Ralph J. Cordiner

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Ralph J. Cordiner
Ralph Jarron Cordiner

(1900-03-20)March 20, 1900
DiedDecember 5, 1973(1973-12-05) (aged 73)
Alma materWhitman College
OccupationChairman & CEO of General Electric (1958-1963)

Ralph Jarron Cordiner (March 20, 1900 - December 5, 1973) was an American businessman.[1] He served as president of General Electric from 1950 to 1958, and as its chairman and chief executive officer from 1958 to 1963.[2][3][4]


He was born in 1900 on a 1280-acre wheat farm in Walla Walla, Washington.[2][3] He attended Whitman College, working odd jobs and selling washing machines, and graduated in 1922 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics.[3]

He joined the Edison General Electric Appliance Company, a GE affiliate, in 1923.[3] Later, he became manager of its Northwest and Ocean Pacific divisions.[3] From 1932 to 1938, he worked in its Bridgeport, Connecticut office.[3] In 1939, he left GE and served as president of Schick until 1942. He returned to GE and worked as Charles E. Wilson's assistant.[3] In 1950, he became president of GE, up until 1958.[3] From 1958 to 1963, he served as chairman and CEO. During his tenure, he decentralized GE into 120 units.[1][2][3]

He served as chairman of the Defense Advisory Committee on Professional and Technical Compensation in the Armed Forces.[3] He also served as chairman of The Business Council from 1960 to 1961.[5]

He was on the cover of Time Magazine on January 12, 1959.[6] He was the recipient of the first Gold Medal Award of the Economic Club of New York.[3]


Business positions
Preceded by President of General Electric
Succeeded by
Gerald L. Phillippe
Preceded by Chairman of General Electric
Succeeded by
Gerald L. Phillippe