has written several successful books,
but he is best known for reviving the
Chrysler automobile brand in the 1980s
as Chief Executive Officer of the car
Iacocca, born Lido Anthony Iacocca on
October 15, 1924, grew up in Allentown
Pennsylvania and was the son of Italian
immigrants. He attended William Allen
High School as part of his primary education
and later studied at Lehigh University
in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. During his
years at the university, Iacocca became
a member of the Theta Chi Fraternity and
eventually graduated with a degree in
industrial engineering, a focus suitable
to the booming steel industry in the area.
a Wallace Memorial Fellowship, Lee Iacocca
traveled to Princeton University in nearby
New Jersey to study politics and plastics
before beginning his career in the automotive
industry with the Ford
Motor Company. He began his career at
Ford as an engineer but soon switched
to sales and eventually moved to product
development where the work better suited
his desires. His "56 for 56"
marketing campaign in 1956 was a landmark
in his career with Ford and eventually
helped him rise through the ranks of the
company where he ended up as President
of the Ford Division in 1964.
his career with Ford, Iacocca helped design
and market several of Ford's most successful
automobiles including the Ford Mustang,
the Ford Fiesta, and the Lincoln Continental
Mark III. He also helped revive the Mercury
brand with the Mercury Marquis and the
Mercury Cougar. Although he helped Ford
earn billions in profit, Henry Ford II
fired Lee Iacocca in 1978 as a result
of personal conflicts between them.
following his departure from Ford, Lee
Iacocca joined the Chrysler Corporation
to help them revive their failing automobile
business. At the time, Chrysler was on
the verge of bankruptcy and was losing
money on larger model cars. As soon as
he stepped into office as Chairman, Iacocca
began rebuilding the business by restructuring
levels, removing workers, and selling
off portions of the corporation that were
losing money. Besides bringing over some
professionals from his work at Ford, Iacocca
also brought with him the MiniMax project,
a minivan model that Henry Ford II hated
and refused to incorporate into the Ford
line of products.
the fuel crisis of the 1970s, Americans
were looking for automobiles that were
more fuel efficient and inexpensive than
previous models. As a result, Iacocca
introduced small compact cars from Chrysler
that the American public embraced. These
small models, along with the minivan,
were ideas that had been rejected by Ford.
The smaller Chrysler models were a hit
and the minivan became the essential family
vehicle as soon as it was introduced only
a few years later.
eventually left Chrysler in 1993, but
not before acquiring AMC, the parent company
of the Jeep brand. The Jeep Grand Cherokee
had been in Lee Iacocca's sights for a
long time and he helped Chrysler acquire
the rights prior to his departure.
contributing to the American automotive
industry, Lee Iacocca also wrote a series
of books detailing his life and work.
He has also been a long-time supporter
of diabetes research ever since his first
wife, Mary McCleary, died of complications
from diabetes in 1983. Although he has
officially retired from Chrysler, Iacocca
continues to write and speak on behalf
of the company and contributes to websites
and editorials concerning politics and
the state of America.
This Lee Iacocca biography may
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