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{{Infobox person
| name = Lee Iacocca
| image =
| image_size = 220px
| caption =
| birth_date = {{birth date and age|1924|10|15}}
| birth_place = [[Allentown, Pennsylvania]], [[United States|U.S.]]
| birth_name = Lido Anthony Iacocca
| death_date =
| death_place =
| occupation = Businessman<br />Former [[Chrysler]] CEO<br />Former [[Ford]] President
| salary =
| nickname =
| networth =
| website = [http://www.leeiacocca.com/ leeiacocca.com]<br>[http://www.iacoccafoundation.org/ iacoccafoundation.org]
'''Lido Anthony "Lee" Iacocca''' (born October 15, 1924) is an [[United States|American]] [[businessperson|businessman]] known for his revival of the [[Chrysler]] Corporation in the 1980s,<ref name="NYT-2005-07-19">{{cite news|title=Iacocca, Away From the Grind, Still Has a Lot to Say|work=[[The New York Times]]|publisher=[[The New York Times Company]]|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/19/business/19auto.html?scp=3&sq=Lee+Iacocca&st=nyt|date=2005-07-19|accessdate=2008-04-17 | first=Danny | last=Hakim}}</ref> serving as President and [[CEO]] from 1978 and additionally as chairman from 1979, until his retirement at the end of 1992. One of the most famous business people in the world, he was a passionate advocate of U.S. business exports during the 1980s. He is the author (or co-author) of several books, including ''[[Iacocca: An Autobiography]]'' (with William Novak), and ''[[Where have all the Leaders Gone?]]''
[[Portfolio (magazine)|Portfolio]] named Iacocca the 18th greatest CEO of all time.<ref>http://www.cnbc.com/id/30391313/?slide=4</ref>
==Early life==
Iacocca was born in [[Allentown, Pennsylvania]] to Nicola Iacocca and Antonietta Perrotta, [[Italian people|Italian]] immigrants (from [[San Marco dei Cavoti]], [[Benevento]]) who had settled in Pennsylvania's [[steel]] making belt and operated the restaurant, [[Yocco's Hot Dogs]]. It was reported that he was christened with the unusual name "Lido" because he was conceived during his parents' honeymoon in the [[Lido di Venezia|Lido]] district in [[Venice]].<ref name=Autocar1971>{{cite journal| authorlink = Edouard Siedler| title = Leading the fightback: The American car industry faces souring costs, a flood tide of imported competition and a tightening net of legislation. Men like Iacocca have to fight the way out - and he is confident it can be done. An interview by Edouard Seidler (at a time when Iacocca was the President of Ford Motor Company)| journal = [[Autocar]]| volume = 134 (nbr 3909)| pages = pages 22–23 |date = date 25 February 1971}}</ref>
Iacocca graduated from [[William Allen High School|Allentown High School]] (now known as
William Allen High School) in 1942, and [[Lehigh University]] in neighboring [[Bethlehem, Pennsylvania]], with a degree in industrial engineering. He is a member of [[Tau Beta Pi]], the engineering honor society, and an alumnus of [[Theta Chi]] Fraternity.
After graduating from Lehigh, he won the Wallace Memorial Fellowship and went to [[Princeton University]], where he took his electives in [[politics]] and [[plastic]]s. He then began a career at the [[Ford Motor Company]] as an engineer. Eventually dissatisfied with that job, he switched career paths at Ford, entering the company's sales force. He was very successful in sales, and he moved up through the ranks of Ford, moving ultimately to product development.
Iacocca was married to Mary McCleary in 1956. Mary Iacocca died in 1983 after a decades-long struggle with diabetes. Both before and after her death, Iacocca became a strong advocate for better medical treatment of diabetes patients, who frequently faced debilitating and fatal complications. Iacocca married his second wife Peggy Johnson on April 17, 1986 but in 1987, after nineteen months, Iacocca had the marriage annulled. He married a third wife, Darrien Earle, in 1991. They were divorced three years later, in 1994. He has two daughters: Kathryn and Lia.
==Career at Ford==
Iacocca joined [[Ford Motor Company]] in 1946 and after a brief stint in [[engineering]], he asked to be moved to sales and marketing, where his career flourished. While working in the [[Philadelphia]] district as assistant sales manager, Iacocca gained national recognition with his "56 for '56" campaign, offering loans on 1956 [[model year]] cars with a 20% [[down payment]] and $56 in monthly payments for three years. His campaign went national and Iacocca was called to Dearborn, where he quickly moved through the ranks. In 1960 Iacocca was named Ford's vice-president, car and truck group; in 1967, executive vice-president; and in 1970-1978, president.
Iacocca was involved with the design of several successful Ford automobiles, most notably the [[Ford Mustang]], the [[Lincoln Continental Mark III]], the [[Ford Fiesta]] and the revival of the [[Mercury (automobile)|Mercury]] brand in the late 1960s, including the introduction of the [[Mercury Cougar]] and [[Mercury Marquis]]. He was also the "moving force," as one court put it, behind the [[Ford Pinto]].<ref>[http://online.ceb.com/calcases/CA3/119CA3d757.htm Ford Pinto reference]</ref> He promoted other ideas which did not reach the marketplace as Ford products. These included cars ultimately introduced by Chrysler- the [[Chrysler K platform|K car]] and the [[minivan]]. Eventually, he became the president of the Ford Motor Company, but he clashed with [[Henry Ford II]] and ultimately, in 1978, was fired by Ford, despite the company posting a $2 billion profit for the year.
==Career at Chrysler==
After being fired at Ford, Lee was aggressively courted by the [[Chrysler Corporation]], which was on the verge of going out of business. At the time, the company was losing millions, largely due to recalls of the company's [[Dodge Aspen]] and [[Plymouth Volare]], cars that Iacocca would later claim should never have been built. Iacocca joined Chrysler and began rebuilding the entire company from the ground up, laying off many workers, selling the loss-making [[Chrysler Europe]] division to [[Peugeot]], and bringing in many former associates from his former company. Also from Ford, Iacocca brought to Chrysler the "Mini-Max" project, which, in 1983, bore fruit in the wildly successful [[Dodge Caravan]] and [[Plymouth Voyager]]. Henry Ford II had wanted nothing to do with the Mini-Max, a restyled version of the minivan that Toyota was selling in huge numbers in Asia and Latin America, which doomed the project at Ford. Hal Sperlich, the driving force behind the Mini-Max at Ford had been fired a few months before Iacocca and was waiting for him at Chrysler, where the two would make automotive history.
Iacocca arrived shortly after the introduction of the subcompact [[Dodge Omni]] and [[Plymouth Horizon]]. The front-wheel drive Omni and Horizon became instant hits, selling over 300,000 units each in their debut year, showing what was to come for Chrysler. Ironically, the Omni and Horizon had been designed alongside the [[Chrysler Horizon]] with much input from the Chrysler Europe division of the company, which Iacocca axed in 1978.
== 1979 Auto Bailout ==
Realizing that the company would go out of business if it did not receive a significant amount of money to turn the company around, Iacocca approached the [[United States Congress]] in 1979 and asked for a loan guarantee. While some have said that Congress ''lent'' Chrysler the money, the government, in fact, only ''guaranteed'' the loans. Most observers thought this was an unprecedented move, but Iacocca pointed to the government [[bailout]]s of the airline and railroad industries, arguing that more jobs were at stake in Chrysler's possible demise. In the end, though the decision was controversial, Iacocca received the loan guarantee from the government.
After receiving this reprieve, Chrysler released the first of the [[Chrysler K platform|K-Car]] line, the [[Dodge Aries]] and [[Plymouth Reliant]], in 1981. Like the minivan which would come later, these compact automobiles were based on design proposals that Ford had rejected during Iacocca's (and Sperlich's) tenure there. Since they were released in the middle of the major 1980-1982 recession, these small, efficient and inexpensive, [[front-wheel drive]] cars sold rapidly.
Chrysler introduced the minivan, which was by and large Sperlich's "baby," in the fall of 1983, which led the automobile industry in sales for 25 years<ref>{{Cite web |url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,476344,00.html|title= After a Quarter Century, Dodge Loses Minivan Crown to Honda |accessdate=13 January 2009 |work= Fox News |date=6 January 2009}}</ref> Because of the K-cars and minivans, along with the reforms Iacocca implemented, the company turned around quickly and was able to repay the government-backed loans seven years earlier than expected.
Iacocca was also responsible for Chrysler's acquisition of [[American Motors|AMC]] in 1987, which brought the profitable [[Jeep]] division under Chrysler's corporate umbrella. It also created the short-lived [[Eagle (automobile)|Eagle division]], formed from the remnants of AMC. By this time, AMC had already finished most of the work with the [[Jeep Grand Cherokee]], which Iacocca desperately wanted. The Grand Cherokee would not be released until 1992 for the 1993 model year, the same year that Iacocca retired.
Throughout the 1980s, Iacocca appeared in a series of commercials for the company's vehicles, using the ad campaign "The pride is back" to denote the turnaround of the corporation, while also telling buyers a phrase that later became his trademark: "If you can find a better car, buy it."
==Other work and activities==
In May 1982, [[Ronald Reagan]] appointed Iacocca to head the [[Statue of Liberty]]-[[Ellis Island]] Foundation, which was created to raise funds for the renovation and preservation of the Statue of Liberty. He continues to serve on the board of the foundation.
In 1984, Iacocca co-authored (with William Novak) his autobiography, titled ''[[Iacocca: An Autobiography]].'' A very popular book, it was the best selling non-fiction hardback book of 1984 and 1985. The proceeds of the book's sales benefited diabetes research.
Iacocca appeared on an episode of ''[[Miami Vice]],'' playing Park Commissioner Lido in episode #44 (titled ''Sons and Lovers'') on May 9, 1986. The name of the character is a play on his birth name. Also, he was frequently quoted by Izzy Moreno, one of the show's regular characters.
In 1988, Iacocca co-authored (with Sonny Kleinfeld) ''[[Talking Straight]]'',<ref>ISBN 0-553-05270-5</ref> a book meant as a counter-balance to [[Akio Morita]]'s ''[[Made in Japan (biography)|Made in Japan]],'' a non-fiction book praising Japan's post-[[World War II|war]] hard-working culture. ''Talking Straight'' praised the innovation and creativity of Americans.<ref>{{cite web|title=Talking Straight (Hardcover) - Editorial Reviews|publisher=''Amazon.com''|url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553052705|accessdate=2008-05-05}}</ref>
[[Governor of Pennsylvania|Pennsylvania Governor]] [[Robert P. Casey]] considered appointing Iacocca to the [[U.S. Senate]] in 1991 after the death of Senator [[H. John Heinz III]], but Iacocca declined.
In 1999, Iacocca became the head of EV Global Motors, a company formed to develop and market electric bikes with a top speed of 15&nbsp;mph and a range of 20 miles between recharging at wall outlets.<ref>[http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-54711595.html Car czar Iacocca now hypes bikes] and small electrical cars based on golf cart technology.</ref>{{Dead link|date=November 2008}}
Politically, Iacocca supported the successful [[Republican Party (United States)|Republican]] candidate [[George W. Bush]] in the [[U.S. presidential election, 2000|2000 presidential election]]. In the [[U.S. presidential election, 2004|2004 presidential election]], however, he endorsed Bush's opponent, [[Democratic Party (United States)|Democrat]] [[John Kerry]].<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/06/24/iacocca.kerry Iacocca and Kerry]. - [[CNN]]. - June 24, 2004</ref> Most recently, in Michigan's 2006 Gubernatorial race, Iacocca appeared in televised political ads endorsing Republican candidate [[Dick DeVos]],<ref>[http://www.adpunch.org/entry/lee-iacocca-pitches-in-to-rescue-dick-davos/ Ad Punch.org report on DeVos political ads]</ref> who lost. Iacocca endorsed [[Governors of New Mexico|New Mexico Governor]] [[Bill Richardson]] for [[U.S. President|President]] in the [[2008 Presidential Election]].
Following the death of Iacocca's wife from [[diabetes mellitus|diabetes]], he became an active supporter of research to find a cure for the disease, and has been one of the main patrons of the innovative diabetes research of [[Denise Faustman]] at [[Massachusetts General Hospital]]. In 2000, Iacocca founded [[Olivio Premium Products]], which manufactures the [[Olivio]] line of food products made from [[olive oil]]. He donates all profits from the company to diabetes research. In 2004, Iacocca launched Join Lee Now,<ref>[http://www.joinleenow.org/ Join Lee Now website]</ref> a national [[grassroots]] campaign that was to bring Faustman's research to human clinical trials in 2006.
Iacocca has been an advocate of "Nourish the Children," an initiative of [[Nu Skin Enterprises]],<ref>[http://www.nuskinenterprises.com/ Nu Skin Enterprises website]</ref> since its inception in 2002. He is currently its chairman. He takes an active interest in the initiative and helped to donate a generator for the [[Malawi]], Africa VitaMeal plant.
On May 17, 2007, [[Simon & Schuster]] published Iacocca's new book, ''Where Have All the Leaders Gone?'' co-written with Catherine Whitney.<ref>[http://www.bookstandard.com/bookstandard/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002650026 Where Have All the Leaders Gone on bookstandard.com]</ref><ref>[http://www.bookstandard.com/bookstandard/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002876155 Catherine Whitney reference]</ref> An article with the same title, and same two co-authors, has recently appeared.<ref>http://www.ichblog.eu/content/view/1145/1/</ref> In the book, Iacocca writes:
{{cquote|Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course." Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!}}
On December 3, 2007, Iacocca launched a website intended to encourage open dialogue about the challenges of our time, such as what soaring health care costs are doing to America and why the U.S. lags so far behind in developing alternative energy sources and hybrid vehicles. The site also promotes Iacocca's book ''Where Have All the Leaders Gone'' and allows users to rate presidential candidates by the qualities Iacocca feels every true leader should possess: curiosity, creativity, communication, character, courage, conviction, charisma, competence and common sense.
===University support===
Iacocca led the funding campaign to expand [[Lehigh University]] into buildings formerly owned by [[Bethlehem Steel]]. Iacocca Hall on the Mountaintop Campus of Lehigh University houses the College of Education, the biology and chemical engineering departments, and The Iacocca Institute, which is focused on global competitiveness.
=="Return" to Chrysler==
Iacocca retired as President, CEO and Chairman of Chrysler at the end of 1992. In 1995, he assisted in billionaire [[Kirk Kerkorian]]'s [[hostile takeover]] of Chrysler, which was ultimately unsuccessful. The next year, Kerkorian and Chrysler made a five-year agreement that includes a gag order preventing Iacocca from speaking publicly about Chrysler.<ref>Special Reports: [http://www.detnews.com/specialreports/2002/iacocca/a08-442452.htm Timeline: The career of Lee Iacocca]. - ''[[Detroit News]].'' - March 17, 2002.</ref>
In July 2005, Iacocca returned to the airwaves as Chrysler's pitchman,<ref name="NYT-2005-07-19"/> along with stars such as [[Jason Alexander]] and [[Snoop Dogg]], to promote Chrysler's "Employee Pricing Plus" program; the ads reprise the "If you can find a better car, buy it" line that was Iacocca's [[trademark]] in the 1980s. In return for his services, Iacocca and [[DaimlerChrysler]] agreed that his fees, plus a $1 donation per vehicle sold from July 1 through December 31, 2005, would be donated to the Iacocca Foundation for [[diabetes]] research. Iacocca appeared in a 2005 Iacocca/Chrysler commercial with an actress, not his actual granddaughter,<ref>[http://entertainment.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=198057 2005 commercial article]</ref> which many people think.{{Citation needed|date=April 2010}}
"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
--Lee Iacocca
==Reflections on Chrysler's predicament==
In an April 2009 ''[[Newsweek]]'' interview, Iacocca reflected on the his time spent at Chrysler and the situation that Chrysler finds itself in today. Iacocca issued the following statement about the recent situation concerning Chrysler:
{{cquote|This is a sad day for me. It pains me to see my old company, which has meant so much to America, on the ropes. But Chrysler has been in trouble before, and we got through it, and I believe they can do it again. If they're smart, they'll bring together a consortium of workers, plant managers and dealers to come up with real solutions. These are the folks on the front lines, and they're the key to survival. Let's face it, if your car breaks down, you're not going to take it to the White House to get fixed. But, if your company breaks down, you've got to go to the experts on the ground, not the bureaucrats. Every day I talk to dealers and managers, who are passionate and full of ideas. No one wants Chrysler to survive more than they do. So I'd say to the Obama administration, don't leave them out. Put their passion and ideas to work.<ref>{{cite news|url=http://www.newsweek.com/id/195551|title=It Pains Me|last=Halpert |first=Julie|date=2009-04-30|publisher=''[[Newsweek]]''|accessdate=2009-05-01}}</ref>}}
==Loss of Chrysler pension and company car==
Iacocca, who saved Chrysler from bankruptcy during the early 1980s, stands to lose his pension from a supplemental executive retirement plan and a guaranteed company car provided by Chrysler for his use during his lifetime because of the Chrysler bankruptcy. The loss of the pension and company car is to take place once the bankruptcy court approves the sale of Chrysler to [[Chrysler Group|Chrysler Group LLC]], with ownership of the new company by the [[United Auto Workers]], Fiat and the governments of the United States and Canada.<ref>{{cite news|url=http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090529/bs_nm/us_chrysler_iacocca|title=Iacocca losing pension, car in Chrysler bankruptcy|last=Chasan|first=Emily|date=2009-05-29|publisher=Reuters|accessdate=2009-05-30}}</ref>
==In popular culture==
Iacocca's legacy can be noted by parodies and mentions in film and other media. Chrysler's loan guarantee controversy was parodied by folk singer [[Tom Paxton]] in his song "I'm Changing My Name to Chrysler" as a (not particularly serious) way for individuals to get out of their own financial problems. Part of the chorus of the song goes, "I will tell some power broker / What he did for Iacocca / Will be perfectly acceptable to me." Iacocca was further referenced in the long-time unreleased [[Neil Young]] song 'Ordinary People' refers to 'Lee Iacocca people.' It was released on the album ''[[Chrome Dreams II]]'' in October 2007.
Iacocca is played by a lookalike actor for a cameo in the 2009 superhero film ''[[Watchmen (film)|Watchmen]]'', where an assassin shoots him in the head when attempting to assassinate [[Adrian Veidt]]. Iacocca was reportedly "not pleased" when he learned of his fictional death. Lee later admitted that the actor Walter Addison looked good in the part.
Iacocca is mentioned in the Season 3 episode of The Office, "Cocktails", when CFO David Wallace pours glasses of 20-year scotch given to him by Lee Iacocca for a few of his guests. Michael Scott toasts Iacocca saying, "Here's to Mr. Iacocca and his failed experiment... The [[DeLorean]]."<ref>http://splashpage.mtv.com/2009/03/02/lee-iacocca-is-alive-and-well-and-not-looking-forward-to-watchmen-movie/</ref>
Iacocca´s image is also heavily related to business and capitalism, such as demonstrated in [[Robocop]]´s use of his name to name a school visited by Robocop in order to picture a dystopian future where capitalism is taken to an extreme level.
During his run at Chrysler, some observers noted that his last name coincidentally could be an acronym for "I Am Chairman Of Chrysler Corporation America".
==See also==
*[[Ford Mustang variants#Iacocca Silver 45th Anniversary Edition (2009)|Ford Mustang Iacocca Silver 45th Anniversary Edition]]
===Works by===
*{{Cite book| author=Iacocca, Lee|title=Where Have All the Leaders Gone|publisher=Scribner| year=2007|isbn=1416532471}}
*Iacocca, Lee and Sonny Klenfield (1988) ''Talking Straight''. Bantam. ISBN 0-553-05270-5
*Iacocca, Lee and William Novak (1986 reissue). ''[[Iacocca: An Autobiography]]''. Bantam. ISBN 0553251470
===Works about===
*{{Cite book | author=Vlasic, Bill and Bradley A. Stertz| title=Taken for a Ride: How Daimler-Benz Drove off with Chrysler | publisher=William Morrow & Company| year=2000 | isbn=0688173055}}
==External links==
* [http://www.leeiacocca.com/ Iacocca.com]
* [http://www.iacoccafoundation.org/ Iacocca Foundation]
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9839029 Iacocca Says "Detroit Is Living in the Past"], National Public Radio
* [http://heritage.web.lehigh.edu/index.php/Iacocca%2C_Lee Lehigh University Engineering Heritage Initiative Iacocca Biography]
* [http://www.nndb.com/people/988/000022922/ Lee Iacocca profile at NNDB]
{{DEFAULTSORT:Iacocca, Lee}}
[[Category:1924 births]]
[[Category:Living people]]
[[Category:American businesspeople]]
[[Category:American chief executives]]
[[Category:Chrysler executives]]
[[Category:Ford executives]]
[[Category:American people of Italian descent]]
[[Category:American writers of Italian descent]]
[[Category:Lehigh University alumni]]
[[Category:Princeton University alumni]]
[[Category:People in the automobile industry]]
[[Category:William Allen High School alumni]]
[[Category:Chief executives in the automobile industry]]
[[Category:People from Allentown, Pennsylvania]]
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Revision as of 19:57, 19 May 2010