|Born||James Joseph Ling
December 31, 1922
Hugo, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Died||December 17, 2004
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Cause of death||Esophageal cancer|
James Joseph "Jimmy" Ling (December 31, 1922 – December 17, 2004) was an American 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. His empire fell apart after he acquired the money-losing Jones & Laughlin Steel Company in 1970, and he had to sell subsidiaries to try to stanch the financial hemorrhage. Ling resigned under bankers' orders in 1975 after antitrust issues arose. Ling formed several companies after his time at LTV, but none were as successful. His first comeback try, Omega-Alpha, went bankrupt in 1975.
Ling died of esophageal cancer at his Dallas, Texas home.
- Martin, Douglas (26 December 2004). "James J. Ling, Who Built Conglomerates, Dies at 81". The New York Times.
- Wayne, Leslie (12 July 1981). "Conglomerateur Extraordinaire: James J. Ling; With LTV a Memory, He's Taking His Act to the Oil Patch". The New York Times.
- Sobel, Robert (1984). The Rise and Fall of the Conglomerate Kings. New York: Stein and Day. ISBN 0-8128-2961-1.
- Brown, Stanley H. (1999). Ling: The Rise, Fall, and Return of a Texas Titan. Beard Books. ISBN 978-1893122307.