Speeches of Lee A. Iacocca
Scope and Contents of the Collection
This collection consists of 517 paper copies (in 3-ring binders) of speeches and presentation by Lee Iacocca ranging from 1978-2011. Topics include automotive industry, restiorations of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island, education, diabeties and other fund-raising and charity works. This collection does not contain any company records, publications, photographs or audio-visuals. The typescript of speecehes often include Lee Iacocca's personal notes, additions and corrections.
- Iacocca, Lee A. (Person)
Language of Materials
Collection materials are in English
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Named by CNN as the fifth most influential business leader of the past 25 years and the 18th greatest CEO of all time, Iacocca graduated from Lehigh University in Industrial Engineering in 1945 and won a scholarship to Princeton University where he got a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1946. He is especially remembered as the “father of the Ford Mustang,” chairman of Chrysler Corporation and heading-up the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.
Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, three years after his parents emigrated from Italy to help run his uncle’s hotdog business. His father owned a car rental business consisting mostly of Ford cars. In 1946 Iacocca joined Ford Motor Company. After a brief stint as an engineer, he asked to be moved to sales and marketing where his career flourished. In the Philadelphia area he introduced the campaign “56 for ’56” system offering loans on 1956 model cars. He was called to Ford Motor Co. headquarters and quickly moved up the ranks. In 1960 he became vice-president and general manager of the Ford Division, in 1965 Ford’s vice-president of car and truck group, in 1967 executive vice-president and president by December 1970. In 1968 he recognized the need for a small economical car and was the moving force behind the Ford Pinto. As president of the company, he clashed with Henry Ford II and was fired in 1978 in spite of Ford showing a profit of $2 billion per year.
Shortly after his firing he was courted by Chrysler. He brought to the company the “mini-Max” project which eventually bore fruit in the highly successful Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. In 1979, he approached the U.S. Congress asking for a loan guarantee as a bailout of the floundering company. With the reforms he brought to the company, he quickly brought around Chrysler and was able to repay the government backed loans 7 years early. He retired as president, CEO and chairman of Chrysler at the end of 1992.
In his life, he authored three books, invested in Branson, Missouri projects, started a merchant bank to fund ventures in the gaming industry, founded an olive oil business, appeared on TV in commercials and headed up EV Global Motors, a company formed to develop and market electric bikes. In 1982 Ronald Reagan appointed him to head the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation which he continued until his death. He led Lehigh University’s fundraising campaign to adapt and reuse vacant buildings formerly owned by Bethlehem Steel Corporation including Iacocca Hall on Mountaintop Campus and the Iacocca Institute which focuses on global competitiveness. Iacocca declined Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey’s request to fill the late U. S. Senator John Heinz’s term in Congress. Lee Iacocca’s leadership skills cement his place in the landscape of American business and make him one of Lehigh’s most prestigious alumni.
Lee A. Iacocca was born in Allentown (Pa.) in 1924 and died on July 2, 2019, in Bel Air, California.
This collection consists of 517 paper copies (in 3-ring binders) of speeches and presentation by Lee Iacocca ranging from 1978-2011. Topics include automotive industry, restiorations of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island, education, diabeties and other fund-raising and charity works. This collection does not contain any company records, publications, photographs or audio-visuals.
Arrangement of the Collection
Entries in the notebook are in chronological order.
Gift of Lee A. Iacocca estate, April 2012.
- In Progress
- Special Collections staff
- August 2, 2017
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository
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