You may have woken up this morning and came across a headline or two on the demise of Lee Iacocca. It’s okay if you haven’t heard of him, but thanks to persons who took the trouble of publishing footages of him on YouTube, you will now have an idea as to why Iacocca was such a key figure in the automotive industry a few decades ago.
Iacocca was widely credited with the revival of Chrysler in the 80s after he was shown the door at Ford while leading the company as president, and profitably too. But too many run-ins with Henry Ford II put an end to his time at Dearborn, a struggling Chrysler quickly snapped him up. Iacocca implemented his vision at Chrysler which Ford resisted and that included a front-wheel drive platform applied to different models (which is now a norm) and launching a host of minivans that American consumers loved.
Iacocca was also a strong lobbyist for American cars and cut a popular figure in Washington. He famously secured a loan from the government that kept Chrysler alive and repaid the amount ahead of its term. But above all else, Iacocca was a sales and marketing genius, he wasn’t merely a CEO pulling the strings behind the scenes, but also its chief spokesperson and appeared in many of the company’s advertisements. He was naturally gifted in public speaking and expressed his views with conviction, backed by facts. No wonder he was mooted to run for the presidency of United States once.
Leaders, they don’t make them like they used to anymore.