Richard E. Cross

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Richard E. Cross at American Motors during the 1960s

Richard Eugene Cross was an American business executive in the automotive industry and a lawyer.

Career at AMC[edit]

Richard E. Cross was a "quiet, analytical attorney" who served as legal counsel for American Motors Corporation (AMC).[1] He drew up the 1954 merger papers that created the new company from Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson Motor Car Company.[1] Cross became a director of the company in 1954, and in 1959, a member of the policy committee.[1]

He was one of a duumvirate succeeding George W. Romney, who at the time was technically on leave of absence.[2] 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.[1]

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).[2] However, in September 1962, AMC paid off an US$80 million loan and became the only U.S. automaker free of long-term debt.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

In June 1966, Cross was forced to step down from the CEO post and was replaced by Robert B. Evans.[5] Cross became chairman of AMC's executive committee and could devote more time to his practice of law in Detroit, Michigan.[5]

"Cross was an urbane, hardheaded lawyer, as well as the chief executive officer at AMC making long-term decisions"[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Autos: Two for American Motors", Time, 1962-02-23, retrieved 2009-12-27 .
  2. ^ a b c d "Life Without Father", Time, 1962-10-05, retrieved 2009-12-27 .
  3. ^ Conde, John A., "1965-67 AMC Marlin", Collectible Automobile Magazine, June 1988, V 5, N 1.
  4. ^ "Introduction to the 1965-1967 AMC Marlin" by the Auto Editors Consumer Guide, HowStuffWorks.com. 2007-10-26. Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
  5. ^ a b "American Motors' New Gospel", Time, 1966-06-17, retrieved 2009-12-27 .