporation (AMC). He drew up the 1954 merger papers that created the new company from Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson Motor Car Company. Cross became a director of the company in 1954, and in 1959, a member of the policy committee.
He was one of a duumvirate succeeding George W. Romney, who at the time was technically on leave of absence. In 1962, at age 52, Cross was elected chairman of the board of directors as well as the chief executive officer, while Roy Abernethy was named president of AMC.
This was a turbulent time in AMC's strategy development. While the rest of the industry had record earnings, AMC's profits and return on sales dropped (from 7% of its sales in 1959, to an estimated 3.5% return for 1962). However, in September 1962, AMC paid off an US$80 million loan and became the only U.S. automaker free of long-term debt. Management could go after new markets, but the company had developed a resistance to extensive restyling.
Cross supported the change away from Romney's legacy of the "economy-car" image and their "boxy" styling. This involved the automaker making major design, styling, and marketing changes, as well as the addition of new convertibles and sporty models that were promoted by Abernethy.
In June 1966, Cross was forced to step down from the CEO post and was replaced by Robert B. Evans. Cross became chairman of AMC's executive committee and could devote more time to his practice of law in Detroit, Michigan.
"Cross was an urbane, hardheaded lawyer, as well as the chief executive officer at AMC making long-term decisions"
- "Autos: Two for American Motors", Time, 1962-02-23, retrieved 2009-12-27.
- "Life Without Father", Time, 1962-10-05, retrieved 2009-12-27.
- Conde, John A., "1965-67 AMC Marlin", Collectible Automobile Magazine, June 1988, V 5, N 1.
- "Introduction to the 1965-1967 AMC Marlin" by the Auto Editors Consumer Guide, HowStuffWorks.com. 2007-10-26. Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
- "American Motors' New Gospel", Time, 1966-06-17, retrieved 2009-12-27.
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